Next Author: Victoria Strauss
Previous Author: Jordan Stratford

Peter Straub

Peter Straub(1943- )
Born in Milwaukee, Peter Straub is the author of fourteen novels, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. He has won the British Fantasy Award, two Bram Stoker awards and two World Fantasy awards.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE BOOKS BY PETER STRAUB.

The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine: Too much for my delicate senses

Readers’ average rating:

The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine by Peter Straub

Ballard, a wealthy businessman, and Sandrine, his much younger lover, are cruising down the Amazon River in a mysterious yacht. The crew is never seen, blank-eyed natives watch the boat from the river’s shores, and there seems to be a dangerous predator in the river. The dimensions of the yacht don’t make sense, the delicious food is unidentifiable, and it’s not clear how long Ballard and Sandrine have been on the boat.

Presumably, they’re taking a vacation somewhere out of the reach of Ballard’s clients and Sandrine’s husband, but as the story goes on, it seems that they’re also moving through time as they travel down the mighty river. We see the couple at various ages during the trip, always appearing a little uncomfortable with their feelings of disorientation and déjà vu.

Add to this eerie situation the... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nightmare, Inaugural Issue

Readers’ average rating:

The magazine isn't horrible; it's in the horror genre.  Perhaps reading about a great magazine -- and then reading the magazine itself -- will make your Monday more bearable!

John Joseph Adams, editor of the well-regarded science fiction and fantasy e-journal, Lightspeed, as well as numerous excellent anthologies, has launched a new horror e-zine, Nightmare. It will feature two reprint stories along with two original stories each month, along with in-depth interviews, short interviews with each author whose story is featured in the issue, and non-fiction discussions about writing and reading horror.

The first issue is out today, and it is terrific. I’m an early subscriber and a Kickstarter supporter of the pro... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nightmare, Issue 2

Readers’ average rating:

It's not the magazine that's horrible; it's that the magazine contains horror fiction. A perfect mood setter for Halloween!

Because Wednesday is Halloween, here’s another serving of the new magazine Nightmare, edited by John Joseph Adams. The second issue of this new online magazine makes me think we’ve got something special going here: the fiction is excellent, the nonfiction informative, the art compelling.

The first story in this issue is “Construction Project” by Desirina Boskovich. The married couple who tell this story in first person plural believe that a creature is waiting for them should they drop their guard for even a moment. They therefore go about making their third-floor apartment into an impregnable safehouse. The building goes on and on, over the months and the seasons, followed by the acquisition of the supplies Eli and... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nightmare, September 2013

Readers’ average rating:

Nightmare has made it for a year now: the September issue is the twelfth. Based on the quality of the magazine to date, I hope it manages to at least cube that number.

“Halfway Home” by Linda Nagata is the first original story in this issue. It’s a stunner set in the real world; no supernatural beings or powers are at work here, just human evil.  It starts so prosaically that one is lulled into a false sense of security, even boredom. Two women are speaking to one another as their flight leaves from the Philippines for Los Angeles. They are strangers, each traveling for her own reasons, one starting a conversation with the narrator as the narrator browses through the airliner’s safety brochure, making sure she knows where the exits are in case the worst happens. The narrator is basically a profe... Read More

Black Thorn, White Rose: So many wonderful stories

Readers’ average rating:

Black Thorn, White Rose edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Black Thorn, White Rose is the second in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's series of adult fairy-tale anthologies. I'd have to say that this is my favorite of the bunch; most of the volumes are good, but this one has so many wonderful stories that have stayed with me for years. A few highlights:

"Stronger Than Time," by Patricia C. Wrede , is a sad but hopeful take on "Sleeping Beauty," told through the eyes of Arven, an ordinary peasant widower. He has lived his whole life in the shadow of a mysterious briar-guarded tower. When a prince enlists his help breaching the tower's defenses, the reader is just as surprised as Arven is. Why does the prince need Arven's help? I dare you not t... Read More

The 2012 Novelette Nominees for the Shirley Jackson Award

Readers’ average rating:

This week Terry looks at the four novelettes nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, which will be presented at Readercon. This year Readercon will take place July 12 through 15, in Burlington, Massachusetts.

“Omphalos” by Livia Llewellyn, is the first nomination for this writer whose first book, The Engines of Desire: Tales of Love & Other Horrors is also nominated in the single-author collection category (“Omphalos” appears in the collection). It is about a horrifically dysfunctional family in which every family member seems to be having sex with every other f... Read More

The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Four

Readers’ average rating:

The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Four edited by Ellen Datlow

Anything Ellen Datlow edits automatically finds a place on my list of books to read. For many years, this included the excellent anthology series The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, which Datlow coedited with Terri Windling. When that series disappeared, much to the dismay of fans of short fiction everywhere, Datlow undertook to publish The Year’s Best Horror, which has been published by the terrific smaller press, Night Shade Books, for the past four years. This year’s volume, the fourth, is chock full of memorable stories certain to keep you up at night.

... Read More

The Monstrous: You can’t go wrong with Datlow

Readers’ average rating:

The Monstrous edited by Ellen Datlow

Whenever I see Ellen Datlow’s name as editor on the cover of an anthology, I know I’m in good hands. Datlow has a made a thirty-plus year career of choosing good stories and developing collections that take different aims at the theme. The theme of The Monstrous is monsters, and Datlow makes sure to explore all facets of that word with this mostly-reprint anthology from Tachyon Press.

There are twenty stories in the book. One is original to the anthology. The reprints include one classic horror story and a few that read as dated to me. Datlow’s standards of excellent writing and good characterization stand throughout the book.

I’m going to discuss two pieces out of sequence, because they left me puzzling. Read More

International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, Part Three

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Lunch on Friday included a presentation by the scholar guest of honor, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. His talk was entitled “Undead,” and was a meditation on the meaning of that word -- or, in other words, on zombies. Undead does not, Cohen noted, mean that the undead thing is alive; it is a restless state from which monsters arise. What is behind the shift in our literature from ghosts to zombies? Zombies pose no challenge to our minds, as ghosts do, but just want to eat our brains, the physical repositories of our minds. We don’t love zombies the way we might love some ghosts, but think of them as only bodies, things, a collective, a form. If horror is made for mapping what we fe... Read More