Weird Tales: The Magazine that Never Dies edited by Marvin Kaye
Marvin Kaye's Weird Tales: The Magazine That Never Dies anthology from 1988 takes a slightly different tack than its earlier sister volume, Weird Tales: 32 Unearthed Terrors. Whereas the editors of that earlier collection chose to select one story from each year of the magazine's celebrated 32-year run (1923-1954), Kaye has decided here to not just limit himself to the periodical's classic era of 279 issues, but to also include tales from each of the four latter-day incarnations of "The Unique Magazine" (from 1973-87). The result is 45 pieces of generally superb speculative fantasy and horror, including six "Weird Tales Reprints" by such luminaries as Dickens, Poe, Flaubert and Stoker, as well as Otis Adelbert Kline's "Why Weird Tales?," an article that clearly delineated the magazine's goals and intentions in its first anniversary issue, the one dated May/June/July... Read More
Thanks to all the authors who’ve written in to tell us about the great bookstores they’ve been visiting! This week we hear from Janny Wurts and Karen Miller who wanted...Read More
Weird Tales: The Magazine that Never Dies edited by Marvin Kaye
This week, Smaug makes an unpleasant discovery.
Smaug: Just saw this travesty of a biography Peter Jackson filmed about my exploits. The little troll went and made me a wyvern! A wyvern! Who could look upon my magnificence and compare me to some wallowing, ophidian wyvern?! Some low, foul little worm like... urkgh. Well, he shall learn. He shall learn. When I devour him.
And may I just ask, what was that barrel sequence supposed to be? Whitewater Tours, Middle Earth? Blergh...
Bill: This week I read Shovel Ready by Adam Sternberg (compelling narrator), A Darkling Sea by James L. Cambias (compelling premise mostly well executed), and A Mapmaker’s Dream: The Meditations of Fra Mauro, by James ... Read More
Day Men by Matt Gagnon and Michael Alan Nelson (writers) and Brian Stelfreeze (art)
This past year I’ve been trying out a wide variety of new series by buying a ton of #1 issues. I’ve got a good sense of the Big Two (DC and Marvel), so most of these #1s have been from other publishers, often written and drawn by people I’ve never heard of. If the art looks interesting and the plot even slightly worth checking out, I’ve done so. And I have to say that about 75% of the time, I don’t want to buy issue #2. But I’ve found a few series that are amazing. Perhaps the one that has surprised me the most is Day Men. It’s by writers and artists I know nothing about, and it’s from a publisher — Boom! Studios — that I don’t know much about. It’s also about vampires, and I’m sick of vampires. There are too many books, comics, movies and TV shows in the genre (and I live in the small town where they film most of Vampire Diaries... Read More
On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee
[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]
I had high hopes for Chang-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea. A literary author turning his hand to a post-apocalyptic tale that would focus less it seems on zombies and cannibals etc., but take the opportunity to make some searing points about class and globalization and other current issues. But as has been the case with a distressingly large number of my reads lately, while I ended up appreciating the starting premise and also what Lee was trying to do, he lost me in the execution.
On Such a Full Sea is set in the not-too-far future U.S., ... Read More
The Lake of Souls by Darren Shan
In The Lake of Souls, the tenth book in Darren Shan’s CIRQUE DU FREAK series, we take a little breather after the horrid events at the end of the previous novel, Killers of the Dawn. Darren has just lost someone who’s really important to him and he’s grieving. So, when Mr. Tiny shows up and tells Harkat it’s time to find out who Harkat really is, Darren wants to go with him. They embark on a quest where they cross weird landscapes, meet weird people, and complete weird tasks. Some of it is like a scavenger hunt.
We do, indeed find out who Harkat is, and the answer will almost certainly surprise you. It shows that author Darren Shan has been careful with his plotting so far and it will be interesting to see what role Harkat plays in the future. The little guy is growing on me and I appreciate his developing sense of humor.
Personally, I don’t particula... Read More
It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means. Time to report!
What is the best book you read in February 2014 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.
(And don't forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page. And we've also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)
As always, one commenter will choose a book from Read More
The Prince of Lies by Anne Lyle
Warning: This review may contain spoilers of the previous books.
The Prince of Lies, by Anne Lyle, finishes up the NIGHT'S MASQUE trilogy with plenty of magic, adventure and suspense. I wish it had more skraylings in it. I should be more specific. I wish it had more skraylings in their native form. Instead Mal Catlyn, his wife Coby and twin brother Sandy must uncover and defeat the skraylings known as “guisers;” humans who are possessed by skrayling souls that entered their bodies instead of a skrayling infant’s, the normal process for their race. This particular group of guisers, who have been in Europe longer than most people realized, have plans to rule England.
Lyle tweaked the historical line of succession in the first book, The Alchemist of Souls, by creating a seventeenth century England where Queen... Read More
Sargasso of Space by Andre Norton
Sargasso of Space is the opening novel in Andre Norton's so-called DANE THORSON (SOLAR QUEEN) series, and is a fine introduction to the books that follow. In this first volume we meet Dane Thorson, a young cargo-apprentice who is assigned (by mechanical Psycho selection) to the trader ship Solar Queen. The crew of the Queen pools its earnings and wins an entire planet, sight unseen, at auction. (Perhaps Ebay will be conducting auctions such as this in 50 or so years!) The crew then explores this strange planet, called Limbo, and discovers the remnants of a lost civilization, as well as globular natives, space pirates, mysterious artifacts and so on.
Ostensibly written for juveniles and "young adults," this novel has a strong appeal for "grown-ups" as well. Not for nothing has Ms. Norton become one of the most popular of all SFF writers, selling kajillions of books and endear... Read More
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
Having recently seen Saving Mr. Banks, a film that purports to examine the strained relationship between author P.L. Travers and film-maker Walt Disney when it came to adapting Mary Poppins for the big screen, it was only natural that I finally got around to my long overdue reading of the classic children's story Mary Poppins.
Having grown up with the Disney film, it's quite shocking to realize how little one resembles the other. Of course, I knew there would be significant differences — the film is filled with animation and musical numbers, for a start. But I... Read More
The Heaven Makers by Frank Herbert
The Chem are a race of aliens unknown to humankind. Because they’re immortal, they’re bored. So, for entertainment, they broadcast drama TV from Earth. Fraffin is one of the most successful producers of human drama. Authorities from his home planet suspect he may be manipulating events on Earth, which is forbidden, so they send Investigator Kelexel to find out what’s going on. But Fraffin has a way of dealing with snoopy investigators. All he has to do is trap them by tempting them with Earth’s secret pleasures.
In actuality, Fraffin is indeed interfering with humans and creating his own dramas to boost his ratings. For his current project, which he’s been setting up for decades, he incites a well-respected man to brutally butcher his wife. Before being taken to jail, the man asks psychologist Androcles Thurlow to look after his daughter, Ruth, who is Thurlow’s ex-fiance. When Thurlow gets involv... Read More