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.
Cabinet of Wonders: Aliens, Ghosts & Skypeople
short fiction reviews by Lauren Colie
Aliens, ghosts and skypeople — all the otherworldy beings are coming out to play in this Cabinet. We’ve got reminders about how love hurts, how your past will never leave you alone and, well, how the way to anyone’s heart truly is their stomach. Digest some delightful strange in this week’s shorter fare.
A Review of Lacrimosa, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Nightmare Magazine
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.