Follow us on
Connect
More on TechnologyTell: Gadget News | Apple News

Book review

Book review: Best British Horror 2014, edited by Johnny Mains, Salt Publishing
June 20, 2014 | 2:25 pm

New horror/dark fiction collection Best British Horror 2014, from the respected Brit independent publisher Salt Publishing, comes from the editorial desk of Scot Johnny Mains, who has rapidly garnered an impressive reputation as a horror writer, aficionado, and anthologist, as well as a publisher in his own right through his own imprint Noose & Gibbet Publishing. So the omens already look good - if dark and eldritch - for this particular anthology. And it doesn't disappoint. For one thing, it's an impressively generous anthology. At 432 pages in print, it includes 22 stories, some of them quite lengthy - but never...

Book review: Conjure House, by Gary Fry, DarkFuse
June 17, 2014 | 4:25 pm

conjure house coverI have a problem with books like Conjure House - which is a pity, because it means I'm blind to some of its outstanding merits. I have a problem with Family In Danger narratives in horror. Or with Childhood Friends Reunited stories. I have a problem with books that take the Yorkshire landscape as a setting without fully evoking its bleak Wuthering Heights magnificence. I have a problem with Chapters That End With Single Standalone Significant Sentences. Like This. That said, there is a lot to like here, as well as to be very scared of. Gary Fry seems to be working...

Book review: The Wide Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies, by John Langan, Hippocampus Press
June 15, 2014 | 12:25 pm

I'm a Scot, and cheapass as it comes, even when buying books. And as a regular reviewer, I'm usually able to obtain review copies on request, especially dark fiction and horror. But there was one recent title I felt I had to go out and buy with my own money, because it's so well regarded and so often cited by the very best writers in the genre. That's John Langan's [easyazon-link asin="B00EB04U4W" locale="us"]The Wide, Carnivorous Sky[/easyazon-link]. The collection comes with an introduction from Jeffrey Ford and an afterword by Laird Barron, two other writers Higher Than Whom It's Barely Possible To...

Book Review: Shadows and Tall Trees 2014, edited by Michael Kelly, Undertow Publications
June 10, 2014 | 4:25 pm

[easyazon-link asin="0981317731" locale="us"]Shadows & Tall Trees 2014[/easyazon-link] began life as a dark and fantastic fiction journal which rapidly developed a reputation for very high quality work from writers who were already leading names or soon moved on to become so, and later graduated into a regular anthology published by Undertow Publications. As the introductory Editor's Note says, "we've moved away from our journal format to a yearly trade paperback and eBook anthology. We've doubled our size, bringing you twice the amount of fiction." Imprint owner and editor Michael Kelly is also Series Editor for the Year's Best Weird Fiction, and...

Book review: The New Black, edited by Richard Thomas, Dark House Press
June 7, 2014 | 10:18 am

The New Black from leading indie publisher Dark House Press brings together 20 tales in the burgeoning genre of neo-noir, characterized by Dark House's materials as "a mixture of horror, crime, fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, the transgressive, and the grotesque all with a literary bent." That definitely, and accurately, describes the contents of the anthology, and Richard Thomas' s extremely detailed introduction goes about as far as anyone reasonably can in summarizing the genre's essential qualities and leading practitioners. It also comes with an evocative foreword, "Eye of the Raven," from Laird Barron, who could easily wear the neo-noir...

Book Review: Fearful Symmetries, edited by Ellen Datlow, ChiZine Publications
May 28, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Fearful SymmetriesEllen Datlow, doyenne of American horror publishing, has tried something deliberately different with her latest project, Fearful Symmetries: An Anthology of Horror. As she explains, she reached out via Kickstarter to crowdfund this particular anthology, as a test case, and to fund something that might have had a much harder time coming into being through the traditional commissioning route, even with her backing. The business of publishing is rapidly changing. It’s always been hard to sell non-themed anthologies, but in today’s publishing climate, it’s especially difficult. This project is close to my heart, which is why I’ve decided to appeal to...

Book Review: The Moon Will Look Strange, by Lynda E. Rucker, Karoshi Books
April 23, 2014 | 12:32 pm

Lynda E. Rucker's first collection The Moon Will Look Strange, from the tiny outfit of Karoshi Books, is the kind of title that makes Big Publishing look irrelevant. I mean, if the results can be this good, and achieve this relatively high level of recognition, why even bother to look elsewhere? Overreaction maybe, but I hope you get my point. Because this is a Very Good Book. Indeed. Of the eleven tales in it, three - "The Burned House", "In Death’s Other Kingdom", and "These Foolish Things" - are first-time appearances. That actually comprises a large portion of her published work to...

Book Review: Mercy and Other Stories, Rebecca Lloyd, Tartarus Press
April 21, 2014 | 2:25 pm

rebecca lloydTartarus Press should need no introduction by now, given the number of times they've now appeared on Tele Read as purveyors of fine independent fiction. Their blurb describes their recent production, Mercy and Other Stories by Rebecca Lloyd, as "tales of unease with a sprinkling of the ghostly, menacing and fantastical. The stories inhabit the fragile space between fantasy and reality, where the landscape is in constant flux and things are not quite as they seem." Rebecca Lloyd, born in New Zealand but now based in Bristol, began writing while working in Africa as a medical parasitologist and has already published one novel, Halfling,...

Book Review: Lovecraft’s Monsters, edited by Ellen Datlow, Tachyon Publications
April 20, 2014 | 1:26 pm

Ellen Datlow is a significant presence in American and international horror and dark fiction. That's about as bathetic an understatement as they come. Any new anthology owned by her is guaranteed its share of interest. Her "Also Edited" list at the start of this collection is vast. And her new volume Lovecraft's Monsters, from Tachyon Publications, finds a new theme in the creatures and creations of H.P. Lovecraft, which have inspired everything from brilliant pastiches to plush toys. (Oh, and she gave an Honorable Mention to one of my pastiches, and why ever miss an opportunity for gratuitous self-promotion? ;) ) For...

Book Review: Conqueror Womb: Lusty Tales of Shub-Niggurath, Martian Migraine Press
March 30, 2014 | 10:25 am

Lovecraftian fans of the Cthulhu Mythos will need no introduction to Shub-Niggurath - as in "Iä! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young!" Yes, that  Shub-Niggurath - a name so evocative as to have almost an entire sub-mythos woven around it, although H. P. Lovecraft only cited it in a few vague ceremonial chants, and did little to flesh it out beyond some allusions in other tales he ghost-wrote that tied it to the Magna Mater and Astarte. Given that Lovecraft's squamous, rugose imaginings are often attributed - fairly or unfairly - to sexual repression, it's...

Book review: Flowers of the Sea, by Reggie Oliver
March 27, 2014 | 12:29 pm

Reggie Oliver is proving to be one of the most prolific, as well as most consistent, of modern British dark fiction and horror writers. His latest collection from Tartarus Press, Flowers of the Sea, includes thirteen stories and two novellas, many "originally written for inclusion in specific anthologies and ... therefore, to a certain extent, composed to a brief," but this needs little apology. As the author says, "none of them, however, was 'manufactured' ... cobbled together out of sheer ingenuity and the desire to please an editor." If anything, they show more sustained quality and variety than much of his...

Review: Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner
February 28, 2014 | 6:58 pm

coverIf you type the words into Google, you’ll find that random story generator sites are everywhere on the Internet. It seems like people have discovered the randomness of computers can help them shuffle up a bunch of basic archetypes and come up with a plot outline they can write to. But there’s a set of random story generation tools out there that pre-date the Internet by most of a century—and while not as old as some people claim they are, they’re nonetheless old enough, and well-used enough, that they can make a great tool in any writer’s toolbox. I’m talking about...