Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Favorite Books Of 2011!

Another year is almost over and that means it is time for everyone's "Best Of..." lists to come out; best movies, best books, best this, best that...

I didn't want to call my own list a "Best Of..." since I've not read every book out there but these works made an impression on me and I still think that these books should be sought out by you and enjoyed, as I think that they are all well worth your time.  If some names are unfamiliar to you but my reviews pique your interest, please support these authors and check out these and their other works.  You won't be sorry!

So here we go:

Asylum and Tales From The Midnight Shift, Volume 1 by Mark Allan Gunnells
I LOVED Asylum when it first came out (see how much here) and have been a fan of Gunnells ever since.  It's an action packed zombie apocalypse novella that is both original in its take on the genre while remaining true to it.  Tales...is a great collection of short fiction from Gunnells, ably demonstrating the author's range and skill; it would be a good starting point to introduce yourself to Gunnells' work.  Again, an author to be watched.

Andrew Wolter's Much Of Madness, More Of Sin is a twisted and erotic collection by another author we should all be watching.  The collection definitely called to mind Clive Barker's classic Books Of Blood series and I am excited about the forthcoming NEW WORLD MYTHOS that the Rainbow Award-winning Wolter is preparing to set upon the world.  But before that tentacled horror is unleashed, do yourself a favor and pick up this collection!

Darkness Falling by Peter Crowther is mash up of science fiction and thriller with touches of weird throughout and I really enjoyed it.  I was immediately reminded of King's The Tommyknockers and the film The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, in the best ways possible.  It is a very good book that I do feel suffers slightly by being the first book of a duology that is now repackaged as a trilogy;  the ending is abrupt and feels a little unfinished.  A good start to a new series, however.

Matt Forbeck really hit the jackpot with Vegas Knights, an urban fantasy that had me hooked from early on.  I gushed about how awesome I think this book is and fervently hope Forbeck returns to Vegas very, very soon!

The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar; a slightly older book but was a must read this year due to my ongoing fascination with steampunk.  What can I say about this book that hasn't been said already?!  The literary references, the rollicking adventure, the steampunk awesomeness...it is an amazing accomplishment and Tidhar makes it all seem so effortless!  

From Macho To Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction ed. by Charles Rice-Gonzales, Charlie Vazquez is a beautiful collection of stories that describes the gay Latino experience.  Each of these stories tell a tale from a Latino perspective, yet we all can relate to the emotions inside.  My favorites include stories by Anthony Haro, Ben Francisco, Charlie Vazquez, Jimmie Lam...reading this book will definitely grant the reader a deeper insight into what it means to be a gay male in the Latino culture.

The Book Of Cthulhu ed. by Ross Lockhart is my first big foray into Lovecraftian/Cthulhu fiction, since up til now I'd only read a story or two.  It is a collection of mostly reprint stories that highlights the gems from the last few decades in the Cthulhu Mythos treasure chest. This weighty tome came highly recommended and I'm glad that I picked it up; for a newcomer like myself, it is a great place to start discovering the influence that Lovecraft has had on speculative fiction... 

A Study In Lavender: Queering Sherlock Holmes ed. by Joseph RG DeMarco is a great anthology that I was lucky to be introduced to by the great Steve Berman.  It opens with an intro by the editor that tackles the question of whether or not the great detective was gay, then takes off from there.  I've said before that I enjoy books or stories that take an existing idea and "remix" it into something new and fresh;  these tales do just that.  Yes, these stories look at the Holmes/Watson canon through a queer lens but they are still faithfully Sherlockian.  You will find much to delight in whether you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, a well written mystery or intelligent gay fiction...

Empire State by Adam Christopher  SHUT. THE. FRONT. DOOR.  And DAMN!  And WOW!  I am still working on the review for this but what I can say is that this debut novel from Adam Christopher totally lives up to its hype and beyond!  It is a wonder of a book, an action packed amalgam of  pulp, science fiction, mystery...I am still luxuriating in the afterglow from my time in the Christopher's world, so I don't yet have the words but if you want to pick up what may well be the best debut of 2012,  then jump onto the E-ticket ride that is Empire State and find out for yourself what all the buzz is about!

And that's all folks; my top 10 favorite reads of 2011!  I hope that I brought some attention to books you may not have otherwise heard of and that your interest is piqued and you seek them out.  2012 will find me reading more steampunk, participating in some reading challenges and offering more themed months...until then, as always, thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and let's work on those To Be Read piles!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Cover Art

First up is VIVISEPULTURE,  the new EBOOK original anthology from Anarchy Books and edited by Andy Remic & Wayne Simmons:
 and here's the press release:

Welcome to our anthology, a collection of weird and bizarre tales of twisted imagination by Neal Asher, Tony Ballantyne, Eric Brown, Richard Ford, Ian Graham, Lee Harris, Colin Harvey, Vincent Holland-Keen, James Lovegrove, Gary McMahon, Stan Nicholls, Andy Remic, Jordan Reyne, Ian Sales, Steven Savile, Wayne Simmons, Guy N. Smith, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Jeffrey Thomas, Danie Ware, Ian Watson and Ian Whates. Artwork by Vincent Chong.

The anthology is dedicated to the late Colin Harvey, with great affection.
In the tradition of Poe, Kafka, Borges and H. G. Wells, this collection of weird stories are written with the primary drive of presenting twisted deviations of normality. Whether it’s the deviant factory workers of Neal Asher’s Plastipak™ Limited, the pus-oozing anti-cherub of Ian Graham’s Rotten Cupid, the acid-snot disgorging freak of Andy Remic’s SNOT, or Ian Watson’s alternate zombie-crucifixion, each story will drag your organs up through your oesophagus and give your brain a chilli-fired beating.

C'mon..."pus-oozing anti-cherub"?!  How can you not want to read this?!  You can purchase your copy of VIVISEPULTURE here.

And from your favorite Robot Overlords and mine, new cover art for Mike Shevdon's third volume in his Courts Of The Feyre series, STRANGENESS AND CHARM.  To mark the release (set for June 2012), Angry Robot is re-issuing the whole series with matching covers by the enormously talented John Coulthart.

Here's the new look for the books:

Again, the whole series will have this gorgeous new look June 2012!  And that's not all, folks!  I've always preferred the Joey Hi-Fi cover of ZOO CITY by Lauren Beukes and now, starting in March her debut novel MOXYLAND is getting the same treatment!  Check it out:

Gorgeous, aren't they?  Happy reading!

Monday, December 12, 2011

PULP FANTASIES & FETISHES by Sergio Karedenas (Rebel Without A Pause Productions)

Here is the first look at the new photo book by award winning photographer/artist/activist Sergio Kardenas, PULP FANTASIES & FETISHES.

Sergio is selling the book here and tells me it is a 72 page collection of both color and black and white photos,some never before published.  It's also a type of love letter to his fans, including shots depicting the fetishes that many of them enjoy; Suit & Tie, Science Fiction/Superhero, Cigar/Smoking, Beefcake and "The Real Deal" spread, which includes nudes.

If one of Sergio's fetishes appeals to you, or if you just love great photography,check out PULP FANTASIES & FETISHES!  And to learn more about the artist himself, check Sergio out on Facebook and as @sergiokardenas on Twitter.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


On Episode 13 of the Angry Robot podcast, Mur Lafferty chatted with Robot Overlords Marc and Lee about EMPIRE STATE and they also announced the first of the WorldBuilder projects based on the novel; these will include: 

-a short story written by science fiction writer James Patrick Kelly
-a puppet show/toy theater created by Hugo award winner Mary Robinette Kowal
-a photography project and even a role-playing game already in the test phases!

You can listen to the entire podcast here or subscribe to it on iTunes here.

Today Anachron Press released the first volume of the City Of Hell chronicles, a new series of shared world horror anthologies.  Apart from editor Colin F Barnes, all the contributing authors are women, an element the editor thinks brings a unique angle to the mythos.  Here's the book description:

"Volume 1 is the genesis of the City of Hell mythos. This anthology of stories show how the Ant-headed God ‘The Great Maurr’ ascended to rule the Earth and enslaved the population. These are the chronicles of the last few survivors. Only three cities remain: Moscow, London and Hong Kong. All crumbling, dying versions of their former glory.

With stories by six international female authors, and one male, this first volume combines the Old evil and weirdness of H.P Lovecraft with the all out gory horror of Clive Barker.
Subjects range from madness to murder, and from desperation to primal fear. City of Hell Chronicles Volume 1 will take you on a truly disturbing ride into the grim, terrifying landscape of a near future Earth ruled by an army of giant-ants the size of men, human-centipede hybrids and bizarre mutants."
Barnes says the goal of the anthology is to do something different in the horror genre; keep the gore/ickiness factor as well as a human element.  From the early reviews, it looks like Barnes and the rest of the contributors have succeeded!

You can get your copy of the City of Hell Chronicles, Volume 1 here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Angry Robot Introduces STRANGE CHEMISTRY

This week Angry Robot had a MAJOR announcement; here is the press release from their website:

"Sometimes we have news that we want to scream and shout about, but that for various reasons we have to keep hold of. We’ve been planning a Young Adult arm of Angry Robot since the early days, but the stars needed to be in just the right alignment before we could go ahead with it. The right pieces needed to be in place. The time needed to be right. Well, that time has now come.

"We are absolutely thrilled to be able to announce the launch of our new YA imprint, Strange Chemistry.

"The imprint will launch in September 2012, with five titles appearing before the end of that year, before settling down to one book each month. Strange Chemistry will follow AR’s strategy of co-publishing its books simultaneously in the US and UK, in both eBook and paperback formats. Subject matter will include fantasy, science fiction, supernatural and horror, and as with Angry Robot the lines between those genres are likely to be very blurry at times.
"We mentioned the need to have all the right pieces in the right places, earlier. One of the pieces we needed was an editor to run the imprint. We found the perfect person in Amanda Rutter, who, until recently was best known as the tireless blogger behind genre review site, Floor-To-Ceiling-Books, and who also edited for Morrigan Books. She takes up her position in Angry Robot’s headquarters in Nottingham on December 12th.
"Angry Robot’s managing director Marc Gascoigne said: “The key to any truly successful genre imprint is the personality of its editors. In Amanda we’ve found the perfect mix of editing skills and wild, wild enthusiasm for the subject. Her first signings are already making us jump up and down in excitement. We’re beyond delighted to welcome her to the team.”
"Amanda Rutter commented, “Angry Robot have quickly become one of the most exciting and challenging genre publishers around, and I have so much admiration for the types of novels that the guys are bringing to the world of speculative fiction. I’m absolutely thrilled that I have the opportunity to join the team, and create a list full of Young Adult novels that share the same sharpness and passion as those in the AR list.”
You can find Strange Chemistry here and also follow them on Twitter @StrangeChem.
WOW!!!!  As new Marketing/Digital guy Darren Turpin says, as far as major news goes, this is Pretty Darn Big and I know I will be watching the goings on at Strange Chemistry with a great deal of interest!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Steampunk Sunday: Miscellany

Here are some tasty treats to be shared right before Halloween!

Over at deviantART, "HelleTitch" has an awesome Steampunk Disney gallery which I thought was totally fun; here are a few of my faves:
                                                                 Steampunk Princesses
                                                                 Steampunk Ursula
                                                              Steampunk Maleficent

Also, over on his blog, Mike Perschon has been pondering the intersection of horror and steampunk and provides a list of books combining steampunk with monsters here (good reading here!)

That's it for today!  Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Anniversary & PHANTASMAGORIA by Justin Monroe

Today's my blog-iversary!  Yep, today my lil' ol' blog is officially two years old and I'm very happy about that!  I'm not the most prolific blogger, or the most detailed, but I like to think that my reviews may point out books to people that maybe wouldn't have known about them otherwise.  So thank you for reading, thank you for commenting and I hope you keep checking in!  Now for a little change of pace...

A photographer I've been a big fan of for awhile is Justin Monroe.  His work is definitely Not Safe For Work, so be advised but it IS brilliant, dark and very glam, not to mention VERY sexual.  To help celebrate Halloween, he has a great photo spread on his site called PHANTASMAGORIA and here are a few of my fave takes from it:

New Cover Art & Retro STAR WARS Travel Posters

Via A Dribble of Ink, new cover art for Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig, from Angry Robot Books:

...Aiden also featured the retro "travel posters" by Justin Van Genderen and they are awesome!  I really am loving the minimalist approach he's taken with the posters:

Great, aren't they?  You can see the rest of the collection here and purchase them here.

Also, Angry Robot revealed some more cover art from the 2012 schedule; lots of eye candy here!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


At tor.com, it's Steampunk Week and here you will find great reviews and interviews, exciting sweepstakes, steampunk crafts and very informative articles; go check it out!

                     Bruno Accioly, one of the Founding Father's of the Brazilian Steampunk movement

Today Angry Robot revealed the cover art for Chris Holm's Collector books, Dead Harvest and The Wrong Goodbye.  The books will be released in March and November 2012, respectively.  I am loving the distressed look of the covers and in particular the very Dia de Los Muertos vibe of The Wrong Goodbye; thanks, Angry Robot!  Now I have even more books to add to my ever-growing TBR mountain pile!

Here's the press release from Angry Robot:

"So, how do you like these babies, Joe?

You see, the new urban fantasy series from the inimitable Chris F. Holm is a touch, shall we say, noir. OK, not so much a touch, more double-dipped, with an extra crunchy topping of NOIRRRRR. Just take a look at those titles for starters. Looks like somebody has been soaking up the Hammett and Chandler, and then twisting them for their own diabolically devious purposes.
So what’s a publisher to do? Well, what we chose to do was dive in with both feet, BLAM! You want noir, with a classic feel? Oh yeah, these new covers from Amazing15, with art direction by yours truly, reference all that’s great in mid-70s crime paperback design. Well sometimes, you know, genius just… steals. And we Robots wouldn’t have it any other way.
The first of these books featuring soul collector Sam Thornton, Dead Harvest, will be in stores in March next year, with The Wrong Goodbye following in November."

Wow, 2012 is going to be another stellar year for Angry Robot, just sayin'!

Friday, September 30, 2011


Some interesting tidbits from the interwebs:

Over at Graeme's Fantasy Book Review there is an interview with Andy Remic, the man behind Anarchy Books and author of The Clockwork Vampire Chronicles...

Adam Whitehead at The Wertzone showed new cover art for from Daniel Abraham and KJ Parker here and new cover art for the Shadow Of The Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky here.

Meanwhile, the Robot Overlords announced the addition of Darren Turpin to their ranks; starting November 7th he will report directly to publishing director Marc Gasciogne , promoting all Angry Robot titles as well as developing new digital initiatives.  Welcome aboard, Darren!

At Gav Reads, I came across a post titled Diverse Reading Recognition where Gavin Pugh talks about two projects that address the gap in acknowledging two groups of writers that aren't white straight males; SF Mistressworks, a site that is sure to become a resource dedicated to books by women SF writers and The Green Carnation Prize, a prize created to promote and celebrate the best in LGBT writing.  As Gavin says: "...hopefully these projects are just the beginning of wider awareness of the diversity of writing available as well as where publishers are missing a trick by not bringing these types of books to the masses."  Please check them out!

That's it for today, folks!  Happy reading!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: Tales From The Midnight Shift, Volume 1 by Mark Allan Gunnells (Sideshow Press)

Tales From The Midnight Shift is the first short story collection from Mark Allen Gunnells and it's a great introduction to the author.  I myself have been a fan since reading his novella Asylum, and because I enjoyed that piece so much, I was eager to see what else he could do.  The answer is a gathering of stories that range from the humorous to the horrific, making up a solid collection that is well worth the reader's time.

Gunnells opens Tales...with a bang, starting off with a short, dark tale that reminded me of early Stephen King in the way that real evil lies at the heart of a small town; in it, a young girl looking for solace instead finds terror in God Doesn't Follow You Into The Bathroom...

...in Jam, what starts off as a seemingly normal but inconvenient traffic jam turns into a quick descent into insanity as isolation and fear bring out the worst in the trapped motorists... 

Acts 19:19 Party is another great example of why Gunnells is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors of short fiction; he is wildly original!  This tale of a book burning gone deliciously awry had me laughing throughout and I joined in on the applauding at the end!

Playing Possum is a story of two men, their relationship, where it went wrong and how one of the partners decides to stop pretending everything is ok; I found the dialogue between the two lovers so authentic that I really felt for Kevin and what he was going through...

The Barter System tells of a woman contemplating a life change while on vacation; it's a surprising little nugget that shows exactly what someone is capable of when pushed to their limits...and also how one can never tell when opportunity will knock...

The Room Where No One Died  turns a tale of paranormal activity into a poignant account of abuse and its ramifications on the victim...

The Gift Certificate is a cautionary tale about stealing what's not yours...or you WILL suffer the consequences!  One of my favorites in this collection...

Christmas Getaway, one of the more outright horrific stories in the book, chronicles a father's growing paranoia as he takes leave of reality and terrorizes his family; another highlight!

Big Dog is a take on the writer-who-has-lost-his-muse tale and the desperate lengths he goes to get his mojo back; I thought the story meandered a bit and the ending came too abruptly for me...

Collector's Market  is a tasty little vignette about the extremes some publishers will go to for that one of a kind book...

Accidents Happen is another sad piece, posing the question of whether an innocent victim is haunting the protagonist...or is it his own guilt?  I can be a sucker for sad stories and this one definitely fit the bill...

 Snuff  is another nasty little nugget; I thought I had it all figured out from the start but Mark totally threw in a surprise twist and I loved it!

And my absolute favorite story in the collection, The More Things Change, is just an awesome piece of work!  It is a topical, fast paced tale of high school bullying that actually managed to give me goose bumps as the tension kept mounting but still had the emotional weight to have me sympathizing with the traumatized student and his family; brilliant!

Out Of Print  is the opposite side of the coin from Collector's Market, detailing (quite graphically; some passages made me cringe) how much fans are willing to pay for that rare find from their favorite author.  It's a quick read, written as posts on a message board for said writer, pretty gross but with a great ending.

The World's Smallest Man brings Tales...to a close with a dark fantasy that takes place at the heart of a traveling carnival; when a magician joins the troupe and strange things start happening, it is up to the carnival's smallest member to try to unmask the man and bring to light all the magician's terrible secrets.  This is the only story from Gunnells that I've read that is outright fantasy; I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope that he dips into the genre more often.

All in all, I found Tales From The Midnight Shift a pleasure to read.  There's something for everyone here and each story, no matter the genre, kept me glued to the page.  Mark Allen Gunnells is definitely an author to watch for; if this collection is any indication (and I believe it is), then he will be entertaining readers for a long time to come.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Angry Robot, Empire State & WorldBuilder

Once again the mad geniuses at Angry Robot are about to blow our minds.  Here is the press release detailng the new way that they are going to foster creative relations with the fan community, WorldBuilder:

"Sometimes, when you’ve read a great book you just don’t want the experience to end. We know that many of you are talented creators in your own right – artists, writers, musicians, puppeteers, and so many other things. This is why we designed WorldBuilder.

WorldBuilder is our way of reaching out to the fan creator communities, to invite you to come play in our yard.

We’re not new to the concept, of course. We once ran a short story competition based in the world of Moxyland by Lauren Beukes, and the best three stories were featured at the back of Lauren’s award-winning Zoo City.

WorldBuilder takes that idea and moves it forward a billion or so steps (note: might not be a billion).

In January, when we publish Adam Christopher’s uber-cool prohibition-superhero-noir novel, Empire State, we’ll be inviting fan creators everywhere to visit the world of Empire State and create their own works of art based in the Empire State universe. These creations can then be uploaded to a dedicated website, and distributed under a Creative Commons license.

The best of these will be featured in a number of “Best of” anthologies (with most of the proceeds going to the creators).

Additionally, we’re commissioning some short stories from some rather well-known writers, as well as other cool things from creators in other fields. WorldBuilder will be managed for us by the mighty Mur Lafferty.

Empire State is the perfect novel to kick off the WorldBuilder project; there are an infinite number of stories to be told within that world – private eye, superhero, gangster, fringe science, alternate realities – and an infinite number of ways these stories can be told.

The website addresses you’ll need:
EmpireState.cc(launches in January,a longside the novel) and WorldBuilderOnline.com(launches in the autumn)."

This is an brilliant idea and I can't wait to see what comes of it!  Imagine what the results will be!  I know I've been super excited since first hearing about Empire State and all the awesomeness that I know Adam Christopher has put into it and now with WorldBuilder, the experience will be even more incredible; what a treat to readers and artists alike!  Thanks, Angry Robot!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Houses of Westeros from A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE

I've never done a post on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin because a) I'm by no means an authority on the series since I'm probably one of the few people out there who haven't read it all the way through due to the long stretches between books, and b) because so many other bloggers have a multitude of posts on ASOIAF that I felt the subject was more than covered!  But I spied these beautiful posters for the Houses of Westeros on the blog A Dribble of Ink and wanted to share them.  They are by artist Tom Gateley and you have to admit, they are pretty amazing...!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"What kind of a name is 'Rad' anyway?"

So in honor of "Noir Week" over at Tor.com, there is an excerpt of Empire State, a science fiction noir by Adam Christopher, due out December 27th here in the States; check it out!

To pre-order Empire State:

US edition; trade paperback; ISBN: 978-0-85766-193-7



*Barnes & Noble

*The Book Depository


for the UK edition; trade paperback; ISBN: 978-0-85766-192-0



*The Book Depository


*WH Smith

for the ebook; ISBN: 978-0-85766-194-4

*Barnes & Noble Nook 

*Angry Robot 12 month subscription, includes Empire State

...alas, there isn't a link for Kindle yet but it is coming soon!

Keep checking this blog for more Empire State countdown!


Some sad news and interesting tidbits from the interwebs today:

First up, there is an interesting article at LibraryJournal.com called Epic Journeys that details the important differences between setting trends and chasing them...

And Daniel Polansky is definitely all over the web this week with an article of his called "Slums of the Shire" featured on The Eloquent Page , he is interviewed at The Qwillery and reviews of his novel Low Town are featured at Bookworm Blues, My Bookish Ways, Darkeva's Dark Delights and many other places.  All the reviews I've seen are more than positive and the book is on my TBR list!

At Tor.com they are offering an escape from the sweltering dog days of summer into the cool, shadowy underworld of back alleys, jazz joints, hardboiled hooligans and tough talking femme fatales with Noir Week!

And finally the SF world has experienced a great loss with the passing yesterday of Colin Harvey.  Harvey wrote Winter Song and Damage Time for Angry Robot and reviewed regularly at Strange Horizons.  An obituary is up at the Angry Robot  website, where his fellow AR authors and several others have expressed their sadness and shared their memories of this talented writer. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Cover Art from Angry Robot!

The first cover is from Matt Forbeck's upcoming Titanic themed horror novel Carpathia.  This will be out March 2012, just in time for the 100th anniversary of the "unsinkable" ship.  I like how this cover is blood stained, with the Titanic sinking in the background; pretty eerie!  I've never heard of horror being combined with this famous disaster, and since I was such a fan of Vegas Knights, I'm excited to see where Forbeck's take on the story will go...

And also revealed just this week is the brilliant new cover art for Adam Christopher's Empire State.  I've enjoyed following him on Twitter; his view on superhero fiction is awesome!  If you haven't heard already, he practically got his Angry Robot deal via Twitter alone; you can read what I mean and how he came to be an Angry Robot author here.

Here's a brief synopsis and tag line:

" The stunning noir-fantasy thriller set in the other New York!

It was the last great science hero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed the Empire State – a young, twisted parallel prohibition-era New York.

When the rift starts to close, both worlds are threatened, and both must fight for the right to exist..."

Empire State already has its own page at Angry Robot and from the early blurbs, this book just sounds all kinds of awesome, making me count the days til its US release date December 2011!!  It is also featured in the Book Cover Smackdown at SF Signal.

Adam and Empire State will also be featured in The Qwillery for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge.  To take part, you just need to sign up, buy the book when it comes out, read it, and then join the conversation over at The Qwillery; he will also be doing an interview and reader Q&A so check it out!

WOW!  It looks like Angry Robot is starting 2012 off with a BIG bang!  Again guys, I'm counting the days!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Review: Much of Madness, More of Sin by Andrew Wolter (Shadow City Press)

Much of Madness, More of Sin is the first short story collection from Andrew Wolter and what a twisted and erotic journey he takes us on!  In these tales men are driven to desperate acts and gods and devils seduce unsuspecting souls into darkest sin...

...The Feast of Bacchus is weird and erotic and sets the tone for the rest of the collection.  In it, a young man is getting ready to stop hustling on the streets but the city's celebration of the god of wine may be the wrong night for one last trick... 

...Jailed is a story of a desperate man who is given the chance to escape his own personal torture of suspecting his lover of cheating; but in confronting his fears, he may have traded one hell for another...

...If Not For Death reminded me of an old Tales From The Crypt story with its lost souls rising from the dead to extract their vengeance...

...Everlong is a short, sad love story that tells us True Love reaches from even beyond the grave and never lets go...

...Being Human is another type of love story with a dark twist that involves madness, obsession and murder...

...In the Shadow of Hades  is a story about a lonely abused girl trying to fit into the wrong circle of friends; but the girls she befriends are only playing a game with her, a game with terrible consequences...

...The Baths at the End of the Road  is a creepy tale of sex and horror and is definitely one of my favorites in this collection.  In it, the kinky scene of a bath house becomes a nightmare from hell that the protagonist has to escape from or be trapped inside the bath house forever...

...Trick Of Fate is the second story in the collection to feature a serial killer, one with a crazed personal mission that an unsuspecting young street hustler falls victim to; can another young man stop the killing and find redemption at the same time?

...Joseph's Request is an erotic story of possession that I thought perfectly blended sex and horror; another stand out!

...A Cub's Tail is about a youth with daddy issues on a daddy hunt with an ending that is as surprising as it is gruesome!  I actually said "Ooh Andrew, no you didn't!" while I was reading this!

...Much of Madness, More of Sin, the closing story is the longest and most transgressive in the collection and my favorite.  In it madness and sin culminate in a tale that made for both erotic and yet discomfiting reading.

I really enjoyed Much of Madness, More of Sin.  All the supernatural elements are properly otherworldly and seem even more horrific up against the background of the Phoenix, Arizona area that Wolter knows so well; contrasting our own familiar world with the unspeakable nightmares that he visits upon it, Wolter is able to permeate his work with a restless sense of anxiety.  The pacing is quick but I still felt I got to know the characters and cared about what was happening to them.

Much of Madness, More of Sin is a great introduction to Andrew Wolter's work and writing style.  I know he has something special planned with his upcoming New World Mythos that will delve even deeper into madness and sin, so I can't think of a better way to gear up for that tentacled horror then to loose yourself in this collection.  It would be a sin not to!

You can purchase Much of Madness, More of Sin here.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Steampunk Sunday: Dead Iron by Devon Monk (Roc)

Devon Monk's Dead Iron is a beautifully written, Wild West-slash-Steampunk adventure. I was eager to read this book because steampunk is a genre that I've been trying to read more of and Dead Iron seemed like a new, interesting spin on it.  Monk sets her story in an alternate America in the 1800s where magic and steam technology combine in a way where one never outshines the other but rather they marry, and help create a harsh, gritty world; a world where a man can be cursed by gods, love reaches even beyond death and a man who is more than what he seems brings the promise of a bright,civilized future...but at what cost?

Dead Iron is told from different characters' perspectives; for me, this added to the storytelling, allowing the tale to unfold and weave in and out of itself while drawing me into each character's narrative.  I grew to care about each of them, and every time one of my favorites came into conflict I'd cross my fingers, hoping they'd get out of their predicament unscathed.

Because we spend so much time learning about the characters and the world they inhabit, the pace is a little slow but it does pick up as the story goes along; this is the first book in the series, so some exposition is required.  And again, Monk writes so well that Dead Iron is a very satisfying read with enough fey magic and gritty adventure that fans of steampunk and urban fantasy will want to visit the Age of Steam again and again. 

Dead Iron is a great start to a brand new series and I believe Devon Monk has another winner on her hands here!  Do yourself a favor and check out it out!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Cover Art: The Great Game, No Hero and the new The Dark Knight Rises poster!

Eye candy for the week:

From Angry Robot comes the first look of the cover for Lavie Tidhar's next entry in the Bookman Histories, The Great Game:

from the website: ..."David Frankland outdoes himself with this sterling shot of alien tripod war machines attacking the Middle Eastern city of Aksum in Abyssinia.  The Great Game, the third in Lavie Tidhar's increasingly astounding steampunk series, the Bookman Histories, will be published next February."

This is gorgeous and I can't wait to see where the story goes next; based on the cover, it's going to be another grand adventure!


And here's the cover art for Jonathan Wood's new book from Nightshade Books, No Hero:

NoHero CoverPanel FINAL 662x1024

I've never read Wood before but he had me at the tentacles!


And finally, the first official teaser poster for The Dark Knight Rises!  The movie won't be out til summer 2012 but I'm loving this poster and can't wait to see the trailer that is playing before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2!

Yea boy!