Wicked Wonders, by Ellen Klages
“We had not planned for children,” Mission Control’s message ended. “We’re sorry.” With an Introduction by Karen Joy Fowler, author Ellen Klages takes so-called hard Science Fiction, clasps its rigid hand, and leads it into fantastical narratives haunted by childhood summer camps, science projects, a Mars settlement, a corrupt 20-year-old Smithfield ham (that’s not product […]
The Endless Fall and Other Weird Fictions, by Jeffrey Thomas
Falling Towards the Weird Jeffrey Thomas will be familiar to many readers as the author of the Punktown series of stories – scratch that, Jeffrey Thomas is famous among weird and science fiction readers, RPG players, and even comic book fans, as author of the Punktown chronicles of bizarre alien, and occasionally cosmic-horrific, goings-on at […]
Entropy in Bloom, by Jeremy Robert Johnson
We’re not Post-Apocalyptic, we’re Post-Yesterday.It’s tempting and easy to compare writers, but this habit often is unfair to both object and subject. Example: thematically, and stylistically, the work of Jeremy Robert Johnson can be compared to that of John Shirley, Chuck Palahniuk (who lauds Johnson as “a dazzling writer”), or even Harlan Ellison. Since no […]
Bone Swans, by C. S. E. Cooney
C.S.E. Cooney respins familiar fairytale yarns with a masterly hand, and has built up an impressive record during her writing career…. weaving complicated narratives and taking her time to portray a world, its customs and its inhabitants in detail.
Other Places, by Karen Heuler
Heuler weaves the familiar and unfamiliar together; even within the discomfort of an unfamiliar space, you’ll find reassurance in traits that are universally human. Heuler effortlessly captures the tension between the self and the other in ways that are fresh, engaging and (occasionally) amusing and challenge the assumptions we make about physical spaces.
Cassilda’s Song: Tales Inspired by Robert W. Chambers’ King in Yellow Mythos, edited by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
(the) King in Yellow cycle/co-Mythos created by Lovecraft precursor Robert W. Chambers (…) has also risen in popularity in the wake of the Lovecraft boom, and now Chaosium has revisited it with Cassilda’s Song, “a collection of weird fiction and horror stories based on the King in Yellow Mythos created by Robert W. Chambers—entirely authored by women.”
Sylvan Dread, by Richard Gavin
Gavin’s collection throbs with the panikon deima, the fear of the god Pan that gave us panic in the first place, and gave German theologian Rudolf Otto his concept of numinous dread that Gavin cites at the beginning of “Primeval Wood,” the terror of the Wholly Other, the mysterium tremendum also evoked by Laird Barron, another modern dark fiction writer very engaged with the most frightful aspects of nature. The great god moves in some very mysterious ways throughout this book, his horrors to perform.
Horthólary, by Michael Reynier
Horthólary is the second collection of historical, fantastical adventures of Professor Summanus Horthólary, French savant and sometime occult investigator, from his student years under Louis XV to his old age in Napoleonic France.
Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 2, edited by Kathe Koja & Michael Kelly
Weird Gets Noir
This is the second in an annual series that’s fast becoming, on the strength of this showing, a gold standard in contemporary weird fiction. No surprise, given the pedigree of Undertow Publications and series editor Michael Kelly. Each volume is collated by a different guest editor, and this time it’s Kathe Koja. “Part of the excitement comes from comparing and contrasting each year’s volume,” says Kelly in his Foreword. I don’t know what I expected from a volume curated by Kathe Koja, but what we get is notably raw and jolting. Often right from the opening line. “He didn’t even know he was dead. I had just shot this guy in the head and he’s still standing there giving me shit,” begins Nathan Ballingrud’s blistering N’awlins occult noir, “The Atlas of Hell,” which opens and pretty much sets the tone for the whole volume.
Biblia Longcrofta, by Simon Marshall-Jones
review by Paul St. John Mackintosh
A Stranger in a Strange Town
Simon Marshall-Jones is the editor/publisher at notable independent UK publishing house Spectral Press, and also, on the strength of this, his first story collection, a pretty fine weird fiction writer. Biblia Longcrofta is a sequence of separate but connected tales, almost all set in, and concerning, the fabulous (yet strangely mundane) city of Longcroft, whose four Quarters have the names – and climates – of the four seasons, and whose suburban houses transform into ziggurats. The narrator and main protagonist Simeon arrives by train, for reasons that only become clear much later, and soon settles into an ordinary apartment and an ordinary library job – in a realm where the extraordinary is only a block away.