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Kaaron Warren

Kaaron Warren Kaaron Warren is an Australian author of horror, science fiction, and fantasy short stories and novels. She is the author of the short story collection The Grinding House, which won the 2006 ACT Writing and Publishing Awards. Her short stories have won both the Ditmar and Aurealis Award. Here’s Kaaron Warren’s blog.

Walking the Tree: A very good effort

Walking the Tree by Kaaron Warren

Walking the Tree is the second novel by Kaaron Warren. Previously, my only experience with Warren was her short story in Lavie Tidhar’s The Apex Book of World SF, which I thought one of the weaker pieces of the collection. The concept of Walking the Tree appealed to me a lot, though, so I decided to give it a try. It is an interesting book in many ways, but not without a few structural problems.

The novel is set on the island of Botanica. The island is huge, but almost all available space is taken up by one gigantic tree. Around the base of the tree, small scattered communities of people known as Orders live on whatever the tree and the ocean provide. To prevent i... Read More

Tide of Stone: Had issues with the voice

Tide of Stone by Kaaron Warren

As usual with DNFs (Did Not Finish), this will be a quite brief review as I have too much respect for the achievement of finishing a novel to belabor its bad points. Or, in this case, bad point really, for what caused me to give up on Kaaron Warren’s Tide of Stone, twice actually, was voice.

In Tempuston, Australia, the town has taken to punishing its worst criminals in two ways. The first is relatively mundane — they imprison them in the Time Ball Tower set across a small stretch of water. The second way is the fantastical aspect of the novel. The prisoners are “preserved,” given a long-ago concocted cocktail that gives them eternal life but turns them into withered, desiccated bodies that can’t move themselves and talk so slowly many can’t understand them. In short, not really lif... Read More

Magazine Monday: Black Static, Issue 24

We thought that Halloween was the perfect occasion on which to combine Magazine Monday with Horrible Monday and bring you a review of a horror magazine. Black Static is a British horror magazine notable not only for the high quality of its fiction, but also for its great commentary and extensive reviews of horror films and books. This was my first experience reading the magazine, but my plan is now to subscribe, because this is great stuff.

Simon Bestwick’s story, “Dermot,” starts off calmly enough, with a man who seems mentally disabled boarding a bus. He’s wearing a suit that seems a bit big, but it’s clean and pressed, and he’s carrying an old-fashioned briefcase. He sounds, from the description, ... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nightmare, October 2013

Nightmare is celebrating its first anniversary with Issue 13, and it starts off with a humdinger of a story by Norman Partridge called “10/31: Bloody Mary.” The use of the date is a deliberate reminder of 9/11, and connotes a catastrophe of equal or greater weight. On 10/31 — this year, next year, last year, we’re never told — all of the monsters became real. Somehow, on Halloween, “werewolves and witches, mummies and zombies, and other nameless things the boy would rather never see” become real. The boy (the protagonist of the story) hides during the day, never going out to forage for food and other necessities of life until night. He is utterly alone. Then one day a young woman appears, one who is very fast with her sawed-off shotgun when a Jack o’ Lantern attacks. She takes the boy under her wing and teaches him how to fight back instead of hide. The plot isn’t particularly new, and it goes much as you would expect it to; ... Read More

Paper Cities: Diverse anthology

Paper Cities by Ekaterina Sedia

Bring up urban fantasy nowadays and most readers will probably assume that you’re talking about such authors as Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, Sherrilyn Kenyon and so on, but in this new anthology from Senses Five Press, which is edited by Ekaterina Sedia, Paper Cities reveals that Urba... Read More

Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror

Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror edited by Ellen Datlow

This anthology comes after a similarly titled anthology, also edited by Ellen Datlow, called Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror which came out in March 2010. Datlow also edits an annual anthology of horror fiction (collaborating with other editors on those). It seems then that Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror (which came out in October 2016) is informed by a great deal of knowledge in the field of speculative horror literature. I am not generally a horror reader, but I still thoroughly enjoyed many tales in this anthology for their engaging storytelling and terrifying themes. What follows is a brief review of each of the 25 tales, in the order which they appear.

“Shallaballah” by Mark Samuels is a story about th... Read More

More speculative fiction from Kaaron Warren

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Grinding House — (2005) Publisher: A horror story set in a futuristic society where people face an epidemic that’s not only infecting its food supply, but every living being in it, too. And no matter how hard you try, you can’t get away from it. Of course. the Grinding House will be there to pick up the pieces, bones and all. A story with spooky flowers and almonds.

Kaaron WarrenThe Glass Woman — (2007) Publisher: Subtle depictions of future worlds, of stark contemporary settings and alternate realities are some of the wonders of Warren’s imagination. From science fiction to fantasy and eerie, soul-shaking horror. Warren’s words will reverberate in all of us. What is there to enjoy in this collection? A profound vision of a future, perhaps dismal without hope, horror that makes your spine feel pierced by hundreds of rings, a smattering of bodily fluids, a few feminist themes, a clear and penetrating vision, the clarity of which is unearthly. Clever, sometimes funny, morbid and at times racy. You’ll find all of this in Kaaron Warren’s work.

Kaaron WarrenSlights — (2009) Publisher: Stevie is a killer. When she kills people she asks them: “WHAT DO YOU SEE?” She’s about to find out… After an accident in which her mother dies, Stevie has a near-death experience, and finds herself in a room full of people — everyone she’s ever pissed off. They clutch at her, scratch and tear at her. But she finds herself drawn back to this place, again and again, determined to unlock its secrets. Which means she has to die, again and again. And she starts to wonder whether other people see the same room! when they die. The most disturbing novel of 2009. Read it if you dare. FILE UNDER: Horror [Real-Life Terror / Damaged Lives / Family Secrets / Beyond Death]

Kaaron Warren MistificationMistification — (2010) Publisher: An intriguing modern fantasy from the award-winning writer of “Slights”. Marvo is a stage magician. His magic is real. Marvo grows up without knowing his parents, without knowing his heritage, without knowing much about life. The magicians have always been with us, since the beginning of civilisation. They fill our heads with the mist, keeping us from witnessing the stark reality of existence. But are things so bad that Marvo will bring it down on all of us, forever? Marvo begins to understand those around him, and his place in the world; he discovers that his remarkable powers can be put to good, or to evil. He only has to choose.