The Pillow Friend by Lisa Tuttle
The Pillow Friend, by Lisa Tuttle, straddles two categories of fiction, psychological horror and the more conventional quasi-literary “women’s fiction.” Tuttle’s prose is exquisite. She is able to describe the thoughts and impulses of a girl growing toward womanhood in an immediate, authentic way. Her ability to set mood and place cannot be doubted. The book is dark and disturbing, but at the end, it felt less like a horror story and more like a report on a woman’s descent into insanity.
The book introduces us to Agnes Gray when she is six years old, growing up in Houston, Texas in the early sixties. Tuttle’s description of place is flawless. I could feel the wall of heat, smell fresh-cut grass and stale cigarette smoke.
Agnes is the youngest of three children. She has twin sisters who are about six years older than her, who are ... Read More
Lisa Tuttle(1952- )
Lisa Tuttle won the 1974 John W. Campbell Best New Author Award. She has also won a Nebula and an Aurthur C Clarke Award. Lisa Tuttle also writes science fiction and horror.
The Pillow Friend by Lisa Tuttle
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007
In many ways, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007 anthology is a difficult book to review. For one thing, to me and a lot of my reading/writing circle, this is easily the definitive bible when it comes to short stories of the genre. For another, many of the stories that are included in this collection have been featured in other anthologies as well, so there's an overlap in terms of stories featured. But I'll try and talk about what makes this anthology unique from other similar anthologies.
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror is quite comprehensive about its subject matter, not just featuring short stories but poems and articles. The first dozen pages are articles summarizing the important events that happened in the two genres including the obituaries of the previous year. That’s really quite valuable from an archiving standpoint, an... Read More
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008
For me, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008 has been a two-headed beast. On one hand, it's an eagerly anticipated book by people involved in the industry, usually for the summation at the front of the book and the honorable mentions list at the back. The various editors are quite thorough and detailed when it comes to this part. The other aspect is, of course, the story/poetry selection, which is what will likely attract the casual reader.
So, how does it actually fare? Well, with regards to the first aspect, there are no disappointments. When covering the highlights of the previous year (and alas, the obituaries) and the various media (comics, movies, and music) in which either fantasy or horror plays a part, the book has it covered. The writing is functional and achieves what it sets out to do.
With regard to the stories and poems, this is a wel... Read More
Songs of Love and Death edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
Songs of Love and Death is the third anthology that George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have edited together. Like Warriors and Songs of the Dying Earth, Songs of Love and Death brings together some of the biggest names that SFF has to offer and they set these authors to work on a common theme.
Martin and Dozois offer a cross-genre anthology that ranges from Robin Hobb’s epic fantasy “Blue Boots,” which tells the story of a romance between a young serving girl and a silver-tongued minstrel, to Read More
Songs of Love and Death by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (editors)
George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have collected a nice batch of all-new stories from an all-star cast in Songs of Love and Death. The theme is “star-crossed lovers,” and as you might guess from the title, each tale is a love story, and many are death stories, too. Some are sad, some are sexy, and one or two are slightly sappy. Overall, I enjoyed the collection. Here’s what you’ll find in Songs of Love and Death:
“Love Hurts” by Jim Butcher may be the story Harry Dresden’s fans have been waiting for because it looks like Harry and Murphy will finally get together... or will they?
In “The Marrying Maid,” historical romance author Jo Beverley provides a Regency romanc... Read More
The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
I haven’t actually read every page of The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, yet I’m giving it my highest recommendation. Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Master and Mistress of Weird, The Weird is 1126 pages long and should really be considered a textbook of weird fiction. It contains 110 carefully chosen stories spanning more than 100 years of weird fiction. Here’s what you can expect to find in this massive volume:
A “Forweird” by Michael Moorcock gives us a brief history of the weird tale, discusses how it has defied publishers’ attempts to categorize it into neatly-bordered genres, and gives examples of writers who are revered by modern readers but whose weird fiction caused them to be... Read More
Familiar Spirit — (1983) Publisher: Now that her life with Brian was over, she would have a home of her own. She could begin again. But something was waiting for Sarah in her new house, waiting to welcome her, to make her feel at home. Something was waiting for Sarah in the night with golden eyes that glowed and burned, commanding her obedience, demanding her soul, promising her… Sarah tried to escape the power, but night after night it drew her back, filling her with screaming horror one moment, and relentless, burning pleasure the next. She tried to escape the house, to fight the evil. But she came back. She will always come back because she is now, never alone…
Catwitch — (1983) With Una Woodruff. Publisher: Having been taught reading, writing, and a little magic by his owner, Jules the kitten is persuaded by fairies that appear through the television set to return with them to fairyland and help save their captive prince.
Gabriel (1987) Publisher: Gabriel swore he would always love her. And then he died. A decade later, when Dinah meets Ben, she is amazed to find Gabriel’s penetrating eyes, his knowing smile, in a 10-year-old boy. When he says he loves her, Dinah is amused — then frightened. Because he means it.
Lost Futures — (1992) Publisher: When her brother dies tragically, Clare suddenly finds herself living several different lives — in a mental ward in one, doomed to a failed relationship in another, and with her dead brother in a third. LOST FUTURES thus explores the fascinating concept of alternate realities: the theory that at the point of any given choice, reality splits and continues on for each outcome. The result is a truly unique piece of fiction, one that extends far beyond the classic boundaries of the horror genre.
Panther in Argyll — (1996) Publisher: No one believes that there is a panther in Argyll, despite the sightings. But for Danni, the impossible is true. She has an animal spirit and can change into a panther at will. What should she do with this extraordinary power? Is it the greatest of adventures, or a terrible curse?
Ghosts and Other Lovers — (2001) Publisher: The introduction begins, “I’m fascinated by ghosts, and entertain all sorts of theories about what they really are. That hauntings are caused by the uneasy dead, by spirits unable to find rest, seems to me the least likely explanation….” Veteran fantasy and horror author Lisa Tuttle has assembled thirteen of her imaginative inquiries into the nature of ghosts and the people they visit, covering territory from gothic romance to the just plain creepy. Incisive, moving, and unsettling, GHOSTS AND OTHER LOVERS should appeal to both fans of the classic ghost story and those seeking bold new psychological fantasy.
My Pathology — (2001) Publisher: What if the logic of the world reflected the bizarre logic of the unconscious? Each story in My Pathology explores the insanity just below the surface of normal life — especially the madness that unites and divides the sexes. A woman’s obsession with her younger sister’s nocturnal activities centers uneasily upon the attic of their shared home, where someone or something has built a room-sized nest. A man’s desire to connect with aliens threatens his ability to form human relationships. And in the title story, a modern-day alchemist has enlisted sexuality itself into his quest for the philosopher’s stone, with uncertain consequences for the women who love him. By turns disturbing and compelling, these sixteen multi-faceted tales reprise the career of one of SF’s most emotionally insightful writers.
The Mysteries — (2005) Publisher: Lisa Tuttle, an award-winning author, writes here of one man’s quest for a missing woman and history’s long-lasting legends of the disappeared. She blends the mysteries of our everyday lives with a look at what happens when someone disappears without leaving any clues behind. Ian Kennedy, a private investigator, has found many missing people, but now faces a case he worries he cannot solve, but knows he has to.
The Silver Bough — (2006) Publisher: Nestled on the coast of Scotland, Appleton was once famous for its apples. Now, though the orchards are long gone, locals still dream of the town’s glory days, when an Apple Queen was crowned at the annual fair and good luck seemed a way of life. And outsiders are still drawn to the charming village, including three very different American women. Enchanted by Appleton’s famously ornate, gold-domed library, divorcée Kathleen Mullaroy has left her cosmopolitan job to start anew as the town’s head librarian. Widowed Nell Westray hopes for a quiet life of gardening in the place where she and her husband spent their happiest moments. And young Ashley Kaldis has come to find her roots, and learns that the town’s fortunes turned when her grandmother was crowned Apple Queen — then mysteriously disappeared. When a sudden landslide cuts Appleton off from the wider world — and the usual constraints of reality — the village reveals itself to be an extraordinary place, inhabited by legendary beings, secret rooms, and the blossoming of a rare fruit not seen in decades. Most unexpected is a handsome stranger who will draw all three women into an Otherworld in which luck and love will return to Appleton — if only one of them will believe.
Windhaven — (1980) Publisher: George R. R. Martin has thrilled a generation of readers with his epic works of the imagination, most recently the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling saga told in the novels A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords. Lisa Tuttle has won acclaim from fans of science fiction, horror, and fantasy alike — most recently for her haunting novel The Pillow Friend. Now together they gift readers with this classic tale of a brilliantly rendered world of ironbound tradition, where a rebellious soul seeks to prove the power of a dream. The planet of Windhaven was not originally a home to humans, but it became one following the crash of a colony starship. It is a world of small islands, harsh weather, and monster-infested seas. Communication among the scattered settlements was virtually impossible until the discovery that, thanks to light gravity and a dense atmosphere, humans were able to fly with the aid of metal wings made of bits of the cannibalized spaceship. Many generations later, among the scattered islands that make up the water world of Windhaven, no one holds more prestige than the silver-winged flyers, who bring news, gossip, songs, and stories. They are romantic figures crossing treacherous oceans, braving shifting winds and sudden storms that could easily dash them from the sky to instant death. They are also members of an increasingly elite caste, for the wings — always in limited quantity — are growing gradually rarer as their bearers perish. With such elitism comes arrogance and a rigid adherence to hidebound tradition. And for the flyers, allowing just anyone to join their cadre is an idea that borders on heresy. Wings are meant only for the offspring of flyers — now the new nobility of Windhaven. Except that sometimes life is not quite so neat. Maris of Amberly, a fisherman’s daughter, was raised by a flyer and wants nothing more than to soar on the currents high above Windhaven. By tradition, however, the wings must go to her stepbrother, Coll, the flyer’s legitimate son. But Coll wants only to be a singer, traveling the world by sea. So Maris challenges tradition, demanding that flyers be chosen on the basis of merit rather than inheritance. And when she wins that bitter battle, she discovers that her troubles are only beginning. For not all flyers are willing to accept the world’s new structure, and as Maris battles to teach those who yearn to fly, she finds herself likewise fighting to preserve the integrity of a society she so longed to join — not to mention the very fabric that holds her culture together.