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Fiction

The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder

The plot synopsis may sound rather strange, but rest assured: it doesn’t begin to capture the wild delights of The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack. Debut novelist Mark Hodder outrageously reinvents both Victorian England and pulp fiction in the guise of a complicated time-travel novel. The narrative’s darkly fun tone becomes decidedly unfun when the increasingly deranged time traveler attempts serial rape. Which brings us to the female characters: unreconstructed victims and helpmeets who barely partake in the revisionist-pulp action.

Fiction

Moonshine by Alaya Johnson

Urban fantasy is busting out of its contemporary settings, and Alaya Johnson’s cleverly titled novel, Moonshine, is set in a time and place—Jazz Age Manhattan—that seems especially well suited to nocturnal paranormal adventures. Johnson makes the most of the re-imagined era with her thoughtfully developed alternate history, and adorns it with period details that reach considerably beyond the Charleston and the bob. She also doesn’t shy away from the era’s less-than-enlightened views on gender, race, class, and immigration.

Fiction

The Flower Garden Of The Woman Who Could Conjure

Oh, indeed those long winter days were very dreary. But at last spring came, with warm sunshine. “Kay is dead and gone,” said little Gerda.

Fiction

Whisper’s Voice

The whispers fly home at dusk, rushing to the castle. They flow through windows and holes in the ceiling and the spaces between collapsed walls, eager to share what they’ve learned since their last gathering.

Fiction

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.

Fiction

Saving the Gleeful Horse

I am Molimus. I live under the bridge where the day-boats go from wet and wooden Bracklow to the foot of the sweeping stone stair going up the hill to Firmitas and the military school.

Fiction

The City of Lobster, or, The Dancers on Anchorage St.

It is said that, of five hundred and fifty-five ways to cook a lobster, only two hundred and twenty-five are still known in the city. Older chefs lament the days of their great-grandparents, when more ways were remembered. No one knows why this loss took place.

Fiction

Bearing Fruit

Once upon a time—we might as well put it that way, why not?—you are bathing, innocently enough, in the bend of the river closest to your home, when bobbing along with the current, out of apparent nowhere, comes the smoothest, ripest, most glowingly golden mango anyone has ever seen.

Fiction

A Stray

Jim was spraying black paint on the last of the windows when he saw the cat emerge from the hedge of arbor vitae at the back of the yard—an unusual tortoiseshell cat with a wild mix of reds, blacks, and browns in its fur. All the confusing colors distracted for a moment from the fact that the cat’s head was missing.

Fiction

Tenientes

Since the night she died, she’s been called beautiful five thousand, two hundred and seven times by five thousand, two hundred and seven different tenientes. Each one has his own, peculiar stiffness as he clings to her, as his veneer of restraint chars and peels back like pages in a burning book.