Friday, May 31, 2013

Cover art - "A Terror" by Jeffrey Ford’s work on the short stories of speculative fiction has been nothing but the best so far. I believe that is one of the prime destinations for the readers in search of high quality speculative short fiction. However, its focus hasn’t been set exclusively on the published fiction, but also on the artworks accompanying the short stories. The artworks are so good that I very often found myself spending as much time on admiring the illustration as for reading the short story. Some of the best artists are at work on illustrating these stories and the latest one that caught my attention comes from John Jude Palencar and accompanies Jeffrey Ford’s story, “A Terror”. It is such a creepy artwork, but extremely effective. And as terrifying as it looks I cannot get my eyes off it. Yet again a tremendous work made by and the art department led by Irene Gallo.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Table of contents - Shimmer Magazine, Issue 17

Shimmer Magazine is one of my favorite sources of short fiction. Always pushing the limits, engaging and challenging I am thrilled every time I see another issue of Shimmer Magazine. It is true that I did not cover this wonderful magazine, together with Black Static and Shadows & Tall Trees, to the best of my possibilities and very often the reviews I wished to write for its issues were forgotten in a tangle of crazy working and personal schedule, but I do have a plan for these wonderful magazines, including the back issues. Before setting such a personal goal however, I still need to make sure that it is possible at this moment. Anyway, Shimmer Magazine is releasing its 17th issue this summer and features, coincidentally or not, 17 stories. And after publishing writers such as Aliette de Bodard, Angela Slatter, Cate Gardner, Lisa Hannett, Stephanie Campisi, Karin Tidbeck, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Amal El Mohtar, Genevieve Valentine, A.C. Wise, Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Lavie Tidhar, just to name some of my favorites, Shimmer Magazine brings in the latest issue new stories from the already mentioned Alex Dally MacFarlane, A.C. Wise, Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Lavie Tidhar, but also from Damien Walters Grintalis, whose stories I read so far were very interesting, including her novel “Ink”. It looks like Shimmer Magazine will make the upcoming summer even more pleasant.

“The Mostly True Story of Assman & Foxy” by Katherine Sparrow
“How Bunny Came to Be” by A.C. Wise
“The Moon Bears” by Sarah Brooks
“Sincerely, Your Psychic” by Helena Bell
“Out They Come” by Alex Dally MacFarlane
“Love in the Time of Vivisection” by Sunny Moraine
“Fishing” by Lavie Tidhar
“98 Ianthe” by Robert N. Lee
“Stealing My Sister’s Boyfriend” by Jordan Taylor
“The Metaphor of the Lakes” by Yarrow Paisley
“Romeo and Meatbox” by Alex Wilson
“Like Feather, Like Bone” by Kristi DeMeester
“Girl, With Coin” by Damien Walters Grintalis
“River, Dreaming” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
“The Fairy Godmother” by Kim Neville
“We Were Never Alone in Space” by Carmen Maria Machado
“The Herdsman of the Dead” by Ada Hoffman

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Table of contents - "Terror Tales of London" edited by Paul Finch

There is no shortage of terror tales in the United Kingdom and once again the facts and fiction are blend together under Paul Finch’s guidance for a new anthology of such stories published by Gray Friar Press. After the mountains of Lake District, the green fields of the Cotswolds and the flatland of East Anglia were explored and brought forth eerie entities, demented clowns, drowned brides, flesh-eating fiends, demon dancers, vengeful spirits, vile apparitions, faceless evils and killer hounds among other horrors, it is time for London to reveal its chilling tales. Like the first three anthologies in the series of “Terror Tales” edited by Paul Finch and released by Gray Friar Press “Terror Tales of London” mixes alleged true horror tales with terrifying fiction, all focused on a particular region or district, in this case the urban district of London. I love this series of anthologies, not only for the quality of the fiction published in the collections, but also for concentrating on a certain region of the United Kingdom and using it as inspiration for the stories published while featuring some true incidents and local legends at the same time. I would not mind to see more such anthologies in the “Terror Tales” series, with more regions and legends explored across the United Kingdom and why not beyond its borders too.

The city of London - whose gold-paved streets are lost in choking fog and echo to the trundling of plague-carts, whose twisting back alleys ring to cries of "Murder!", whose awful tower is stained with the blood of princes and paupers alike.

The night stalker of Hammersmith
The brutal butchery of Holborn
The depraved spirit of Sydenham
The fallen angel of Dalston
The murder den of Notting Hill
The haunted sewer of Bermondsey
The red-eyed ghoul of Highgate

And many more chilling tales from Adam Nevill, Mark Morris, Christopher Fowler, Nina Allan, Nicholas Royle, and other award-winning masters and mistresses of the macabre.

“The Tiger” by Nina Allan
London After Midnight
“The Soldier” by Roger Johnson
Queen Rat
“Train, Night” by Nicholas Royle
The Horror at Berkeley Square
“The Angels of London” by Adam Nevill
Boudicca’s Bane
“Capital Growth” by Gary Fry
The Black Dog of Newgate
“The Thames” by Rosalie Parker
The Other Murderers
“The Red Door” by Mark Morris
The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
“Undesirable Residence” by Barbara Roden
Nosferatu in Highgate
“The Horror Writer” by Jonathan Oliver
Butchery in Bleeding-Heart Yard
“Perry in Seraglio” by Christopher Fowler
The Monster of Hammersmith
“Someone to Watch Over You” by Marie O’Regan
The Black Death Returns
“The Outcast Dead” by David J. Howe
What Stirs Below?
“The Bloody Tower” by Anna Taborska

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cover art - China Miéville, David Brin & Isaac Asimov (Romanian edition)

Born last year, Paladin Publishing House, the new Romanian imprint specialized in science fiction and fantasy, is already hard at work. With 5 titles published since it was founded, Isaac Asimov’s “Pebble in the Sky”, Arthur C. Clarke’s “The City and the Stars”, Robert Holdstock’s “Mythago Wood”, Lois McMaster Bujold’s “Shards of Honor” and Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”, two due to be released in the immediate future, China Miéville’s “King Rat” and David Brin’s “The Postman”, and a second edition of Isaac Asimov’s “Pebble in the Sky”, Paladin proves to be a publishing house to watch closely on the Romanian market. True to its word, the imprint brought authors never translated in Romanian, new books of some of the writers published here before and new editions with fresh translation for the titles released here at a certain time. Not only that, but Paladin also came on the market giving full attention to the books as a product as well. And one of the reasons for the quality of their products is the beautiful artworks used for the covers of the books released under their umbrella. It is a domain where the Romanian market suffers greatly, but not because of Paladin. With the exception of the first volume, Isaac Asimov’s “Pebble in the Sky”, the imprint has put a lot of effort behind their book covers. And this can easily be seen too on the titles due to be released soon. China Miéville’s “King Rat” comes with a cover by Edward Miller, David Brin’s “The Postman” with one by Josh Adamski and the second Paladin edition of Isaac Asimov’s “Pebble in the Sky” with a cover by Maciej Garbacz. Three new examples that with enough interest the book covers of the Romanian editions can look good. I can only salute such efforts and hope that the future would bring us more such wonderful artworks on the covers of the books we see in the Romanian bookshops.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Table of contents - "Rogues" edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

Rogues. The good stories would lose some of their shining without a good villain. And in some of the cases there is a certain appeal to these scoundrels, charlatans and rascals, something that makes a mark on the reader and offers them a place in the hall of memorable characters.  Well, some new such characters might be cherished by the readers from another anthology edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, “Rogues”. It is the third anthology put together by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois this year after “Dangerous Women” due to be released by Tor Books on December 3rd and “Old Mars” due to be released by Bantam Spectra on October 8th. Like “Dangerous Women”, “Rogues” is a cross-genre anthology featuring SF, mystery, historical fiction, epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, crime and mainstream stories. And once again, the line-up of authors is mighty impressive, with each writer appearing on the table of contents a reason to read this collection. “Rogues” will be published by Bantam Spectra, probably in 2014, but there is no precise publication date yet.

“Everybody Loves a Rogue” (Introduction) by George R.R. Martin
“Tough Times All Over” by Joe Abercrombie
“What Do You Do?” by Gillian Flynn
“The Inn of the Seven Blessings” by Matthew Hughes
“Bent Twig” by Joe R. Lansdale
“Tawny Petticoats” by Michael Swanwick
“Provenance” by David Ball
“The Roaring Twenties” by Carrie Vaughn
“A Year and a Day in Old Theradane” by Scott Lynch
“Bad Brass” by Bradley Denton
“Heavy Metal” by Cherie Priest
“The Meaning of Love” by Daniel Abraham
“A Better Way to Die” by Paul Cornell
“Ill Seen in Tyre” by Steven Saylor
“A Cargo of Ivories” by Garth Nix
“Diamonds From Tequila” by Walter Jon Williams
“The Caravan to Nowhere” by Phyllis Eisenstein
“The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives” by Lisa Tuttle
“How the Marquis Got His Coat Back” by Neil Gaiman
“Now Showing” by Connie Willis
“The Lightning Tree” by Patrick Rothfuss

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

2 new novellas by Cate Gardner, "The Bureau of Them" due to be released, "In the Broken Birdcage of Kathleen Fair" already available

If I talked about Carole Lanham and her new upcoming novella, “Cleopatra’s Needle”, it is only fair to mention another emerging writer full of wonderful talent who captured my attention and her new novella. This writer is Cate Gardner and her latest release is “In the Broken Birdcage of Kathleen Fair”. I stumbled upon Cate Gardner’s fiction for the first time on Mark S. Deniz’s anthology “Dead Souls” and since then I enjoyed her stories whenever I got the chance. And there were quite a few such occasions, as it can easily be seen on the bibliography page at the author’s website. I also had the pleasure to read and add to my collection of books Cate Gardner’s excellent collection of short stories “Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits and other curious things”, the chapbook “Nowhere Hall” and the two novellas “Barbed Wire Hearts” and “Theatre of Curious Acts”. Of course, I dream of reading a novel written by Cate Gardner, but until my desire would become reality I am delighted to see more of her fiction being published or due to be released. It is true that “The Bureau of Them” is only published by Spectral Press in 2015, but “In the Broken Birdcage of Kathleen Fair” is already available through The Alchemy Press as an eBook. The Kindle format is available on Amazon, while for the ePub version you can contact the publisher (details here).

When the mirror released Kathleen into the unknown, for the briefest of moments she giggled and realised that she’d never laughed before. She had been a blank canvas, sitting and waiting in a room and occasionally bouncing from wall to wall desperate for freedom - and now she was out. White walls no longer surrounded her. In this new place, a thousand mirrors spun reflecting worlds.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

2012 Aurealis Awards

The past Saturday at The Independence Theatre in North Sydney the winners of 2012 Aurealis Awards have been announced.

“Brotherband: The Hunters” by John Flanagan (Random House Australia)

“Little Elephants” by Graeme Base (Viking Penguin)

“The Wisdom of the Ants” by Thoraiya Dyer (Clarkesworld Magazine, December 2012)

“Dead, Actually” by Kaz Delaney (Allen & Unwin)
“Sea Hearts” by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)

“Blue” by Pat Grant (Top Shelf Comix)

“That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote” by K. J. Bishop (self-published)

“The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Six” edited by Jonathan Strahan (Night Shade Books)

“Sky” by Kaaron Warren (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Perfections” by Kirstyn McDermott (Xoum)

“Bajazzle” by Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Sea Hearts” by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)

“Significant Dust” by Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press)

“The Rook” by Daniel O’Malley (Harper Collins)

Kate Eltham

Laura Goodin

Congratulations to all the winners!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Soon a return to the regular posting

The past couple of weeks have been a bit demanding at work and I was left without much space for posting. The developed project enters in its final phase and although that means a business trip for the rest of this week I believe I would be able to return to a more steady posting rhythm next week. I hope to see you again from next Monday on a more regular basis.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Video presentation + Book Launch - "NOS4R2" by Joe Hill

The family ties between Stephen King and Joe Hill lost their importance a long time ago and hold no relevance what so ever when it comes to the fiction written by Joe Hill. It is just a biographical detail and nothing more. It cannot be otherwise since Joe Hill is a very powerful writer, talented and brimming with imagination, and he proved that with the short stories collection “20th Century Ghosts”, the novels “Heart-Shaped Box” and “Horns” and the graphic novels “Locke & Key”, “The Cape” and “Road Rage”. Last month a new novel signed by Joe Hill was released in the US by William Morrow as “NOS4A2” and in the UK by Gollancz as “NOS4R2”. “NOS4R2” is one of my most anticipated novels of 2013 and I am little jealous on those who will be able to attend a book launch such as the one that will take place in Edinburgh on May, 31st. Especially when a signed copy could be involved.

Don't miss the opportunity to see horror writer Joe Hill at The Pleasance Theatre for the only Scottish launch of Joe Hill's new book NOS4R2.
He will be taking part in a Q&A (hosted by Jim Mcleod, the editor of Ginger Nuts of Horror) as well as taking questions from the audience. Joe will also be reading an extract from his new book and signing for fans. For those who can't make it we are taking pre-paid orders for signed copies.
Joe Hill is the author of novels Heart-Shaped Box, Horns and 20th Century Ghosts which were all well received by horror fiction fans. Horns is currently being made into a movie starting Daniel Radcliffe and his graphic novels The Cape, Road Rage and the award-winning Locke & Key have had fans enthralled. NOS4R2 has now secured Hill's place as top of his generation in the world of horror and supernatural fiction.
The event takes place on Friday 31st May 2013 at 6:30pm at the Pleasance Theatre.

Summer. Massachusetts.
An old Silver Wraith with a frightening history. A story about one serial killer and his lingering, unfinished business.
Anyone could be next.
We're going to Christmasland...

NOS4R2 is an old-fashioned horror novel in the best sense. Claustrophobic, gripping and terrifying, this is a story that will have you on the edge of your seat while you read, and leaving the lights on while you sleep. Will your soul be safe? With this horrific tale of Charles Manx and his Silver Wraith will you enjoy Christmas ever again?

Booking is essential.
Tickets are £5 and are available from the front desk at Blackwell's on South Bridge or by telephone for credit card purchases on 0131 622 8218.
For more information or if you would like a signed copy please contact
Ellie Wixon on 0131 622 8229

I would have loved to take part on this event, but for the time being this is extremely difficult to achieve. Well, to lift my spirit I will feature this video presentation of “NOS4R2” made by Joe Hill himself.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

2012 Shirley Jackson Awards nominees

One of the awards I enjoy following each year is the Shirley Jackson Awards. Ever since I discovered these awards I found its lists of nominees always fresh and provocative and every year the awards celebrate some of the most original titles I’ve got the chance to read. This year seems no different. With such interesting titles on the lists of nominees I am looking forward to see who the winners would be when they’ll be announce on 14th July at the Shirley Jackson Awards ceremony held at Readercon 24, Conference of Imaginative Literature, in Burlington, Massachusetts.

“The Drowning Girl” by Caitlín R. Kiernan (ROC)
“The Devil in Silver” by Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau)
“Edge” by Koji Suzuki (Vertical, Inc.)
“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn (Crown Publishers)
“Immobility” by Brian Evenson (Tor)

“28 Teeth of Rage” by Ennis Drake (Omnium Gatherum Media)
“Delphine Dodd” by S.P. Miskowski (Omnium Gatherum Media)
“I'm Not Sam” by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee (Sinister Grin Press/Cemetery Dance Publications)
“The Indifference Engine” by Project Itoh (Haikasoru/VIZ Media LLC)
“Sky” by Kaaron Warren (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)

“The Crying Child” by Bruce McAllister (originally “The Bleeding Child”, Cemetery Dance #68)
“The House on Ashley Avenue” by Ian Rogers (Every House is Haunted, ChiZine Publications)
“Reeling for the Empire” by Karen Russell (Tin House, Winter 2012)
“Wild Acre” by Nathan Ballingrud (Visions, Fading Fast, Pendragon Press)
“The Wish Head” by Jeffrey Ford (Crackpot Palace, William Morrow)

“Bajazzle” by Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press)
“How We Escaped Our Certain Fate” by Dan Chaon (21st Century Dead, St. Martin's)
“Little America” by Dan Chaon (Shadow Show: All New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, William Morrow)
“The Magician's Apprentice” by Tamsyn Muir (Weird Tales #359)
“A Natural History of Autumn” by Jeffrey Ford (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July/August 2012)
“Two Houses” by Kelly Link (Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, William Morrow)

“Crackpot Palace” by Jeffrey Ford (William Morrow)
“Errantry” by Elizabeth Hand (Small Beer Press)
“The Pottawatomie Giant and Other Stories” by Andy Duncan (PS Publishing)
“Remember Why You Fear Me” by Robert Shearman (ChiZine Publications)
“The Woman Who Married a Cloud” by Jonathan Carroll (Subterranean Press)
“Windeye” by Brian Evenson (Coffee House Press)

“21st Century Dead” edited by Christopher Golden (St. Martin’s)
“Black Wings II” edited by S. T. Joshi (PS Publishing)
“Exotic Gothic 4: Postscripts #28/29” edited by Danel Olson (PS Publishing)
“Night Shadows” edited by Greg Herren and J. M. Redmann (Bold Strokes Books)
“Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury” edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle (William Morrow)

Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"Cleopatra's Needle", a new novella by Carole Lanham published this year

After the debut collection of short stories, “The Whisper Jar”, Carole Lanham has her first novel, “The Reading Lessons”, coming out this month from Immortal Ink Publishing. However, more good news are coming from Carole Lanham with the announced release of a new novella. Morrigan Books, the publisher of her debut collection “The Whisper Jar”, will publish this year Carole Lanham’s novella “Cleopatra’s Needle”, first in e-book format, followed by a paperback edition and a special hardback with extra artwork. There is no information yet on the release date or who the artist drawing the cover and the extra artwork of the hardback edition will be, only that “Cleopatra’s Needle” is a story of Welsh superstition, love, murder and tempting red-haired witches. Until we find out more and Carole Lanham’s novella is published Morrigan Books gives us a taste of “Cleopatra’s Needle” with a small excerpt – which I took the liberty to reproduce here – and offers the chance to one lucky winner to receive a personalized, signed copy of the hardback edition when it is released. To enter the competition you can leave a comment on the announcement post or at the Witch Awareness Month Facebook page entry.

15 April 1896
We’re taking turns doing it. Every afternoon, we sit in the wash house and try our hand at calling him with our minds. Practice is vital, according to Bethan. Well, it goes without saying, she got her turn first. Sure enough, five minutes later, he appeared at the door, broom in hand, smiling sheepishly. Most of the time, he acts grumpy about that time we tied him to the chair but when Bethan called him, he behaved as though all was forgiven. ‘Do you want another kiss?’ Bethan asked. ‘Yes please,’ he said then shook his head, as if to clear it, and scurried away. We laughed to see him so rattled. 
When it was my turn, I pictured him kissing me like he did that day in the kitchen.  I remembered the feel of his lips on mine and how hard he was breathing when he opened his mouth. It took longer for me to summon him and when he finally came, he looked hesitant. I closed my eyes and thought of what I’d most like him to do. Boy leaned forward and ran his tongue slowly along the seam of my lips. ‘M-mm,’ he said. Then he ran away.
Bethan pronounced it a failure because I wasn’t able to hold him there, but I don’t care. He didn’t put his tongue on her. Gwendraith made him touch her breast yesterday before he ran off but that only made her giggle. It wasn’t good like when he kissed me.