Rename this horrible cover!

No, gentle readers, your eyes are not deceiving you.

This is the cover for the 1975 Ballantine issue of William Goldman's classic novel The Princess Bride.

Yes, we are just as offended as you are. It's INCONCEIVABLE! This horrid cover does not belong on one of our favorite books and, therefore, it needs a new title. Can you help us provide one that's more appropriate? Read More

Rename this horrible cover!

Now, you know we love Jack Vance -- he's one of our favorite speculative fiction authors -- but some of the covers on his books are truly atrocious.

This one here, in fact...

We think the title Space Opera is just too generic for this striking cover. Can you help us rename it?

Here's the description, if it helps:
Space Opera — (1965) A society matron underwrites the interstellar tour of an Earth opera company, performing Beethoven, Mozart and Rossini for bewildered human and alien audiences on a kaleidoscopic range of planets. But intrigue and secret agendas complicate what was already a doubtful enterprise, and the matron’s feckless nephew finds that the simple country girl he plans to marry is far more mysterious than she seems. This is Jack Vance at his funniest, rolling out a rollicking picaresque tale where the belly laughs play... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this horrible cover!

I felt it was time we do another cover rename segment. The cover I have for you today is form Death's Daughter by Amber Benson. We gave this book a good review, and if you dig Urban Fantasy you should probably give it a read. It's not the book, but the cover that is my target today. It's quite awful, and I would love to rename it.

The first thing my eyes are drawn to on this cover is the creepy puppy photobombing in the corner. I believe he is supposed to be adorable, but he somehow manages to appear as exactly the opposite. I'm not sure if the lady on the cover is supposed to appear ethereal, but at a brief glance it kind of looks like Read More

Rename this horrible cover!

Sexy Babes and...Killer Whales?

Today's cover masterpiece was originally title The Cingulum by John Maddox Roberts. It was published in 1985 by Tor Books, and the literary world has not been the same since. That might be a slight exaggeration. Actually, I just made that up completely. The literary world barely got indigestion when The Cingulum was released, but that doesn't stop this cover from being completely awesome.

This has all the elements of an award-winning novel. It has a sexy lady in a somewhat revealing outfit.  Nothing says "Hawt" like a shiny space robe and a vacant stare.  The spaceship looks too fragile. How do you land it without breaking the front window? That has got to be expensive to replace every single time you land.  The dude in the back  just wants to leave. He is being forced to stand there while she poses fo... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename This Horrible Cover, Psycho Floating Baby Head edition

Yeah, it made me jump too, the first time I saw this. My husband sent this to me in response to an email I had sent to him proclaiming this book to have the worst cover of any book I had ever seen. I opened the email and literally flinched.

The title of the book, Twilight of Briareus, doesn't seem nearly evocative enough for artwork this...stunning. What is going on?  Why is a giant disembodied baby head floating through space?  Is this a sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey crossed with The Blair Witch Project? The backcover blurb is terse and nondescriptive:

Earth is ravaged by tornadoes, and in their aftermath everyone becomes sterile. Certain people acquire psychic powers and can experience "trips" in each other's company, during which the...

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Thoughtful Thursday: Rename This Horrible Cover!

Welcome to the third installment of Rename This Horrible Cover!

This week, I invite you to feast your eyes on this beauty.

Isn't this a spectacularly bizarre cover? Is that a dog? A hell hound? A lion with mange? What exactly is that large ominous thing? And how is it both behind the man and in front of him at the same time? I'm so confused.

So dear readers, I turn to you. What’s a better name for this cover? I submit "Lord of the Fading Lion Breath."

Every month we feature a new cover and your job is twofold:

1. Suggest a new title for the featured cover.
2. Suggest a fantasy cover you would like us to retitle for the next month. (Link to it on Amazon or elsewhere.)

You must do both parts to be eligible to win. The winner for retitling the cover will get the featured book for our giveaway (or may choose from the Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename This Horrible Cover!

Welcome to the second installment of Rename This Horrible Cover!

This week, I invite you to feast your eyes on this beauty. Honestly, I have no idea what's going on in this picture. Is that a carriage? Being driven by Santa's helpers? Are they avalanche surfing? Why are the people so skinny? Were they hunting for bones on the mountainside? Are those special cadaver sniffing horses? I really am so confused.

So dear readers, I turn to you. What's a better name for this cover?

Every month we feature a new cover and your job is twofold:

1. Suggest a new title for the featured cover.
2. Suggest a fantasy cover you would like us to retitle for the next month. (Link to it on Amazon or elsewhere.)

You must do both parts to be eligible to win. The winner for retitling the cover may choose a book from the Read More

The Gathering Storm: Rename This Horrible Cover!

Everyone's talking about Tor's upcoming release of The Wheel of Time: The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson.

Bill's got a copy in his hot little hands and we'll be posting his review on October 27 at 12:01 am.

Meanwhile.... some of us aren't too crazy about this cover art...

So, let's have some fun with it! Can you suggest a BETTER title for a book with this cover? Put your title below. You may enter as many titles as you like. The winner (judged by Bill) will be announced on October 31 and will receive your choice of one of several books we've got in our stacks around here your very own bra... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this cover!

Baen is known for its cheesy cover art, but this one is particularly horrid.

Please help us rename this awful-looking story collection by Christopher Anvil. Rx for Chaos is highly rated at Amazon, by the way, so let's not judge the book by its cover.

The author of the new title we like best wins a book from our stacks.

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming? Please send it to Kat.

We love this game!kelly Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this cover!

It's time again for one of our favorite games!

Please help us rename this strange-looking science fiction novel by Chester Anderson and Pocket books. The Butterfly Kid, which is a semi-autobiographical fantasy about LSD hallucinations (surprise, surprise), was nominated for a Hugo Award in 1968 but didn't win. Has anyone read it?

The author of the new title we like best wins a book from our stacks.

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming? Please send it to Kat.

We love this game! Read More

Rename this cover!


It's time again for one of our favorite games!

Please help us rename the cover of this book.

Got a suggestion for a cover that needs renaming? Please send it to Kat.

We love this game!


  Read More

WWWednesday: October 28, 2015

This week's word for Wednesday is galumph, a verb. It means to move in a ponderous, clumsy or noisy manner. Lewis Carroll is credited with inventing the word in 1871 (it was first used in Through the Looking Glass), and scholars think it was a blending of "gallop" and "triumph." It's also a good example of onomatopoeia.

Kay Neilsen East of the Sun, West of the Moon


The British Fantasy Awards were announced; Lightspeed’s special edition Women Destroy Science Fiction won for best anthology. Frances Hardinge won Best Fantasy Novel for Cuckoo Song. The link takes you to a list of all the winners.


IO9 has nearly 3 minutes of Read More

Book deal breakers

In one of last month's Thoughtful Thursday columns, April suggested a discussion topic. She wants to know what your "book deal breakers" are.

Laughable Lyrics: A Fourth Book of Nonsense Poems, Songs, Botany, Music, etc. by Edward Lear (1894).

Book deal breakers are elements you find in the synopsis, cover, title, or text that will make you absolutely not buy, read, or continue reading a particular book. April says "I know everyone has some!"

So, readers, what are your book deal breakers?

As always, one commenter will be chosen to pick a book from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don’t choose a winner with... Read More

The Fifth Sorceress: Clutters rackspace

The Fifth Sorceress by Robert Newcomb

This ambitious debut novel is set in a realm in which two kingdoms are divided by an impassable sea. Over 300 years prior to the story's opening, a vicious war led to the exile of a coven of evil sorceresses whose lust for power would have led to the utter destruction of peaceful Eutracia had it not been for the intervention of the noble Directorate of Wizards. The book's startlingly blunt sexual politics, in which the heroes are all male and the villains female, is only one of its dubious qualities. Robert Newcomb has delivered a first novel that, while competently written, ends up little more than an amalgam of fourth-hand ideas borrowed from better books.

In The Fifth Sorceress we have, once again, a reluctant protagonist prophesied as the "Chosen One" who must face Overwhelming Evil in a battle to the finish with the guidance of his own personal G... Read More

More books by Tanith Lee

Novels Of Vis — (1976-1988) Publisher: A novel of an unknown planet and of the conflict of empires and peoples on that world. It is the story of a priestess raped and slain, of a baby born of a king and hidden among strangers, and of how that child, grown to manhood, sought his true heritage. It is a novel of alien gods and lost goddesses, of warriors and wanderers, and of vengeance long delayed. It is an epic in every sense of the word.

Tanith Lee Novels Of Vis 1. The Storm Lord 2. Anackire 3. The White SerpenTanith Lee Novels Of Vis 1. The Storm Lord 2. Anackire 3. The White SerpenTanith Lee Novels Of Vis 1. The Storm Lord 2. Anackire 3. The White Serpen

Four-BEE — (1976-1977) Publisher: In a world dedicated to pleasure, one young rebel sets out on a forbidden quest. Published for the first time in a single volume, Tanith Lee’s duet of novels set in a hedonistic Utopia are as riveting and revolutionary as they were when they first appeared two decades ago. It’s a perfect existence, a world in which no pleasure is off-limits, no risk is too dangerous, and no responsibilities can cramp your style. Not if you’re Jang: a caste of libertine teenagers in the city of Four BEE. But when you’re expected to make trouble — when you can kill yourself on a whim and return in another body, when you’re encouraged to change genders at will and experience whatever you desire — you’ve got no reason to rebel… until making love and raising hell, daring death and running wild just leave you cold and empty. Ravenous for true adventures of the mind and body, desperate to find some meaning, one restless spirit finally bucks the system — and by shattering the rules, strikes at the very heart of a soulless society…

Original Duology:                                                            Omnibus:
book review Tanith Lee Four-Bee 1. Don't Bite the Sun 2. Drinking Sapphire Winebook review Tanith Lee Four-Bee 1. Don't Bite the Sun 2. Drinking Sapphire Wine                       book review Tanith Lee Biting the Sun

The Blood Stone — (1980) Publisher: Out of the dusk he comes striding, the stranger, the man in black, inevitable as death itself: Parl Dro — Ghost Slayer. Some have bought his services for gold, and some have blessed him for his work. But not everyone welcomes an exorcist who will remorselessly deprive them of their beloved dead. Dro began his vocation at an early age. And now he will not be turned aside, no matter how you may threaten, curse or weep. He is seeking too the greatest stronghold of the deadalive: Ghyste Mortua, the ghost town in the mountains, and he means to destroy it. If he will face that, what use the pleas of the desperate sisters, Cilny and Ciddey, what use the rage of Myal, with his genius for music and his imperfect talent for crime? Only one thing, it seems, motivates Parl Dro. His determination to kill the dead.

fantasy book reviews Tanith Lee Blood Stone 1. Kill the Dead 2. Sabella fantasy book reviews Tanith Lee Blood Stone 1. Kill the Dead 2. Sabella

Secret Books of Paradys — (1986-1993) This omnibus edition contain all of the Paradys books. Publisher: Paradys — the city — was a place of decadence and decay, of luxury and lasciviousness, and, after the revolution, a graveyard peopled by the insane and the dead… and by those who preyed on both. The strange and the tormented dwell in Paradys — prowling its dark streets and twisted alleyways, passing the endless hours in the city’s elegant mansions and smoke-tarnished inns, wandering in moldering graveyards and the stark surrounding countryside. For the land here is bound by a timeless, soul-chilling magic, and that power has cast its spell over all who have ever lived in this foreboding and dangerous place. All who came to Paradys were forever touched by its dread magic. The City was not one place but three, bound together by a labyrinth of ice yet separated, perhaps by time, perhaps by some long-forgotten enchantment, into Paradise, Paradis and Paradys — each cursed in an entirely different way.

Tanith Lee Secret Books of Paradys 1. The Book of the DamnedTanith Lee Secret Books of Paradys 1. The Book of the Damned 2. The Book of the BeastTanith Lee Secret Books of Paradys 1. The Book of the Damned 3. The Book of the DeadTanith Lee Secret Books of Paradys 1. The Book of the Damned 4. The Book of the Mad

Tanaquil — (1989-1997) Publisher: The only daughter of a powerful sorceress, Tanaquil seems to have no magical talent of her own. Then she discovers a pile of bones in the desert near her mother’s palace. Carefully assembled by Tanaquil, the bones form the skeleton of a unicorn, which comes back to life.

book review tanith lee tanaquil black unicornbook review tanith lee tanaquil gold unicornbook review tanith lee tanaquil red unicorn

The Blood Opera Sequence — (1992-1994) Publisher: Rachaela Day leads a grey, uneventful life in the London suburbs. She works in a bookshop for a pittance which barely pays the bills. But all that begins to change from the day she receives a mysterious letter from the Scarabae family. All she knows about them is that Adamus Scarabae deserted her mother before Rachaels’s birth. Recalling her mother’s warnings, she wants nothing to do with them, and finds their persistence ever more intrusive. What do thet want? But on losing her ill-paid job and her flat Rachaela finally agrees to their offer and goes to live with them in The House — a mysterious cliff-top mansion miles from anywhere.

Tanith Lee fantasy book reviews 1. Dark Dance 2. Personal Darkness 3. Darkness, I Tanith Lee fantasy book reviews 1. Dark Dance 2. Personal Darkness 3. Darkness, I Tanith Lee fantasy book reviews 1. Dark Dance 2. Personal Darkness 3. Darkness, I

Lionwolf — (2004-2007) Publisher: The setting of this story is a world of eternal winter, where once thrived hot climates and exotic luxury. Saphay, daughter of a sub-king in the more civilized West, is sent off to marry a leader of the barbaric Jafn, not realizing that her own father has arranged for her betrayal.

book review tanith lee lionwolf cast a bright shadowbook review tanith lee lionwolf here in cold hellTanith Lee Lionwolf 3 No Flame But Mine

Piratica — (2004-2007) Young adult. Publisher: Artemesia is the daughter of a pirate queen, and she’s sick of practicing deportment at the Angels Academy for Young Maidens. Escaping from the school, she hunts up her mother’s crew and breezily commands them out to sea in a leaky boat. Unfortunately, Art’s memories of her early life may not be accurate — her seasick crew are actors, and Art’s infamous mother was the darling of the stage in a pirate drama. But fiery, pistol-proof Art soon shapes her men into the cleverest pirate crew afloat. And when they meet the dread ship Enemy and her beautiful, treacherous captain, Goldie Girl, Art is certain that her memories are real. The Seven Seas aren’t large enough for two pirate queens: Art will have the battle of her life to win her mother’s title — and the race for the most fabulous treasure in pirate lore. This gaudy, outrageous tale sparkles with swordplay, skullduggery, and salty language — not to mention over-the-top comedy!

book review tanith lee piratica being a daring tale of a girl's adventure upon the high seabook review tanith lee piratica return to parrot islandbook review tanith lee piratica the family sea


review tanith lee the dragon hoardThe Dragon Hoard — (1971) Young Adult. Publisher: The princess handed fearless a black book, bound in gold, entitled: The Hoard Dragon. Not to be read by the fainthearted. Fearless read it aloud to Prince Jasleth. “The dragon is as high as a house, with scales no sword can pierce, and a mouth so huge it can swallow an army in one gulp — and once did to prove it. It has nine hundred and fifty-four teeth, each three inches long and as sharp as a needle. It never sleeps, and it hasn’t been fed in a hundred years…” “Let’s go home,” said Jasleth.

Princess Hynchatti: And Some Other SurprisesPrincess Hynchatti: And Some Other Surprises — (1972) Publisher: Twelve original fairy tales about princes and princesses in which the wizards, fairy godmothers, dragons, and the like don’t always have the expected effect.

book review tanith lee volkhavaarVolkhavaar — (1977) Publisher: Volkhavaar is a novel of witchcraft and wonders on a world far removed from those we know. Here the gods contend for power — the Dark forces against the Light — and here an entire city and its land is plunged into the shadow of an evil beyond anything conceivable. It is the story of Shaina the slave girl and of Volk the outcast who enslaved himself to cosmic forces to gain total power — and of how they were finally to meet and clash — with an entire world as their prize.

Lycanthia (The Children of Wolves)

Lycanthia (The Children of Wolves) — (1981) Publisher: To a distant corner of France comes Christian Dorse to claim his inheritance and to prepare himself to surrender to premature death. But Christian is near to the forest where the de Lagenays live, a mother and son that both servants and village people mysteriously avoid mentioning.

book review tanith lee cyrionCyrion — (1982) Publisher: He came to the “Honey Garden” looking for Cyrion. He was in grave danger, convinced only one man alive could help him. A man he had heard about in song and story. A man practically everyone knew something about. A man he had never met. Some said he was the stolen son of a western king, raised by nomads in the desert. A freelance swordsman, a sorcerer, a master of disguise, some said he attracted bizarre, uncanny events as some persons attract misfortune. He with hair like the sky at earnest sunrise, his fair complexion, his whiplash reactions and quicksilver elegance was like a being from another world. A legend. A myth. but was her real? And was he for hire?

Red as Blood: Tales from the Sisters GrimmerRed as Blood: Tales from the Sisters Grimmer — (1982) Publisher: How would it be if Snow White were the real villain & the wicked queen just a sadly maligned innocent? What if awakening the Sleeping Beauty should be the mistake of a lifetime–of several lifetimes? What if the famous folk tales were retold with an eye to more horrific possibilities? Only Tanith Lee could do justice to it. In RED AS BLOOD, she displays her soaring imagination at its most fantastically mischievous. Not for nothing was the title story named as a Nebula nominee. Not for nothing was the author of THE BIRTHGRAVE & THE STORM LORD called by New York’s Village Voice, “Goddess-Empress of the Hot Read.” Here are the world-famous tales of such as the Brothers Grimm as they might have been retold by the Sisters Grimmer! Fairy tales for children? Not on your life!

Days of GrassDays of Grass — (1985) Publisher: The free humans lived underground, secretive, like rats. Above, the world was a fearsome place for them — the open sky a terror, the night so black, and the striding machines from space so laser-flame deadly. Esther dared the open; she saw the sky; she saw the Enemy. And she was taken — captive — to the vast alien empty city. Surrounded by marvels of science not born on earth, Esther did not know what they wanted of her. There was mystery in the city, dread in the heavens, and magic in the handsome alien man who came to her. Tanith Lee, winner of World Fantasy Awards, crown princess of high fantasy, has turned her talents to science fiction in DAYS OF GRASS — with the same color and art and suspense that mark all her wonder works from THE BIRTHGRAVE to DELUSION’S MASTER.

book review tanith lee heroine of the worldA Heroine of the World — (1989) Publisher: The fortune teller spoke the words, showed Ara the cards that predicted how she would become the focal point of great events… But now, a defenceless captive of enemy invaders, Ara could only wait and hope to discover her true destiny. Yet in a world ruled by war, what chance did she have to attain her heart’s desire? Far from home, and alone among strangers, only the will of the goddess Vulmardra could protect and guide her. But the path the lady had started her on would lead Ara into the very heart of conflict. And though she might gain or lose great wealth, become pawn or key player in the power games of princes, there was only one for whom she would risk everything… He was a soldier that some named traitor and others liberator — and for him whe would strive to become a Heroine of the World.

Tanith Lee Louisa the Poisoner Louisa the Poisoner — (1992) Publisher: Raised in a swamp by a mad witch, poor Louisa grew up with one goal in mind: to marry a wealthy man, then inherit his lands and money by whatever means it takes. And Louisa may well succeed, for she is a stunning beauty with the manners of an angel. At last she sets off to make her fortune… and with the help of her vial of undetectable poison, she soon finds her first victim. A dazzlingly dark fantasy, as only Tanith Lee could write it!Tanith Lee Louisa the Poisoner

Heart-Beast — (1992) Publisher: Wanted for murder, Daniel Vehmund travels the world, lured by a brilliant diamond and damned by a curse that transforms him into a beast.

Tanith Lee Louisa the Poisoner, Elephantasm Elephantasm — (1993) Publisher: Left homeless in the wake of a series of family tragedies, sixteen-year-old Annie Ember is shipped off to serve as a scullery maid on the exotic Smolte estate, where she is introduced to a dark, decadent, and perverse world.

Tanith Lee Louisa the Poisoner, Eva Fairdeath Eva Fairdeath — (1994) Publisher: Set in a future polluted world where everyone is tinged with madness, Eva sees no role for herself except to be some man’s slave. Then one day a stranger arrives with a gun, he is a seller of death, but for Eva he provides hope of escape from her degradation.

Tanith Lee Louisa the Poisoner, Elephantasm Vivia — (1995) Publisher: In medieval Eastern Europe, Vivia is claimed by a dark lord who weds her, seduces her, and makes her a vampire. Then Vivia’s mentor abandons her and she is found by Zulgaris, a handsome prince. He marries her but he cannot cure her hunger for blood. Is she doomed? And what will her pregnancy mean?

When the Lights Go Out When the Lights Go Out — (1995) Publisher: An unhappy teenager runs away from home to the seaside when she finds out that her mother is having an affair. Finding friends amongst a group of junkies and beggars and living in a rotting hotel, Hesta spends the summer there, but when winter arrives, she wonders what lies ahead for her.

book review tanith lee mortal sunsMortal Suns — (2003) Publisher: Epic in scope and thrilling in detail, Mortal Suns is set in the corridors of power in the mythical kingdom of Akhemony, which calls up the world of Ancient Greece. Acclaimed author Tanith Lee transports her readers to an ominous yet seductive alternate universe, as fully realized as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon, where fate organizes the forces of nature to bring ruin to those who dare to control it. Horrible screams pierce the night air as the Daystar, Queen Hesta of Akhemony, wrestles with the delivery of the King’s child. Heir to the throne of Oceaxis, she is beautifully formed except for one heartbreaking deformity — she is born without feet. Consigned immediately to the domain of death, the lame infant is dispatched to Thon, the underworld temple, and baptized Cemira — “snake” — the name she will bear throughout a lifetime of darkness. It is only at the behest of Urdombis, the Sun Consort, that Cemira is wrested from the temple of death, renamed Callistra, and restored to her rightful place in the kingdom. Recounting a deadly battle for power, pitting the forces of man against the supernatural, her story is one that will captivate, shock, and terrify.

Tanith Lee Indigara: Or, Jet and Otis Conquer the World, Hunting the ShadowsHunting the Shadows — (2009) Publisher: Volume two of the magical short story collection by Nebula and World Fantasy Award winner Tanith Lee, author of The Silver Metal Lover and The Birthgrave. “Gothic poetess, comic young-adult author, robust adventure-fantasy novelist: Tanith Lee has more writing personas than Sybil. But in her short fiction, all these aspects come gloriously together. Such stories as ‘Antonius Bequeathed’ or ‘The Persecution Machine,’ with their death-defying mixture of prose poetry, genre trope reversals and ominous wit, could be written by no one else.” – WEIRD TALES magazine Stories include: “The Woman in Scarlet,” “One For Sorrow,” “Unlocking the Golden Cage,” “Antonius Bequeathed,” “Doll Skulls,” “Queens in Crimson,” “Flower Water,” “The Persecution Machine,” “All the Birds of Hell,” “Vermilia.”

Tanith Lee Indigara: Or, Jet and Otis Conquer the World, Hunting the ShadowsSounds and Furies: World Horror Convention Special Edition — (2010) Publisher: Norilana Books is proud to present timeless works of dark beauty and imagination by the award-winning beloved British author Tanith Lee, via the new imprint TaLeKa, dedicated to showcasing the literary works of Tanith Lee and the art of John Kaiine. Tanith Lee is the author of 77 novels, 14 collections, and almost 300 short stories, plus 4 radio plays (broadcast by the BBC) and 2 scripts for the TV cult UK SF series Blake’s 7. Her work, which has been translated into over 17 languages, ranges through fantasy, SF, gothic, YA and children’s books, contemporary, historical and detective novels, and horror. This year she was awarded the prestigious title of Grand Master of Horror 2009. Major awards include the August Derleth Award for Death’s Master, the second book in the Flat Earth series. Sounds and Furies collects seven singular, gorgeous tales of lingering atmospheric horror from the masterful pen of Tanith Lee. These seven faces of darkness cast a wide shadow and burrow deep within… The collection includes six short stories and a full-length novella The Isle Is Full of Noises.

Tanith Lee Indigara: Or, Jet and Otis Conquer the World, Hunting the Shadows, GreyglassGreyglass — (2011) Publisher: The house… always growing, adding to itself, blooming, decaying, becoming reborn… But Susan doesn’t live in the house of Catherine, her grandmother. Instead, she grows up in a one parent family, with her mother, the glamorous and determined Anne. And Catherine, old forbidding and unkind, is only a nuisance. When Catherine dies, no one mourns. Why is it then that whenever some new problem swamps Susan’s far from calm existence, she is driven to revisit the house? As when her mother takes up with the worrying Wizz. Or years later, at the end of a deeply-felt and broken love-affair of Susan’s own. The house is always changing. As if at last it must achieve some irresistible transformation. Frankly, there is something uncanny about the house. Isn’t there.

Tanith Lee Indigara: Or, Jet and Otis Conquer the World, Hunting the Shadows, Greyglass, To IndigoTo Indigo — (2011) Publisher: Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t even look at them. The life of Roy Phipps can be summed up in a paragraph: He’s fifty, leads an uneventful, well-organised existence in the house inherited from his parents, earns a modest income writing formulaic detective novels, and remembers, sometimes, his encounters with women. Roy’s only aberration is the other novel he has been secretively also writing for years, the sprawling and florid story of the mad poet Vilmos, a study of murder, angst and alchemic magic. Then one evening Roy meets Vilmos, face to face. Of course, handsome Vilmos’s double, Joseph Traskul, is only a coincidental look-alike. But in those fatal minutes a terrible bond is formed. For Traskul is, at the very least, insane — charismatic, predatory, lawless — a sort of human demon — whose almost supernatural powers, once provoked, will prove unstoppable . As the fiery shadows close in on him, Roy soon understands that he is now fighting for his own sanity. And probably for his life.

Tanith Lee Killing Violets: Gods' DogsKilling Violets: Gods’ Dogs — (2012) Publisher: 1934… Starving to death somewhere in Europe, Anna meets Raoul.She is ready to sell herself for a meal, but he has other plans. He takes her to England, to a summer of torrential rain, and the dubious mansion of his arrogant and unsavoury relatives, the Basultes. It seems Anna is also to ‘enjoy’ the godly Basulte life. But the mounds of stodgy food, the genuflecting servants, the mindless cruelty of class, (the endless rain), affront her. Besides, she is becoming aware of the family, Raoul included, is playing with her a macabre and silly game. Anna is a survivor — she has had to be — practiced at acting out the impossible. Both the aristocratic malignities, and the Hogarthian orgies of the servants, can be accommodated, if they must. For did they but know, Anna has a past as savage and explicit as anything seen in the Basulte house.

Tanith Lee Killing Violets: Gods' Dogs, IvoriaIvoria — (2012) Publisher: Nick Lewis certainly has no liking for his TV historian brother, Laurence. Aside from anything else Nick blames him for the death of their mother, the beautiful actress Claudia Martin. And so, is it possible the off-handedly childish trick played by Nick on Laurence really does cast some kind of curse? Bizarre and unpleasant things begin to happen, without a doubt. And Nick himself is hardly immune. As the pattern of his secure yet eccentric life starts to come undone, he finds himself without remedies. Where has Laurence vanished to? What is the creepy Mr Pond’s part in it all? And who is the apparently sinister Kitty Price? Can repressed hatred cause such disruption, danger, even death? Or has the object caused it, as Nick pretended it could: that little ivory counter from a stolen drawer… This is probably not a supernatural story. It might be less unsettling if it was.

Tanith Lee Killing Violets: Gods' Dogs, Ivoria, Cruel PinkCruel Pink — (2013) Publisher: menie lives alone. Her vocation is that of a serial killer. She can read the omens and always knows exactly who is her legitimate prey. In a ruined and collapsing world, perhaps her method is the best one. Rod, though, has a dreary life, working at an unrewarding job. Without friends, but encumbered by relations, there is something uneasy hanging over him. Is it the wardrobe? How unlike Klova, young, beautiful and living on benign handouts, in a sort of Science Fantasy existence of sprints and liquid-silver… Until she meets the challenging Coal. And then there is the other one… or are there two? They also begin to assert their influence — but where do they fit? Past Historical, Presents Parallel and Everyday — Future Imperfect. Here, at the outskirts of this City they all call London, what the Hell is going on?