Friday, May 30, 2014

Table of contents - "The Best British Horror 2014" edited by Johnny Mains

I never believed in fiction genres, I always thought that a book is good because of its merits and not because it is crafted within certain boundaries. Coming from someone reading lately in a low range of so called genres this statement might sound a bit too brave and hypocritical, but I had times when I explored far and wide across literature. And given just a bit more free time I would do it again. One label I am terribly frustrated with it is horror. To a certain point I understand the publishers’ tendency to categorize literature, I even understand the readers’ tendency to follow these categories to a limit, but lately I’ve noticed an injustice done to horror literature just because it is labeled in such a way. In the past several years I’ve read some wonderful pieces of fiction that stepped way over the simple boundaries imposed by the horror label. Psychological, unsettling because it leaves the reader deeply on thought, not because it tries to shock the audience by any means, and emotional visceral I am certain that these books were ignored by some just because they’re labeled as horror. It is a shame in my opinion, because most of them deserve as wider an audience as possible. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not continue my hypocritical line and attempt to categorize fiction myself, but it seems an injustice to put together such titles with the more gory and violent ones. Like I’ve already said, each one of them deserves consideration for what it is and not for the shallow description set by an identification marker. We can start an entire debate based on my opinion, but it is not what I am trying to do here. Instead, I wish to highlight a title featuring some of the authors, labeled as horror writers, who enriched my reading experience recently. And since British horror (again genre classification) seems to be living a new era of glory, with so many talented writers pushing the limits of the genre, it was only right for a yearly best to be born. “The Best British Horror 2014” is the first anthology, hopefully of many, showcasing the new genre stories coming from the United Kingdom. Edited by Johnny Mains and released by Salt Publishing “The Best British Horror” gathers in its first volume authors who already proved the weakness of a simple label for this entire genre. Ramsey Campbell, Adam Nevill, Gary Fry, John Llewellyn Probert, Stephen Volk, Reggie Oliver or Michael Marshall Smith brought their contribution in the great progress of the genre, while Thana Niveau, Anna Taborska, V.H. Leslie or Robert Shearman come with their own additions to its development. That’s just to name some of those who make a presence on “The Best British Horror 2014” since there are several others very talented writers who wait for a chance to be published in the next British best horror volumes. And once again, I do hope that such chances would arise in the form of many other “The Best British Horror” collections for the years to come and so readers could track powerful stories on yearly basis.

“When Charlie Sleeps” by Laura Mauro (Black Static, Issue 37)
“Exploding Raphaelesque Heads” by Ian Hunter (The Tenth Black Book of Horror, ed. Charles Black, Mortbury Press)
“The Bloody Tower” by Anna Taborska (Terror Tales of London, ed. Paul Finch, Gray Friar Press)
“Behind the Doors” by Ramsey Campbell (Holes for Faces, Dark Regions Press)
“The Secondary Host” by John Llewellyn Probert (Exotic Gothic Volume 5, Part 2, ed. Danel Olson, PS Publishing)
“The Garscube Creative Writing Group” by Muriel Gray (The Burning Circus, ed. Johnny Mains, British Fantasy Society)
“Biofeedback” by Gary Fry (Shades of Nothingness, PS Publishing)
“Doll Hands” by Adam Nevill (The Burning Circus, ed. Johnny Mains, British Fantasy Society)
“Guinea Pig Girl” by Thana Niveau (The Tenth Black Book of Horror, ed. Charles Black, Mortbury Press)
“Touch Me With Your Cold, Hard Fingers” by Elizabeth Stott (Nightjar Press)
“Dad Dancing” by Kate Farrell (The Tenth Black Book of Horror, ed. Charles Black, Mortbury Press)
“The Arse-Licker” by Stephen Volk (Anatomy of Death, Hersham Horror Books)
“Doll Re Me” by Tanith Lee (Nightmare Magazine, May 2013)
“Laudate Dominum (For Many Voices)” by D.P. Watt (Shadows & Tall Trees, Issue 5)
“Someone to Watch Over You” by Marie O'Regan (Terror Tales of London, ed. Paul Finch, Gray Friar Press)
“Namesake” by V.H. Leslie (Black Static, Issue 31)
“Come Into My Parlour” by Reggie Oliver (Dark World: Ghost Stories, ed. Timothy Parker Russell, Tartarus Press)
“The Red Door” by Mark Morris (Terror Tales of London, ed. Paul Finch, Gray Friar Press)
“Author of the Death” by Michael Marshall Smith (Everything You Need, Earthling Publications)
“The Magician Kelso Dennet” by Stephen Volk(Terror Tales of Seaside, ed. Paul Finch, Gray Friar Press)
“That Tiny Flutter of the Heart I Used to Call Love” by Robert Shearman (Psycho-mania!, ed. Stephen Jones, Constable & Robinson)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Free fiction - FableCroft Publishing's titles nominated for this year's Ditmar Awards

Following the opportunity offered by Ticonderoga Publications to experience their Ditmar Awards nominated titles today we can have a taste of more such works shortlisted for this prestigious award. This time FableCroft Publishing offers to our consideration samples of its nominated titles, the short stories “Mah-Song” by Joanne Anderson, from the author’s collection “The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories”, and “Cold White Daughter” by Tansy Rayner Roberts, from the anthology “One Small Step” edited by Tehani Wessely, together with an excerpt from the novel “Ink Black Magic” by the same Tansy Rayner Roberts. You can find each of them with a downloading link on FableCroft Publishing’s website.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Free fiction - Ticonderoga Publications' stories nominated for this year's Ditmar Awards

Ticonderoga Publications, the publisher that delighted us with titles such as Kaaron Warren’s “Dead Sea Fruit”, Angela Slatter’s “The Girl with No Hands”, Lisa L. Hannett’s “Bluegrass Symphony”, Felicity Dowker’s “Bread and Circuses”, Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter’s “Midnight and Moonshine”, Cat Sparks’ “The Bride Price” or “The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror” collections, is celebrating its nominated stories for this year’s Ditmar Awards by offering for a short time a chance to enjoy these tales for free. So, if you wish to read Cat Sparks“Scarp”, Juliet Marillier’s “Prickle Moon” and “By Bone-Light” and Kim Wilkins“The Year of Ancient Ghosts”, you can find them available for download in PDF format at Ticonderoga Publications’ website.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Short movie - The Silent City, directed by Ruairí Robinson

I do believe in love at first sight, I was convinced by its existence the first time I lay my eyes on the “Mad Max” movies. It was the beginning of an unconditional affection for the post-apocalyptic genre, since then books, movies and games with such a scenario at their core became a necessity and delight for me (with the exception of the zombie sub-genre, but that is another discussion). As it is “The Silent City”, this little admirable movie by Ruairí Robinson.

The Silent City (2006)
Directed by Ruairí Robinson
Written by Ruairí Robinson
Starring: Don Wycherley, Garvan McGrath, Cillian Murphy

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Free reading - Finnish Weird

There is a rich and wide world of fiction waiting to be discovered and one of the recently mined veins on the English market comes from Northern Europe. The Swedish John Ajvide Lindqvist and Karin Tidbeck, the Icelandic Snorri Kristjansson or the Finnish Hannu Rajaniemi and Leena Krohn are some of the names popping into mind at a first call, while titles such as “Let the Right One In”, “Jagannath” or Desirina Boskovich’s anthology of Finnish speculative fiction, “It Came from the North”, gave the readers the opportunity to explore Northern Europe’s genre fiction. Another chance to dig within this abundant vein of speculative fiction is offered now through “Finnish Weird”, a free publication dedicated, as the title clearly states, to the Finnish weird fiction. There are plenty to be found in “Finnish Weird”, an introduction by Johanna Sinisalo, a description of the Finnish weird by Jussi K. Niemelä, a presentation of the writers Emmi Itäranta, Tiina Raevaara and Jenny Kangasvuo and two short stories, “Gordon’s Story” by Tiina Raevaara and “Flow My Tears, Fall from Your Springs!” by Jenny Kangasvuo. So, if you want to whet your appetite for Finnish weird fiction you can head over to the publication’s website and download a copy of it in either PDF or Epub format.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Vladimir Colin Awards nominees, 6th edition

The Romanian book market offers quite a struggle for the local speculative fiction. Still, although speculative fiction still moves on wobbling feet at least the signs are encouraging. It is true that we seem to fall short in recognizing our speculative fiction writers and editors at a professional level, but I do hope that this situation would change in the future. And if each of us starts to bring our little contribution, be that in form of buying, reading or acknowledging our authors’ works, that future might be very close. One way to recognize the new published work or to discover them, since the promotion level is quite low in this domain, is with the help of awards. It is also true that if speculative fiction puts quite a fight the Romanian genre awards are in need of more work. It is difficult to speak of an established Romanian genre award, some drift from time to time while others lack the desired consistency. There is also the question of endless debates surrounding such endeavors; nothing wrong with the constructive ones, but when these conversations become warzones or constant bickering none has anything to gain from it. An example of such an award is Vladimir Colin. Although at its 6th edition the Vladimir Colin Awards is not celebrated yearly, as it can be seen from the list of nominees of this 6th edition, the titles on the shortlists were published during the last three years. But as I said, each small step can do a world of good for the local speculative fiction and can help reach a certain state of normality, so I can only salute the existence of this new edition of the Vladimir Colin Awards. Hopefully, the years to come would offer us more published books and writers in order to have the opportunity to properly honor Romanian speculative fiction. Therefore, without further ado, here are this year’s nominees for the Vladimir Colin Awards. This year’s jury for the Vladimir Colin Awards is formed by Cornel Robu (president), George Ceaușu, Lucian-Vasile Szabo, Sebastian A. Corn and Cătălin Badea-Gheracostea and the winners will be announced on 11th – 12th July in a ceremony held in Bucharest.


“Curtezana onestă şi astrologul” (The Honest Courtesan and the Astrologer) by Voicu Bugariu (Eagle, 2011)

DemNet” (DemNet) by Dan Doboș (MediaTech, 2011)

Insula pescăruşilor” (Seagulls’ Island) by Mircea Liviu Goga (Eagle, 2011)

Călătorie în Capricia” (Journey to Capricia) by Mircea Opriţă (Eagle, 2011)

Anul terminal” (The Final Year) by Florin Pîtea (Audiosfera, 2012)


Cronici de la capătul Pământului” (Chronicles from the End of the Earth) by Costi Gurgu (Millennium, 2011)

“Floarea de loldilal” (The Loldilal Flower) by Ana-Veronica Mircea (Nemira, 2012)

“A doua venire” (The Second Coming) by Marian Truţă (Nemira, 2013)

“Efectul de nautil” (The Nautilus Effect) by Ioana Vișan (Millennium, 2013)


“Cerneală şi sânge” (Ink and Blood) by Ştefana Czeller (Millennium, 2011)

“Ozz” (Ozz) by Ştefana Czeller (Tracus Arte, 2013)

“Vânzoleli nocturne”(Nocturnal Fidgeting) by Liviu Radu (Millennium, 2012)

“Armata moliilor” (The Moth Army) by Liviu Radu (Nemira, 2012)

“Taxidermie” (Taxidermy) by Narcia Stoica (Millennium, 2012)


“Anotimpurile” (The Seasons) by Bogdan-Tudor Bucheru (Millennium, 2011)

“Acluofobia” (Achluophobia) by A.R. Deleanu (Herg Benet, 2013)

“Golem, golem” (Golem, Golem) by Liviu Radu (Nemira, 2013)


“Tolkien cel veşnic verde” (The Forever Green Tolkien) by Györfy-Deák György (self-published, 2013)

“…nici Torquemada” (…neither Torquemada) by Michael Haulică (Millennium, 2011)

“Eseuri” (Essays) by Victor Martin (Autograf MJM, 2013)

“Identitatea literaturii science fiction” (The Identity of Science Fiction Literature) by Mircea Naidin (Millnnium, 2013)

FRONTIER TEXTS (new category covering sub-genre and experimental titles of the Romanian speculative fiction):

“…și la sfîrșit a mai rămas coșmarul” (…and at the end the nightmare remained) by Oliviu Crâznic (Vremea, 2011)

“Îmblânzitorul apelor” (The Tamer of Waters) by A.R. Deleanu (Casa de Pariuri Literare, 2012)

“Transfer” (Transfer) by Michael Haulică (Millennium, 2012)

“Transparenţi şi Semiconductori”, în “Călătorii în timp” (“Transparent and Semiconductor” from the collection “Time Travels”) by Cristian-Mihail Teodorescu (Nemira, 2013)

Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees!

Friday, May 9, 2014

2013 Shirley Jackson Awards nominees

I guess that every award, more or less, can stir debate and controversy, but since those tend most of the times to be subjective I try to stay away from them as much as possible. It doesn’t mean that I claim full objectivity, far from me this thought, but I aim to channel my time and energy toward the awards that broaden and influence my reading habit and did that over time in a satisfactory manner. The Shirley Jackson Awards are one of such prizes I respect the most. In its 7 years of existence I discovered a series of wonderful books with the help of the Shirley Jackson Awards while at the same time I was delighted to see some of the books I enjoyed winning in a certain edition. It is no different this year, I found a couple of titles in this year’s list of nominees that escaped my attention so far and a few others that I would love to see lifting this trophy. If they do remains to be seen on July, 13th when the winners of the 2013 Shirley Jackson Awards are announced in a ceremony held during Readercon 25 in Burlington, Massachusetts.

“The Accursed” by Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco)
“American Elsewhere” by Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit)
“The Demonologist” by Andrew Pyper (Orion-UK/ Simon & Schuster-US)
“The Ghost Bride” by Yangsze Choo (William Morrow)
“Night Film” by Marisha Pessl (Random House)
“Wild Fell” by Michael Rowe (ChiZine Publications)

“Burning Girls” by Veronica Schanoes (
“Children of No One” by Nicole Cushing (DarkFuse)
“Helen’s Story” by Rosanne Rabinowitz (PS Publishing)
“It Sustains” by Mark Morris (Earthling Publications)
“The Gateway” by Nina Allan (Stardust, PS Publishing)
“The Last Revelation of Gla’aki” by Ramsey Campbell (PS Publishing)
“Whom the Gods Would Destroy” by Brian Hodge (DarkFuse)

“Cry Murder! In a Small Voice” by Greer Gilman (Small Beer Press)
“A Little of the Night” by Tanith Lee (Clockwork Phoenix 4, Mythic Delirium Books)
“My Heart is Either Broken” by Megan Abbott (Dangerous Women, Tor Books)
“Phosphorus” by Veronica Schanoes (Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy, Tor Books)
“Raptors” by Conrad Williams (Subterranean Press Magazine, Winter 2013)

“57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides” by Sam J. Miller (Nightmare Magazine, December 2013)
“Furnace” by Livia Llewellyn (Grimscribe’s Puppets, Miskatonic River Press)
“The Memory Book” by Maureen McHugh (Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy, Tor Books)
“The Statue in the Garden” by Paul Park (Exotic Gothic 5, PS Publishing)
“That Tiny Flutter of the Heart” by Robert Shearman (Psycho-Mania!, Constable & Robinson)
“The Traditional” by Maria Dahvana Headley (Lightspeed, May 2013)

“Before and Afterlives” by Christopher Barzak (Lethe Press)
“Everything You Need” by Michael Marshall Smith (Earthling Publications)
“In Search of and Others” by Will Ludwigsen (Lethe Press)
“North American Lake Monsters” by Nathan Ballingrud (Small Beer Press)
“The Story Until Now” by Kit Reed (Wesleyan)

“The Book of the Dead” edited by Jared Shurin (Jurassic London)
“End of the Road” edited by Jonathan Oliver (Solaris)
“Grimscribe’s Puppets” edited by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. (Miskatonic River Press)
“Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy” edited by Ellen Datlow (Tor Books)
“Where thy Dark Eye Glances: Queering Edgar Allan Poe” edited by Steve Berman (Lethe Press)

Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

2014 Locus Awards nominees

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation has revealed the nominees for the 2014 Locus Awards. The winners will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend that takes place in Seattle, WA, between June 27th and 29th.

Science Fiction Novel:
“MaddAddam” by Margaret Atwood (McClelland & Stewart; Bloomsbury; Talese)
“Abaddon’s Gate” by James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
“The Best of All Possible Worlds” by Karen Lord (Del Rey; Jo Fletcher UK)
“Shaman” by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
“Neptune’s Brood” by Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK)

Fantasy novel:
“The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
“NOS4A2” by Joe Hill (Morrow; Gollancz as NOS4R2)
“River of Stars” by Guy Gavriel Kay (Roc; Viking Canada; HarperCollins UK)
“Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King (Scribner; Hodder & Stoughton)
“The Republic of Thieves” by Scott Lynch (Del Rey; Gollancz)

Young Adult Book:
“Zombie Baseball Beatdown” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown)
“The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” by Holly Black (Little, Brown; Indigo)
“Homeland” by Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen; Titan)
“The Summer Prince” by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine)
“The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two” by Catherynne M. Valente (Feiwel and Friends)

First novel:
“The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic” by Emily Croy Barker (Dorman)
“The Golden City” by J. Kathleen Cheney (Roc)
“Ancillary Justice” by Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
“A Stranger in Olondria” by Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
“The Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker (Harper)

“Wakulla Springs” by Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages ( 10/2/13)
“Black Helicopters” by Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean)
“The Princess and the Queen” by George R.R. Martin (Dangerous Women)
“Precious Mental” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s 6/13)
“Six-Gun Snow White” by Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)

“The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling” by Ted Chiang (Subterranean Fall ’13)
“The Waiting Stars” by Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky)
“A Terror” by Jeffrey Ford ( 7/24/13)
“The Sleeper and the Spindle” by Neil Gaiman (Rags and Bones)
“The Prayer of Ninety Cats” by Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean Spring ’13)

Short story:
“Some Desperado” by Joe Abercrombie (Dangerous Women)
“The Science of Herself” by Karen Joy Fowler (The Science of Herself)
“The Road of Needles” by Caitlín R. Kiernan (Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales)
“A Brief History of the Trans-Pacific Tunnel” by Ken Liu (F&SF 1-2/13)
“The Dead Sea-Bottom Scrolls” by Howard Waldrop (Old Mars)

“Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells” edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling (Tor)
“The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection” edited by Gardner Dozois (St. Martin’s Griffin; Robinson:The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 26)
“Unnatural Creatures” edited by Neil Gaiman & Maria Dahvana Headley (Harper; Bloomsbury)
“Old Mars” edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois (Bantam)
“The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Seven” edited by Jonathan Strahan (Night Shade)

“The Best of Joe Haldeman” by Joe Haldeman (Subterranean)
“The Ape’s Wife and Other Stories” by Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean)
“Kabu Kabu” by Nnedi Okorafor (Prime)
“The Bread We Eat in Dreams” by Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)
“The Best of Connie Willis” by Connie Willis (Del Rey)


Angry Robot
Small Beer

John Joseph Adams
Ellen Datlow
Gardner Dozois
Jonathan Strahan
Ann & Jeff VanderMeer

Bob Eggleton
John Picacio
Shaun Tan
Charles Vess
Michael Whelan

“Here Be Dragons: Exploring Fantasy Maps and Settings” by Stefan Ekman (Wesleyan)
“Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler” edited by Rebecca J. Holden & Nisi Shawl (Aqueduct)
“The Man From Mars: Ray Palmer’s Amazing Pulp Journey” by Fred Nadis (Tarcher)
“Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction” by Jeff VanderMeer (Abrams Image)
“Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture” by Ytasha L. Womack (Lawrence Hill)

Art Book:
“Hannes Bok, Hannes Bok: A Life in Illustration” edited by Joseph Wrzos (Centipede)
“Margaret Brundage, The Alluring Art of Margaret Brundage” edited by Stephen D. Korshak & J. David Spurlock (Vanguard)
“Spectrum 20: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art” edited by Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner (Underwood)
“Maurice Sendak, Maurice Sendak: A Celebration of the Artist and His Work” edited by Justin G. Schiller, Dennis M.V. David & Leonard S. Marcus (Abrams)
“Rules of Summer” by Shaun Tan (Hachette Australia; Hodder Children’s; Levine ’14)

Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees!