From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Tag Archive for ‘book’ rss

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Master of None by Sonya Bateman

Sonya Bateman’s debut novel, Master of None, is an entertaining diversion, with likeable good guys (especially fierce getaway driver Jazz) and a very scary bad guy. From the perspective of an experienced urban fantasy fan, the novel throws few curveballs. But one of those breaking pitches is Bateman’s use of djinni as a fascinating magical race.

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Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner

Janni Lee Simner makes an impressive debut with her first novel for young adults, Bones of Faerie. With graceful prose, primal tragedy, and a rigorous avoidance of the teen angst that makes so many recent YA protagonists so insufferably self-absorbed, Simner brings her complex characters quietly, yet vividly, to life.

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Double Review: Wings of Fire/Sympathy for the Devil

Night Shade has, over the last couple of years, published several striking mostly reprint anthologies, on various fairly broad themes. Here in the summer of 2010 we see two more, one a collection of stories about the devil, the other a collection of dragon stories. Both are obviously significant Fantasy tropes, with a plethora of excellent short stories to choose from. And the editors, in each book, select some exceptional stories, a nice mix of fairly familiar work and worthy lesser known pieces.

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Wilde Stories 2010: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction edited by Steve Berman

All the stories are superior choices. And, in and of itself, Richard Bowes’s is-it-fantasy-or-is-it-mainstream novelette, “I Needs Must Part, the Policeman Said,” is worth the price of admission; and the same is true of Elizabeth Hand’s re-envisioned fairy tale, “The Far Shore.” Wilde Stories 2010 is a worthwhile volume for anyone who enjoys literary speculative fiction.

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The Weird Inhabitants of Sesqua Valley by W.H. Pugmire

Recognizing that it’s the mythology of the Cthulhu Mythos that’s the shared starting point for most readers these days, Pugmire inverts the model and uses the cosmic as a gateway to his regionally defined, deeply personal stories. Everyone in his mythical Sesqua Valley knows about Nyarlathotep and the Book of Eibon; it’s part of the standard conversation.

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Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy

In her debut novel, Song of Scarabaeus, Sara Creasy provides a scary answer to a frightening question: What if Monsanto were in charge of all biology? Creasy’s extrapolation of advanced genetic engineering as just another form of information technology is interesting and logical. She also creates sympathetic, believable characters, a fast-paced plot, and a beautiful, terrifying world in the terraforming-gone-gonzo planet of Scarabaeus.

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The Great Purple Hoo-Ha by Phillip H. Farber

This two-volume novel can be read two different ways. It can be read as a Robert Sheckley/Douglas Adams-style romp or it can be read as a Robert Anton Wilson-style novel of comic enlightenment. Farber is known for his nonfiction on occult and Neuro-linguistic Programming topics, if he keeps his hoo-ha up he might become well known for his comedic SF/F as well.

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Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn

Carrie Vaughn is known for her series of novels about Kitty Norville, werewolf and radio talk show host. She has two more Kitty novels appearing in 2010 but, happily, she is expanding her range, with a couple non-Kitty novels also scheduled. Her first Young Adult novel is Voices of Dragons, which opens what looks to be another enjoyable series.

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The Sorcerer’s House by Gene Wolfe

By Wolfe’s standards, The Sorcerer’s House is fairly simple. Told in the familiar—almost naïve—first-person prose of many recent Wolfe novels. it’s also quite absorbing, a very nice read, and for all its relative “simplicity” stuffed with puzzles and such Wolfean obsessions as twins, shapechanging, and virtue. em>The Sorcerer’s House is, in the end, an entertainment, clever and satisfying—not great Wolfe, but good Wolfe, which is recommendation enough.

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Double Review: Foiled by Jane Yolen & Mike Cavallaro / Zeus: King of the Gods by George O’Connor

Two graphic books from the First Second (:01): Foiled, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mike Cavallaro parries with plenty of well-known themes, including role-playing games, but for younger readers they are fresh and the execution is clever enough to capture the more jaded as well: a real winner. Zeus: King of the Gods by George O’Connor supplements classics such as D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths well.