A Review of the Short Stories of Kelly Link

Nobody writes cooler stories than Kelly Link. Link’s stories draw from fairy tales, myth, pop culture, experimental, horror, gothic, and detective fiction, the tabloids, dreams, nightmares, and half a dozen other things. But this is not merely pulp fiction—wham, bam, thrill and chill. Link uses the tools of pulp fiction to deal with literary concerns: […]

A Review of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke

Jane Austen Dreams of Harry Potter and Writes 1000+ pages. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was Time Magazine #1 Book of the Year, Winner of the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award, as well as making about a dozen top fiction lists in 2004, the year it came out. In short, it is one […]

A Review of The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier

The Illumination is a literary novel with only one fantastic element, but it’s a doozy: one day, inexplicably, the bodily pain of each and every human being on earth begins to manifest as a white light. Everything from a headache to leukemia shines out of the body like a beacon for all to see. The […]

A Review of Freaks' Amour, by Tom De Haven

Mutants on the Outside, Looking In Hardcore. That’s the word that comes to mind. But not just because Freaks’ Amour refers to a XXX rated show where Normals go to watch mutant men rape their wives and girlfriends (and for a finale the Normals pelt them with rotten fruit). The sex scenes are not particularly […]

A Review of Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, by Genevieve Valentine

This novel, which received a Nebula nomination for Best Novel, takes place in a post-war landscape. The particulars are left vague: we know that there were bombs and radiation, followed by smaller wars for control, and the creation of city-states. Outside of these, borders have become fluid, and life brutal. To stay out of trouble, […]

A Review of The Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

An Alien Anthropologist Visits Planet Earth I’ve read quite a few of Vonnegut’s novels now, and I’ve decided he is, in fact, an alien observer of a strange and dangerous race: humans. Vonnegut’s stories show us our every shortcoming without rancor. Like a good anthropologist, he’s neither angry nor particularly compassionate. He doesn’t make excuses […]

A Review of Illyria, by Elizabeth Hand

An Elegant Explosion of Repressed Creativity and Desire This is beautifully written, Romantic (in the 18th century sense, not the Danielle Steele sense) novella about soul mates, forbidden love, and being a magical child in a family that’s lost its mojo. It’s also about talent, both the kind that emerges full-blown and the kind that […]

A Review of Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes

A Noir Detective Pagan Cyberpunk Novel Zoo City is a ghetto in Johannesburg, populated by outcasts. Each person there is marked by the wild animal that appears just after they kill someone (intentionally or not). Animal and human become extensions of one another, and any “Zoo” unfortunate enough to lose her animal gets a visit […]

A Review of What I Didn't See and Other Stories, by Karen Joy Fowler

Exploring the Historical Fantastic What I Didn’t See and Other Stories[/amazon_image]Karen Joy Fowler is one of the writers who, to me, exemplify the literary fantastic. Her stories crack the shell of history, looking for strange and beautiful pearls. The fantastical elements always seem entirely probable, if mysterious, and serve to deepen our understanding of the […]

A Review of Briar Rose by Robert Coover

He is surprised to discover how easy it is. The branches part like thighs, the silky petals caress his cheeks. His drawn sword is stained, not with blood, but with dew and pollen. Yet another inflated legend. He has undertaken this great adventure, not for the supposed reward—what is another lonely bedridden princess?—but in order […]