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Posts tagged genre fiction

A conversation with Jeff VanderMeer, on writers’ roles and modern publishing
August 22, 2014 | 10:25 am

IMG_20140820_152413At the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014, I was lucky to be able to catch up with Jeff VanderMeer, multiple award-winning and hugely productive speculative fiction and fantasy writer, editor and anthologist, whose latest literary outing is the Southern Reach trilogy. These are a few excerpts from our conversation, with more to follow. TeleRead: Do you think that modern speculative writers tend towards a Victorian level of industriousness? Jeff VanderMeer: When I started out I just had this idea in my head that a writer did all these things. It didn't become a strategy until later: it was just that I was writing,...

Book review: Love Is the Law, by Nick Mamatas, Dark Horse Books
August 16, 2014 | 12:25 pm

Author, teacher of writing, anthologist, jokester, sometime radical, father-of-adorable-infant and allround nihilistic kid Nick Mamatas has written across genres and voices with wit, zip, and flair through "six and a half novels" and a slew of shorter works. He was even partly responsible for bringing Edge of Tomorrow to our screens by adapting the Japanese original of the story, All You Need Is Kill, into graphic novel form. Love Is the Law is his foray into something like neo-noir or crime fiction, but definitely with a genre-spinning twist that loops in occultism and some urban fantasy as well as far-left...

Book review: The Spectral Book of Horror Stories, edited by Mark Morris, Spectral Press
August 10, 2014 | 12:25 pm

UK imprint Spectral Press, "a British Fantasy Award-nominated small independent imprint publisher," has hitherto been known for "very limited edition signed and numbered single story chapbooks," as well as occasional themed anthologies such as "an annual Christmas Ghost Story anthology." They made something of a departure, though, with "the very first volume of what is hoped to be an annual publication, The Spectral Book of Horror Stories," and with good reason. In an introduction that harks back to the great Fontana and Pan series of UK horror anthologies of the 1960s and 70s, Mark Morris explains that his ambition "is for The...

Book review: Beside the Seaside, edited by Scott Harrison, Snowbooks
July 27, 2014 | 2:23 pm

Well who'd a thought it: An almost local tourism-level themed anthology confined to a short stretch of English coastline that turns out to be a surprisingly good collection of modern British horror and dark fiction. Of course, it helps if the stretch of coastline you have to deal with is the Yorkshire coast immortalized by Bram Stoker as the landfall of Count Dracula, where the ruins of Whitby Abbey and Scarborough Castle still lour down from the clifftops. Or if you have contributors like Johnny Mains, himself editor of the superb Best British Horror 2014. (His "The Girl on the Suicide...

Want to know how to talk to aliens? Start here
July 11, 2014 | 6:14 pm

One of the more interesting free new ebooks to come my way in recent weeks arrived today in the shape of a multi-format multi-contributor offering from NASA entitled: Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication. Edited by Douglas A. Vakoch, this volume brings perspectives from the soft sciences and  humanities to the issue of communicating with alien intelligences - should E.T. ever decide to place a collect call. According to the NASA blurb: Addressing a field that has been dominated by astronomers, physicists, engineers, and computer scientists, the contributors to this collection raise questions that may have been overlooked by physical scientists about the...

Book review: Nameless, by Mercedes M. Yardley, Ragnarok Publications
July 9, 2014 | 4:25 pm

The very wonderful and much anthologized Mercedes Murdock Yardley raises beautiful children, rides two-wheeled vehicles that would send staider traffic fleeing from most public highways, and writes fabulous horror and supernatural stories and dark fiction. [easyazon-link asin="B00HWLX6RO" locale="us"]Nameless: The Darkness Comes[/easyazon-link] is her first full-length novel, as well as the first volume of The Bone Angel Trilogy. So, dear reader, I guess you've already guessed that this is going to be a positive review. Damn right it is. Luna Masterson, biker-esque chick heroine of the tale, has been seeing demons since she has small. (Why she has been seeing them is one of the...

Book review: North American Lake Monsters, by Nathan Ballingrud, Small Beer Press
July 2, 2014 | 2:30 pm

Nathan Ballingrud's North American Lake Monsters, from the feisty independent Small Beer Press, has quietly established itself as one of the high points in the new resurgence of American horror and dark fiction, the kind of book that other writers in the genre benchmark themselves against. The nine stories in this collection range from Lovecraftian through vampire and werewolf stories to far less classifiable creations, like those in "The Monsters of Heaven" (winner of the inaugural Shirley Jackson Award for Best Short Story) or the title story itself, which is available online in full here, courtesy of Weird Fiction Review....

Book review: Dark Entries, by Robert Aickman, Faber & Faber
June 28, 2014 | 12:55 pm

As noted previously, Faber & Faber is re-releasing some of Robert Aickman's short story collections for the centenary of his birth, and Dark Entries is one of the four volumes, and the one that has been unavailable from Faber up until now. Faber sent me the ebook copy on his centenary day, and I read (almost) all of it the same evening, which was not only timely, but also a good chance to come fresh to work by this hitherto hard-to-come-by (as well as guarded and deliberately mysterious) writer. And it gives you an idea of the kind of spell...

Robert Aickman centenary day: Publishers and followers gear up
June 27, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Robert AickmanJune 27th marks the exact centenary of the birth in 1914 of Robert Fordyce Aickman, who has been acclaimed, as many TeleRead readers will know by now, has been acclaimed as the best British writer of ghost and horror stories since M.R. James. Both publishers and enthusiasts are preparing their commemorations and celebrations in memory of this subtle, highly elusive, and often disturbing author. Pride of place for the centenary, naturally enough, goes to the new republications of Aickman's work, including the "four new editions in B format" of previously published story collections and reissue of his "extremely rare novels The...

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: 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...