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Posts tagged book review

Book review: The Last Weekend, by Nick Mamatas, PS Publishing
January 22, 2015 | 6:25 pm

Not quite your everyday run-of-the-mill zombie apocalypse, you could say. Yes, it's another rigid, stiff, slow-moving essay in that genre, shambling and groaning its way into your to-read pile. And what a surprise that this sub-genre has grown so fast, proliferating like - well, a zombie plague. Okay, enough of the cheap demi-humor. And no, I didn't really mean any of those crude, brainless, groaning cracks. Nick Mamatas has written - sometimes brilliantly - in many other branches of horror and dark fiction, and this is his stab - or baseball bat bash, or scattergun blast, or drillbit whirl - at...

Book Review: Discoverability by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
January 17, 2015 | 10:47 am

discoverability by Kristine Kathryn RuschThere are lots of books out there about how to market your book. Some of them are good. Some aren't. [easyazon-link asin="1561466190" locale="us"]Discoverability[/easyazon-link] is one of the best I've read, and I appreciate it because it looks at writing as a business, not as a way to game a system to make sales quickly. Since one of my day jobs is as a business coach, that appeals to me. This book started as a series of blog posts, and the posts are still available. I read them last year and was excited to see she's expanded on them and updated them for...

Review: The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley
January 16, 2015 | 4:25 pm

the smartest kids in the world[easyazon-link asin="1451654421" locale="us"]The Smartest Kids in the World[/easyazon-link] is my first almost-five-star read of the year! This engaging and well-written book follows three American teenagers who, as part of Ripley's research into the best education systems in the world, go on year-long exchanges to three of the 'top' countries. The narratives of Tom in Poland, Kim in Finland and Eric in South Korea frame Ripley's thoughts on what makes a good teacher or school, the importance (or not) of standardized testing, and what really is the most vital component of a good education. I was impressed by the breadth of research Ripley...

Book review: Orpheus on the Underground and Other Stories, by Rhys Hughes, Tartarus Press
January 12, 2015 | 6:32 pm

Tartarus Press, as some Teleread readers at least will know by now, is doing a sterling job of producing a really fine series of contemporary and classic British (and other) dark, weird, strange, and horror fiction, with some excellent and unbelievably cheap ebooks to accompany their high-quality print editions. Latest addition to their list is Orpheus on the Underground, by Welsh author Rhys Hughes, who received a lot of extremely approving recognition for his 1995 Tartarus volume Worming the Harpy and Other Bitter Pills. British writers very often major in whimsy - a sort of literary corollary to that famous well-bred English...

Book review: Inkblots and Blood Spots, by Michael Bailey, Villipede Publications
December 23, 2014 | 8:25 pm

Michael Bailey's Inkblots and Blood Spots is the second collection of shorter work from this versatile, hugely talented, and very influential dark/weird fiction writer and editor. It sweeps a very wide field, from pure psychological - and body - horror through weird tales to (approximately) straight science fiction and cosmic horror, all with a sprinkling of equally dark and unsettling poems. At the very least, it's not a collection that shies away from testing the boundaries of its genre - if indeed it is delimited to any single genre at all. Michael Bailey's first novel, Palindrome Hannah, owed its title as...

Book review: The Loney, by Andrew Michael Hurley, Tartarus Press
December 4, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Tartarus Press is becoming one of the most diverse as well as the most accomplished and fastidious independent UK presses devoted to horror and dark fiction, and The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley is absolutely off their ordinary beat and all the more striking for it. Instead of the society and theatrical pieces of Reggie Oliver, or the decadent horrors of Mark Samuels, we have the grim, bleak realm of poor man's English Roman Catholicism, and a chilling coastal setting in the remote Lancastrian preserve of the title - "a dangerous place. A wild and useless lenght of English coastline. A dead...

Book review: Blood Will Have Its Season, by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Hippocampus Press
November 29, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Joseph S. Pulver Sr. is one of the leading authors and editors in the modern dark/weird fiction genre constellation, and Blood Will Have Its Season was his first collection of short fiction. It instantly put the author on the map with its resonant title and its daring and experimental fusion of Surrealism and Expressionism with pulp and hard-boiled influences, as well as heady whiffs of Symbolist and Decadent prose and, of course, the cosmic horror of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert W. Chambers. It even has a foreword by S.T. Joshi, doyen of Lovecraftian studies. Renowned horror editor Ellen Datlow made eight out of...

Book review: Cold Hand in Mine: Strange Stories, by Robert Aickman, Faber and Faber
November 18, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Robert_Aickman_7Regular TeleRead readers will probably have tumbled by now to the recent series of Faber and Faber reprints and recompilations of stories by the brilliant, enigmatic, and influential British writer of strange stories, Robert Fordyce Aickman. Cold Hand in Mine is probably the jewel of the series, as well as perhaps the best single-volume introduction to the writer's work. Originally republished in the Faber Finds series, these eight stories from the middle period of Aickman's career, selected by him, showcase some of his most diverse and imaginative productions, including "Pages from a Young Girl's Journal," which won the World Fantasy Award with...

Book Review: Brothers in Crime by KM Rockwood
October 22, 2014 | 2:25 pm

brothers in crimeThe fun part about going to writer's conference is that you meet lots of writers and get opportunities for review copies, especially if you let folks know you review books. KM Rockwood is a delightful person, and I was happy to accept a review copy of her latest book, [easyazon-link asin="B00K2L77XU" locale="us"]Brothers in Crime[/easyazon-link]. When she asked me if I wanted the first in the series or a later book, I opted for the latest book, to see if book would stand alone as well as she said it would. The good news is that it does. However, this is an odd...

Book review: The Book of the Dead, edited by Jared Shurin, Jurassic London
October 6, 2014 | 2:25 pm

After the endless, shambling horde of faceless zombie horror anthologies, The Book of the Dead presents stories centred on a rather more ancient and dignified genus of animated corpse: the Mummy. It also comes with a sort of official endorsement from the actual tradition of Egyptology, being "published in collaboration with the Egypt Exploration Society, the UK's oldest independent funder of archaeological fieldwork and research in Egypt," and introduced by John J. Johnston, Vice Chair of the Society. The selection doesn't rest on its premises, and the 19 stories range far wider than simply animated-bundle-of-bandages tales. If anything, the keynote of the anthology is variety...

Book review: The Children of Old Leech, edited by Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele, Word Horde
July 30, 2014 | 12:25 pm

This is both a superb collection of dark tales and a testament to the highly developed, involved, and even self-referential status of the new new wave of American horror and weird fiction. For it is a tribute anthology from some of the best writers in the field in honor of one of their most esteemed peers, Laird Barron, who is still very much alive and barely into his fourth volume. The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron might stand in grave danger of being an incestuous lovefest. Is it? Anything but. Who is the man...

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...

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