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Michael Shea

Michael Shea(1946-2014)
Michael Shea is the World Fantasy Award–winning author of Nifft the Lean as well as many other novels and short stories. Recent releases include the collections The Autopsy and Other Tales and Copping Squid. Michael is currently writing The Siege of Sunrise, a sequel to The Extra. Michael Shea’s website.

Nifft the Lean

Nifft — (1982-2000) Publisher: Nifft the Lean: Winner Best Novel, 1983 World Fantasy Award. Follow the adventures of Nifft the Lean, the master thief whose felonious appropriations and larcenous skills will lead you through Stygian realms to challenge your most lurid fantasies and errant imaginings. Places where horror, harm and long eerie calms flow past the traveller in endless, unpredictable succession. Travel with the man whose long, rawboned, sticky fingers and stark length of arm will lead you down to the vermiculous grottoes of the demon sea, to stand beneath the subworld’s lurid sky and battle monsters who seem the spiritual distillations of human evil itself! We invite you to the very gates of Hell and beyond — come if you dare!

fantasy book reviews Michael Shea 1. Nifft the Lean 2. The Mines of Behemoth 3. The A'Rak 4. The Incompleat Nifftfantasy book reviews Michael Shea 1. Nifft the Lean 2. The Mines of Behemoth 3. The A'Rak 4. The Incompleat Nifftfantasy book reviews Michael Shea 1. Nifft the Lean 2. The Mines of Behemoth 3. The A'Rak 4. The Incompleat Nifft

Nifft the Lean: Vance’s Cugel reimagined by Hieronymus Bosch

Nifft the Lean by Michael Shea

Back in 1950, Hillman Periodicals published a little book for 25 cents called The Dying Earth by Jack Vance. It could easily have disappeared into obscurity like thousands of other books, but there was something special about it. There weren’t any other books in SF/Fantasy quite like it, depicting an incredibly distant future earth where the sun has cooled to a red color, the moon is gone, and humanity has declined to a pale shadow of former greatness, and struggles to survive amongst the ruins of the past. The world is filled with magicians, sorcerers, maidens, demons, ghouls, brigands, thieves, and adventurers.

Book 2

The Dying Earth inspired many works rang... Read More

The Extra

The Extra — (2010-2013) Publisher: Books and films have skewered Hollywood’s excesses, but none has ever portrayed one man’s crazy vision of the future of big action/adventure films as The Extra does. As over-the-top as Mel Brooks’s Blazing Saddles, as savagely dark as Robert Altman’s The Player, and more violent than Rollerball, this is the story of the ultimate, so-insane-it-could-only-happen-in-Hollywood formula for success, a brave new way to bring the ultimate in excitement to the silver screen. Producer Val Margolian has found the motherlode of box-office gold with his new “live-death” films whose villains are extremely sophisticated, electronically controlled mechanical monsters. To give these live-action disaster films greater realism, he employs huge casts of extras, in addition to the stars. The large number of extras is important, because very few of them will survive the shoot. It’s all perfectly legal, with training for the extras and long, detailed contracts indemnifying the film company against liability for the extras’ injury or death. But why would anyone be crazy enough to risk his or her life to be an extra in such a potentially deadly situation? The extras do it because if they survive they’ll be paid handsomely, and they can make even more if they destroy any of the animatronic monsters trying to stomp, chew, fry, or otherwise kill them. If they earn enough, they can move out of the Zoo–the vast slum that most of L.A. has become. They’re fighting for a chance at a reasonable life. But first, they have to survive . . .

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviews


The Extra: A fast action-packed read

The Extra by Michael Shea

In The Extra, a near-future science fiction novel set in a dystopian version of Los Angeles, Val Margolian is the creator and most successful director of a new genre of action movies, in which crowds of real people are cast as extras and have to defend themselves against movie monsters. The action is real, and so are the deaths. Whoever manages to kill one of the monsters, and anyone who survives the shoot, gets a huge cash reward. Naturally, with rampant poverty in LA, the expression "cattle call" takes on a whole new meaning, with thousands of people applying to become cannon fodder for this new blood-thirsty form of entertainment, and only a small percentage surviving with enough cash to move out of the urban jungle and on to a better life.

The Extra combines elements of The Running Man and The Truman Show, switching from the ground ... Read More

Magazine Monday: Weird Tales No. 360

The owner, publisher and editor of Weird Tales have all changed since the last issue of the magazine, and it shows. No longer innovative, with cutting edge fiction, it is now filled with pastiches of the work of H.P. Lovecraft, a throwback to the early days of the magazine. The Hugo-Award-winning team of fiction editor Ann VanderMeer and editorial and creative director Stephen H. Segal are clearly no longer choosing the fiction or art that used to brighten each issue, and the intelligent nonfiction that completed the magazine is nearly gone, though Kenneth Hite’s exploration of Lovecraft’s work, “Lost in Lovecraft,” continues; the fourteenth entry in the series is in this issue. This change is not for the b... Read More

Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery

Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery edited by Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders

Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery is a book I’ve been eagerly anticipating ever since it was first announced in 2009. I was particularly excited about the anthology’s impressive list of contributors which includes several authors I enjoy reading like Glen Cook, Greg Keyes, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, Garth Nix, Tim Lebbon, Read More

More by Michael Shea

fantasy book reviews Michael Shea A Quest for Simbilis, The Color Out of Time

fantasy book reviews Michael Shea A Quest for Simbilis, The Color Out of TimeA Quest for Simbilis — (1974) Publisher: Set in the world of Jack Vance‘s Dying Earth. A Quest for Simbilis is a sequel to Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth, but is so highly original that it is no mere pastiche. Shea later applied his talents to Nifft the Lean, which won him the World Fantasy Award.

The Color Out of Time — (1984) Publisher: The flooded New England valley made a beautiful holiday spot, with twenty miles of secluded lakeshore. But visitors Gerald Sternbruck and Ernst Carlsberg soon realise that the still waters of the lake conceal a frightful evil that preys on flora, fauna — and human beings. Then they discover that the same evil first manifested itself before the valley was flooded — and may have been the basis for H.P. Lovecraft’s classic story The Colour out of Space. For fifty years one waman has been planning her revenge on the monstrous force which caused the strange shimmering colours — and sucks the very life from the people in its clutches…

fantasy book reviews Michael Shea In Yana, The Touch of UndyingPolyphemus Michael Shea fantasy book reviews In Yana, The Touch of Undying — (1985) Publisher: Wealth, power, fame couldall be his… or he could sacrifice it all for the secret of Yana.

Polyphemus — (1988) World Fantasy Best Collection Finalist. A collection comprising: “The Autopsy”, “The Angel of Death”, “Polyphemus”, “Uncle Tuggs”, “The Pearls of the Vampire Queen”, “The Horror on the #33”, and “The Extra”.

Michael Shea Copping Squid and Other Mythos TalesCopping Squid and Other Mythos Tales — (2009) Publisher: Rocked by the gentle sea, the City sleeps; but its dreams are not its own… With eight psychotropic visions of damnation and transformation in the urban coral reef of San Francisco, COPPING SQUID forms a mosaic of otherworldly menace shot through with glimpses of awe-inspiring majesty: of invisible outsiders and self-medicating seekers whose desperate prayers and hidden rituals lead them to behold their alien reflections in the all-seeing eyes of the secret masters of creation. With the deceptive ease and streetwise enlightenment of a weird storytelling master, Michael Shea fearlessly sounds the unplumbed depths of the Cthulhu Mythos to witness visions from which traditional cosmic horror has always averted its dark-adapted gaze.