Spicy Slipstream Stories edited by Nick Namatas & Jay Lake
Slipstream, for me, is a type of fiction that is bizarre and confusing and defies expectations. That's not a bad thing, mind you, but to quote a passage from the introduction of the book, "You don't write slipstream, you read it." And so it was a big surprise when I started reading the stories in this anthology. They're actually — gasp — readable, or at least accessible to lay people without needing literary degrees or geeky credentials. In fact, the selections impressed me because they all stood out, and I can honestly say there's no bad story in this book. If I have any complaints with this anthology, surprisingly enough, it's because I feel some of the stories aren't that slipstream, that they're still too coherent and identifiable. But is that really such a bad trait?
The pulp influences this anthology draws upon might not be evident from the title, but one loo... Read More
Spicy Slipstream Stories edited by Nick Namatas & Jay Lake
Horrible Monday continues its look at nominees for the Shirley Jackson Awards. If you find something horribly good to read, maybe Monday won't seem so horrifying!
Supernatural Noir edited by Ellen Datlow
Ellen Datlow suggests in her introduction to Supernatural Noir that noir fiction and supernatural fiction, with its roots in the gothic, have a lot in common. The main character in each tends to be a hard-living guy, usually down to his last flask of scotch, haunted by a sexy dame whose middle name is trouble. So it seemed natural to her to combine the two genres for an original anthology.
Despite my general rule that any anthology edited by Ellen Datlow is one I want to read, I resisted this one for a long time. Detectives looking for ghosts? Eh. Not my thi... Read More
Northern Gothic — (2001) Publisher: Northern Gothic is the story of supernaturally crossed worlds — Manhattan’s Chelsea district of the present and New York during the Civil War draft riots. William, a young Irish immigrant trying to avoid the war, and Ahmadi, a gay man from the South trying to make it in the Big Apple, find their paths — and destinies — intertwined as William is sucked into the racist violence of the riots and Ahmadi is pulled inexorably into the past.
3000 MPH in Every Direction at Once — (2003) Publisher: What if everyone actually was famous for exactly fifteen minutes? What if Joey Ramone could save the world? What if the spiritual enlightenment of saints and sages was a sexually transmitted disease? These are the fictions. Neon signs that predict a city’s future. Companies paying people to insult their clients online. Edgar Allan Poe’s New York is still alive, but not well. These are the facts. And they say speculative fiction and personal essays don’t belong in the same book. Whether in the glossy pages of the men’s magazine Razor or the stolen reams of office supplies that make up the zine The Whirligig, the writing of Nick Mamatas is your hitchhiker’s guide to the new, and very weird, millennium. Don’t know where the world is headed? Nick does and it’s 3000 miles per hour in every direction at once.
Move Under Ground — (2004) Publisher: The year is nineteen-sixty-something, and after endless millennia of watery sleep, the stars are finally right. Old R’lyeh rises out of the Pacific, ready to cast its damned shadow over the primitive human world. The first to see its peaks: an alcoholic, paranoid, and frightened Jack Kerouac, who had been drinking off a nervous breakdown up in Big Sur. Now Jack must get back on the road to find Neal Cassady, the holy fool whose rambling letters hint of a world brought to its knees in worship of the Elder God Cthulhu. Together with pistol-packin’ junkie William S. Burroughs, Jack and Neal make their way across the continent to face down the murderous Lovecraftian cult that has spread its darkness to the heart of the American Dream. But is Neal along for the ride to help save the world, or does he want to destroy it just so that he’ll have an ending for his book?
Under My Roof — (2008) Young adult. Publisher: Herbert Weinberg’s father is striking a blow for freedom. Implanting a nuclear device within a garden gnome in the front yard of their Long Island home, he’s declared independence from the U.S. The household is understandably is an uproar. Mother’s gone, the local weatherman has moved in, and 12-year-old Herbert is simultaneously a hostage and the Minister of Information. A daring raid plucks the lad from his ancestral home, but even while troops surround the belligerent house-state of Weinbergia, the call to freedom has been sounded. The house is rapidly filling up with American refuseniks. Can the refrigerator hold out? And will Herbert’s telepathic powers defeat imperialism and reunite him with his father? Based on Aristophanes’s Archanians, Under My Roof is funny, ambitous novel.
You Might Sleep … — (2009) Publisher: A busboy with the power to kill with a glance, and a vendetta against the President. The guy in the next cubicle has launched The Revolution, and his first target is the marketing department! Joan of Arc is back, and she’s blogging! Edgar Allan Poe, another poor sap dead thanks to Election Day. A girl with the power to destroy the universe, once she gets out of rehab. Three weeks after the Singularity, it’s up to the planet’s last psychotherapist to solve the mystery of the first posthuman murder. And, of course, Joey Ramone saves the world. You might sleep, but after reading these stories you’ll never dream in quite the same way again.
Farewell Performance — (2011) Publisher: Jaskey has a flashlight, a captive audience, and a story about the end of the world — what could be better? At the publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
Sensation — (2011) Publisher: When Julia Hernandez leaves her husband, shoots a real estate developer, and then vanishes without a trace, she slips out of the world she knew and into the Simulacrum — a place where human history is both guided and thwarted by the conflict between a species of anarchist wasps and a collective of hyperintelligent spiders. When Julia’s ex-husband Raymond spots her in a grocery store he doesn’t usually patronize, he’s soon drawn into an underworld of radical political gestures where Julia is the new media sensation of both this world and the Simulacrum. Told ultimately from the collective point of view of another species, this allegorical novel plays with the elements of the Simulacrum apparent in real life — media reports, business speak, blog entries, text messages, psychological-evaluation forms, and the lies lovers tell one another — and poses a fascinating idea that displaces human beings from the center of the universe and makes them simply the pawns of two warring species.
The Damned Highway: Fear and Loathing in Arkham — (2011) With Brian Keene. Publisher: A hilarious, shocking, terrifying thrill ride across the American landscape, The Damned Highway pays homage to the gonzo journalism of Hunter S. Thompson and the uncanny terrors of H. P. Lovecraft! Horror legend Brian Keene (The Rising) and cult storytelling master Nick Mamatas (Move Under Ground) dredge up a tale of drug-fueled eldritch madness from the blackest depths of the American nightmare. On a freaked-out bus journey to Arkham, Massachusetts, and the 1972 presidential primary, evidence mounts that sinister forces are on the rise, led by the Cult of Cthulhu and its most prominent member — Richard M. Nixon!
Bullettime — (2012) Publisher: DAVID HOLBROOK EXISTS EVERYWHERE AND NOWHERE. David Holbrook is a scrawny kid, the victim of bullies, and the neglected son of insane parents. David Holbrook is the Kallis Episkopos, a vicious murderer turned imprisoned leader of a death cult dedicated to Eris, the Hellenic goddess of discord. David Holbrook never killed anyone, and lives a lonely and luckless existence with his aging mother in a tumbledown New Jersey town. Caught between finger and trigger, David is given three chances to decide his fate as he is compelled to live and relive all his potential existences, guided only by the dark wisdom found in a bottle of cough syrup. From the author of the instant cult classic Move Under Ground comes a fantasy of blood, lust, destiny, school shootings, and the chance to change your future.
Bull Spec is a print and electronic science fiction and fantasy glossy magazine named for its home of Durham, North Carolina. The word “Bull” seems to have become associated with Durham because of a tobacco factory in the city, which itself took the name from the picture of a bull that appeared on the label of a mustard that the tobacco factory owner believed was manufactured in Durham, England; it’s all very complicated, but at least we know that the magazine’s name is based on where it is published. The publisher, Samuel Montgomery-Blinn, seems a bit surprised that the name of the magazine is mysterious to many outside of North Carolina, but he likes it. As well he should, because Bull Spec is a fine addition to the ranks of science fiction, fantasy and horror magazines.
“Mortal Passage” by Roger Williams is the best s... Read More
Clarkesworld Magazine is a monthly electronic publication with a strong focus on science fiction, though it also publishes fantasy. In addition, it has an unusual emphasis on nonfiction. The September issue, No. 72, contains three stories, all of which are science fiction, two nonfiction articles, and an interview.
“The Found Girl,” by David Klecha and Tobias S. Buckell, opens this issue. It is about those left behind when the mass of humankind upload themselves into a digital, immortal existence. Unfortunately, many of those are children, a circumstance that is not explained; it seems odd that parents would leave their chi... Read More