The New Gothic edited by Beth K. Lewis
The New Gothic, an anthology of twelve stories, is edited by Beth K. Lewis and published by Stone Skin Press. It’s a good collection, worth reading.
Gothic horror usually counts on a mounting sense of dread and/or disgust to carry the reader, rather than shock or terror. The fear comes on more slowly, with that faint tickle at the back of your neck, and at its best, a gothic tale creates a sense of otherworldliness, where the characters, and the readers, begin to doubt their own senses. A gothic tale is more likely to rely on a dilapidated house or a dark stretch of forest than gore, dismemberment or mayhem to pack its emotional punch.
The word “New” in the title is a bit of false advertising. None of these stories moves too far from the familiar conventions of the sub-genre. On one hand, it would be difficult to write a... Read More
Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor Soul Meets Soul on Lover’s Lips… Although it’s been a while since Kelly reviewed Lips Touch: Three Times, (above) her...Read More
The New Gothic edited by Beth K. Lewis
Direct Descent by Frank Herbert
Direct Descent (1980) is by a fair margin the weakest novel by Frank Herbert I've read.
In the far future the whole of Earth's interior has been taken up by a gigantic library. Ships travel the known universe to collect information about just about everything and bring it back to Earth to archive it and make it available to the entire galaxy. The first and foremost rule of this organization is always obey the government whomever that may be — a rule meant to underline the library’s strict neutrality. But what if the government sends its warships at you? How can you defend yourself armed with archives full of useless knowledge and a policy of strict obedience?
Direct Descent is expanded from the short story “The Pack Rat Planet,” which first appeared in Astounding in December 1954. It is one of Herbert's earliest scie... Read More
This week, a rather tired meme.
Shepard: I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite site on the Citadel.
Bill: This week I read Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things and Violet Kupersmith’s story collection—The Frangipani Hotel. Faber’s was a bit overly long, and the speculative fiction aspects were the weakest part of the novel, but it was overall a serious and thoughtful exploration of relationships, religion, and humanity. Kupersmith’s collection, meanwhile, was filled with solid stories—many of them involving supernatural creatures/events—but I can’t say any single story blew me away. Currently, I’m in... Read More
The DC Infinite Crisis and the “Old” 52 (Part 2): “Lightning Strikes Twice” by Judd Winick
In Part One, I gave an introduction to this series and discussed Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1 (it's available on Comixology or in the trade paperback The OMAC Project). This second review is about the first three issues included in the trade paperback Day of Vengeance. These issues, by Judd Winick, tell the three-part Read More
Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
I have some mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I’m tremendously pleased that Hobb is writing Fitz again. He is and remains (for me at least) her most entertaining protagonist, and represents a return to form following what I believe to be her experimentation in the SOLDIER SON TRILOGY in particular. And the book is good. So far at least, Hobb has managed to resist her tried-and-true soul-splitting motif, and we get a complete human being to follow. Hobb depicts his life with sterling characterization and subtle nuance, reminding me why she is considered one of the best (possibly even the best) in the fantasy genre when it comes to introspective narratives. During the first third to half of the novel, this was enough. In the second portion, though, I admit that I found myself increasingly concerned at how slowly Hobb was building events.
Now, let’s be clear: Hobb has nev...Read More
Schemers by Robin D. Laws (editor)
Schemers is a collection of short stories by an excellent list of authors: Jesse Bullington, Tobias Buckell, Ekaterina Sedia, Jonathan L. Howard, Nick Mamatas, Elizabeth A. Vaughan, Tania Hershman, Kyla Lee Ward, Robyn Seale, Laura Lush, Molly Tanzer, John Helfers, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, and Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer. These are stories of complex plans and gut wrenching betrayals. It is a great theme for a collection of short stories.... Read More
The Crimson Shield by Nathan Hawke
Last year I was looking through the Gollancz catalogue and one book in particular caught my eye: Nathan Hawke’s The Crimson Shield. Notice anything unusual about the cover? The title and author aren’t there — they’re on the binding. And with a cover that beautiful, it’s both a bold strategy and a no-brainer.
Nathan Hawke, a pseudonym of Stephen Deas, author of the MEMORY OF FLAMES, THIEF-TAKER’S APPRENTICE, and SILVER KINGSseries, claims inspiration from the legendary David Gemmell in writing the new GALLOW trilogy. The inspiration is clearly visible, as it feels much look a story Gemmell would write, but it’s got its own identity and someth... Read More
Back a couple of years ago, Smithsonian Magazine reminded its readers of a 1936 poll that asked which contemporary authors would endure the slings and arrows of critics, such that their works would be considered “classics” in the year 2000 (the poll was conducted by The Colophon — a magazine for book collectors that sadly did not itself “endure”). These are the authors their readers came up with:
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Robert Frost... Read More
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
(Warning: This review may contain spoilers of Book One, Mistborn.)
There is a lot to like about The Well of Ascension, the second book in Brandon Sanderson’s MISTBORN trilogy. There is also a lot that is disappointing. After a lot of serious thought, I must commit to a position, so I am… sitting on the fence.
This book starts up one year after Vin, a peasant girl with powerful allomantic or metal-magical powers, and her noble lover Elend Venture overthrew the Lord Ruler, an immortal near-god who had ruled the Final Empire for one thousand years. Allomancers ingest small amount of various metals, and when they metabolize or “burn” them, the metals give them magical abilities. Most allomancers, called mistings, can utilize only one metal and have only one power. Vin, a Mistborn, can... Read More
Garrett for Hire by Glen Cook
Garrett for Hire is an omnibus edition of three books in Glen Cook’s popular GARRETT, P.I. series. These books are Deadly Quicksilver Lies, Petty Pewter Gods and Faded Steel Heat, books seven, eight and nine in the series, respectively. However, because each book fairly stands alone, I never felt that I was missing out on any important details by joining the series at the halfway point. Nor did I feel like I could have used a bit more background to fully appreciate the characters, events or location. Therefore, don’t let the fact that this omnibus isn’t comprised of books one, two and three keep you from reading it.
Garrett for Hire reads like a noir novel with a little bit of a Read More