To Live Forever: Vance writes about things that fascinate me

To Live Forever by Jack Vance Note: You may also find this book published with the name Clarges. In Clarges, a city in the far future, humans have conquered death. Unfortunately,...

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The Sentence: A haunted bookshop is a window into America

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich “sentence (n)1. A grammatical unit comprising a word or a group of words that is separate from any other grammatical construction, and usually...

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Heart of Ice: A dark intriguing fairytale

Heart of Ice by Louise Cooper Louise Cooper’s Dark Enchantment books are a series of reasonably short novels, all stand-alone stories, that cater well to the young teenage...

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Slaughterhouse-Five: Seems pointless, but that’s the point

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut [In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary”...

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Joe Golem: Occult Detective (volume 1): A private detective confronts the supernatural

Joe Golem: Occult Detective (volume 1) by Mike Mignola (writer), Christopher Golden (writer), Patric Reynolds (artist), Clem Robins (letterer), and Dave Stewart (colorist)

In the first volume of Joe Golem: Occult Detective, we get two stories: a three-part tale called “The Rat Catcher” and a two-part one called “The Sunken Dead.” Taking place in an alternative 1965, these comics are situated in the "Drowned City," a post-flood New York city, in which canals and make-shift bridges out of boards crisscross the city's landscape. The art is dark and moody, and the images are as murky as the water flooding the city. It's a beautifully haunting set of images.

Joe, who is plagued by dreams of witches and a large Witch-hunting golem, appears to be a human private investigator working for the elderly Mr. Church to fight against occult forces in the cit... Read More

The World We Make: High stakes and good fun

The World We Make by N.K. Jemisin

Book Two in N.K. Jemisin’s GREAT CITIES duology, 2022’s The World We Make is full of action, suspense, humor and good fun. That doesn’t mean the stakes aren’t serious (the continued existence of our reality), but as she did in The City We Became, Jemisin lets herself have fun with a self-aware New York and its human avatars. In spite of the seriousness of the plot, this book is lighter in tone than the first one.

Here's a brief recap with a risk of spoilers for The City We Became. New York City woke to awareness, a living city, with human avatars — one representing each borough and one who represents the whole city. Neek (NYC), a gay, homeless graffiti ar... Read More

WWWednesday: November 16, 2022

Does anybody have a turkey stuffing recipe that doesn’t call for onions? Seriously. If you do, and you’re willing to share, please put the link in the comments. Thank you!

Z-Library has been seized by the Feds for pirating and copyright infringement.

While overall the election results seem to lean toward support of democracy, in a few places, libraries were defunded. If you think education, reading, and books are important, this might concern you.

It looks like in-person or at least hybrid Read More

Stonefish: Not your basic horror novel

Stonefish by Scott R. Jones

2020’s horror novel Stonefish by Scott R. Jones is not your basic horror novel. I tend to forget that, like every other genre, horror has an array of subgenres, styles, and tropes. Even so, it’s hard for me to “sum up” what kind of horror story Stonefish is. I’m settling for futuristic-dystopian-gnostic-phantasmagorical weird horror, with Sasquatch.

Climate change and leaps in high technology have created the everyday world of Den Secord, who writes things for his generation’s version of the internet. Secord has an editor so I’m calling him a journalist. (“Content-provider” might be more accurate.) Den lives in a plural community called a crèche. Social changes have been driven by the noönet, which lets people interact with each other’s minds and emotions directly, in a vast network. You might think that would bring out a... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 13, 2022

Marion: In spite of internet issues and vehicle issues, I found time to read this week. I finished N.K. Jemisin’s second book in the GREAT CITIES duology, The World We Make. It’s vivid, action-packed and full of fun. I bought C.LPolk’s novella Even Though I Knew the End the day it came out. I love her depiction of 1940’s Chicago, especially the lesbian bar Helen the protagonist and her girlfriend Edith met at. The plot was familiar but the book is fast-paced and lovingly... Read More

Knock Three Times: Wizards and Warriors join forces

Knock Three Times by Cressida Cowell

The third book in Cressida Cowell's THE WIZARDS OF ONCE sees our young protagonists on an adventure to collect the rare ingredients needed to banish the terrible Witches that have recently awoken all across Ancient Britain.

As difficult as it may be to find the scales of a Nuckalavee, it's even stranger to consider the team they've assembled to retrieve them. Xar is the youngest son of the Head Wizard Encanzo, while Wish is the daughter of the cold Queen Sychorax, two tribes that have been at war for generations.

To make matters worse, Xar is struggling with the Witchstain on his hand (the result of his ill-fated attempt to gain magical powers) and Wish has recently found out that she has magical abilities that can work on iron (though magic is strictly forbidden among the Warrior tribes).... Read More

The Killing God: Concluding novel is a huge leap up in quality

The Killing God by Stephen R. Donaldson

I was not, to put it mildly, a fan of Seventh Decimate, the opening book of Stephen R. Donaldson’s GREAT GODS WAR trilogy. Book two, The War Within (2022), was an improvement, but marginally. The good news is that book three, The Killing God, is a big jump up, though the obvious bad news is one has to get through the first two to arrive here, begging the question of is it worth the journey? Warning: spoilers for the first two books to follow as I try to answer that question.

The long-awaited invasion of Belleger by the Great God Rile is about to commence. At the point of invasion, Kin... Read More

WWWednesday: November 9, 2022

The World Fantasy Awards were announced. The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri took home the Best Novel award while Premee Mohamed’s And What Can We Offer You Tonight snagged Best Novella, and “(emet)” by Lauren Ring Best Short Story. The convention was held in New Orleans this year.

Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are separating. Thanks to File 770 for this item.

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Food for the Fungus Lady and Other Stories: Ten Exemplars of the Weird-Menace Genre

Food for the Fungus Lady and Other Stories by Ralston Shields

Gathering together 10 remarkably grisly tales from the pages of three of the most lurid of the pulp magazines, Food for the Fungus Lady and Other Stories is the first collection of Ralston Shields’ work ever assembled. Released in 2014 by the Dancing Tuatara Press imprint of Ramble House, the book shines a long-overdue spotlight on an author whom John Pelan, in his introduction, calls the greatest writer of “weird-menace” fiction on a story-by-story basis. And for those of you who are fairly new to this distinctive genre of the mid-1930s to early ‘40s, as was I, let me briefly state that the weird-menace stories seem to have dealt with supernatural events that are ultimately revealed to have mundane, if sinister, explanations; ghastly plots perpetrated on our hapless main characters, usually by a scheming femme fatale or money-hungry ... Read More

Neom: You should read this book

Neom by Lavie Tidhar

In Neom, Lavie Tidhar, returns to the universe of Central Station, his wonderful collection of linked short stories, though not to Central Station itself, which is only name-checked a few times. Instead, the setting is the titular city, an extrapolation into the far, far future of a city that today exists mostly as plans and dreams in Saudi Arabia (though you can fly into Neom Airport). Neom is a city “that valued nothing old, and chased the future,” a city that is “ever new, brash, a place for making new things and selling new things.” A city for the rich.

But Tidhar is not interested in either the rich or the shiny new. Instead, the focus here is on a diverse group of Neom’s less fortunate inhabitants (or recent entries), including Mariam, holder of multiple low-paying jobs; Nas... Read More