Category Archives: Books

Jim Carroll’s Fear of Dreaming

Jim Carroll is probably best known for his 1978 book The Basketball Diaries, which became a feature film with Leonardo DiCaprio, released in 1995. However, he first made his reputation as a poet. He had been widely pubished in various … Continue reading

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Barry Hughart’s Bridge of Birds

Bridge of Birds is an old favorite that has been sitting in a corner gathering dust for way too long. I recently hauled it out, dusted it off, and gave it another read, and it’s still as good as it … Continue reading

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Erle Stanley Gardner’s The Count of Nine

How do you steal a six foot long blowgun from a party where all the guests are X-rayed on their way out? Believe it or not, that’s only the tertiary mystery in The Count of Nine, a twisty, sneaky thriller … Continue reading

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Elsewhere (first chapter)

Chapter 1—On the Elflands Express I knew I was in the Nevernever when I saw a wild elf through the train window. Maybe I said something. Maybe I just stared like a tourist. The armless kid in the seat across … Continue reading

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Jonathan R. Eller and William F. Touponce, Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction

Ray Bradbury has always presented a problem for the science-fiction establishment: from Judy Del Ray’s comment defining the field by invoking Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke, and noting “one could almost add Bradbury,” to his being solemnly consigned to the nether … Continue reading

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Humphrey Carter’s Benjamin Britten: A Biography

Whatever one may think of Benjamin Britten’s place in the history of music, there is no doubt that his life provides a fascinating and insightful look into the place of the artist in the twentieth century. In Humphrey Carter’s biography, … Continue reading

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Emma Bull’s Territory: A Unique Retelling of An American Legend

The gunfight at the O.K. Corral is one of those seminal historical events that every American knows about — or at least thinks they know. In the materials accompanying the ARC for Territory Emma Bull comments that there are many … Continue reading

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Jim Butcher’s Summer Knight

The White Council of Wizards is meeting in Chicago to discuss the war with the Red Court Vampires (and by extension, all the vampires). Chicago is the home of Harry Dresden, a wizard for hire who combines his wizardry with … Continue reading

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Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book

In many ways, Bod Owens is a typical little boy. He’s very inquisitive. He doesn’t like yucky food. And he wants to explore the world. In one key way, though, Bod’s a wee bit different from other kids: he’s been … Continue reading

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Kevin Hearne’s A Plague of Giants

The author of the best-selling urban fantasy series The Iron Druid Chronicles has begun a new series that promises to be, well, huge. Kevin Hearne’s new The Seven Kennings series begins with A Plague of Giants. It’s a hefty tome … Continue reading

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Mark Doty’s Sweet Machine

I don’t know if it’s possible for anyone not to be taken by Mark Doty’s poetry. Reading one or two (which I try to do with poetry, so as not to become too glib about it) is like eating one … Continue reading

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William E. Deal’s Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan

If the title sounds daunting, don’t be worried. William E. Diehl’s Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan is a well-organized and eminently usable reference to the history, arts, and customs of Japan from 1185, the beginning of … Continue reading

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Roger Zelazny and Jane Lindskold’s Donnerjack

I believe that someone has just begun a game,’ Death said as he headed across Deep Fields through a meadow of blackest grass, black poppies swaying at the passage of his cloak, ‘and, next to music, they have invoked a … Continue reading

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Recent Reading Wrap-up: Mutinies, Black Dogs, and Dreams on a Distant Ice Planet

I’ve been letting some of the books to be reviewed pile up, so this is the first of two “armload reviews,” this one focusing on indie and small press books. Camouflage by Kyell Gold is something I hadn’t really hit … Continue reading

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Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s Night Calls series

Once in a while I find out I’ve missed something important in the book world, some classic that’s been out forever that I somehow never noticed when it was first published, something that turns out to be wonderful. Then once … Continue reading

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Jennifer Stevenson’s Trash Sex Magic

Wes Unruh penned this review. “‘Giddover here,’ he said, ‘don’t you know trouble’s coming? Gummit inspectors! Lightning! The chaos of an accumulation of unmediated vital waveforms!’” – p.96 A storm’s a’brewing, the women restless, the men conflicted, and there are … Continue reading

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Basho’s On Love and Barley: Haiku of Basho ( trans. Lucien Stryker)

Basho is, to many, synonymous with haiku. He took his name from a wide-leaf banana tree, rare in Japan, given to him by a student, which stood beside the door of his hut near Edo (modern Tokyo). Basho wrote during … Continue reading

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Sean Russell’s The Initiate Brother/Gatherer of Clouds

I have a reread list of books that have impressed me one way or another over the years. One that I only recently took up again is Sean Russell’s duology, The Initiate Brother and Gatherer of Clouds, which really is … Continue reading

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George Khoury’s The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore

Rebecca Scott penned this sterling review. Who is Alan Moore? Goodness, what a question! If you read comics, then you probably already know. If you don’t read comics… well, after you’ve finished Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, go pick up Moore. … Continue reading

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Various Authors on Where Writing and Gaming Meet

My recent nonfiction reading has tended to be driven by the fact that as a writer and gamer, I’m always looking for new tools to put into my virtual toolbox. Here’s three recent reads aimed in that direction. Beating the … Continue reading

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Jimmy Santiago Baca’s Black Mesa Poems

Jimmy Santiago Baca was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1952 and abandoned by his parents when he was two years old. After living with one of his grandparents for several years, he was placed in an orphanage and … Continue reading

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Simon R. Green’s Swords of Haven

Swords of Haven is a trade paper omnibus of the first three books of the Hawk & Fisher series: Hawk & Fisher, Winner Take All, and The God Killer. (The first two novels had alternate titles in the U.K. — … Continue reading

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Simon R. Green’s Once in a Blue Moon audiobook

First, a thanks to the GraphicAudio staff for providing this for review. I’ve reviewed quite a number of their productions in the past, including several in their World of Lipi,  Ghost Finders and Rogue Angel, so I’m going to lead this review … Continue reading

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T.A. Barron’s The Great Tree of Avalon trilogy

Elizabeth Vail penned this review. T.A. Barron’s The Great Tree of Avalon trilogy is a series that begins with a wonderful potential that it can’t live up to, and contains complex themes that it eventually betrays. While it begins with an … Continue reading

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Simon R. Green’s Ghost Finders 6: Forces from Beyond audiobook

Michael, in his review of the second Ghost Finders novel, Ghost of a Smile, has the perfect introduction to the series: ‘When you have a problem with ghosts, you call the Carnacki Institute. They’ll discreetly handle everything from poltergeists to Big … Continue reading

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Michael Chabon’s Summerland

Michelle Erica Green penned this sterling review.  It’s already been established that baseball exists primarily to serve as a metaphor for the meaning of life. If you didn’t get that from Malamud’s The Natural or Kinsella’s Shoeless Joe, then surely … Continue reading

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Poul Anderson’s Ensign Flandry

Poul Anderson, who died in 2001, was one of the grand old voices of science fiction right up until his death, winning the Hugo Award seven times, the Nebula Award three times, and being named in 1997 as a Grand … Continue reading

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David Peterson’s The Art of The Mouse Guard: 2005 – 2015

Without doubt, the Mouse Guard series is one of the best illustrated graphic novel series I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience. It certainly ranks up with Bill Willingham’s Fables, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy and G. Willow Wilson’s Air for creating … Continue reading

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Audrey Isabel Taylor‘s Patricia A. McKillip and the Art of Fantasy World-Building

We’ve reviewed damn near every book that Patricia A. Mckillip has published over the many decades she’s been writing. Indeed the editing team is updating the special edition we did on her so that it can be republished this Autumn, as … Continue reading

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Toby Barlow’s Sharp Teeth

I’ve had one previous experience with fantasy in verse (well, unless one counts the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the like), and it wasn’t a happy one. Nevertheless, when Toby Barlow’s Sharp Teeth crossed my desk, I screwed my courage to … Continue reading

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Alastair Reynolds’ The Prefect audiobook

A great audiobook consists of two needed ingredients, one obviously being the story itself, the second being (also obviously) the narrator. As to the story, Reynolds is among the best writers of sf I’ve had the pleasure to encounter. The … Continue reading

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Recent Reading: Wolves, Wives, Knives, Curses, A Hospital, and a Henchgirl

The works read but yet to be reviewed are piling up, so here’s a new roundup to clear away part of the deluge. The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley is a retelling of Beowulf from the monster’s point of … Continue reading

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Jane Lindskold’s Legends Walking

Jane Lindskold has followed up Changer with Legends Walking, which opens a few weeks after Changer closes. The same characters appear, many in expanded roles, new athanor characters participate, and the story takes on added complexity as several plot lines … Continue reading

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Jane Lindskold’s Changer

Urban fanstasy is a subgenre with as many sets of criteria as there are practitioners. Ranging from the Celto-Amerindian universe of Charles de Lint’s urban Canada and Neil Gaiman’s eclectic universe of the Dreaming, with even hybrids such as Mark … Continue reading

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Jason Goodwin’s The Janissary Tree

I knew when I saw this on the new arrivals table at our local big box bookstore that I wanted to read and review it. Another murder mystery set in nineteenth-century Istanbul! Awesome! Indeed, The Janissary Tree is an impressive … Continue reading

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Orson Scott Card’s Magic Street

In his previous novels, Orson Scott Card seems to have dealt with either the (far) future or the (mythic) past. Magic Street is set squarely in the here-and-now — sort of. Baldwin Hills is a black, middle-class neighborhood in Los … Continue reading

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Jane Lindskold’s Child of a Rainless Year

Jane Lindskold is one of the more adventurous authors working in the mode of speculative fiction. From her transparent contributions to Roger Zelazny’s last two books through the contemporary urban fantasy of the athanor novels through the more-or-less “classic” fantasy … Continue reading

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Patricia A. McKillip’s Solstice Wood

It seems somewhat odd, on reflection, to realize that in a genre that so often uses magic as a metaphor and/or device, so few writers actually evoke the qualities of magic in their writing. That observation is prompted by Patricia … Continue reading

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Charles de Lint’s The Wind In His Heart

The Wind in His Heart is Charles de Lint’s first adult novel in eight years. It was worth waiting for. Usually, one tries to start a review of a book by giving a sense of the set-up, the opening situation, … Continue reading

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Elizabeth Bear’s New Amsterdam

There is no more surefire signifier of the alternate history novel than the zeppelin. One giant commercial dirigible hanging in the background is all you need to say “This world is not our world. This is a place where things … Continue reading

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Robert E. Howard’s The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard

Robert E. Howard wrote short stories during the heyday of the pulp era, mostly for Weird Tales, from 1924 until his death by suicide in 1936 at age 30. Howard wrote in various genres, but he is now best known … Continue reading

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Alan Trist and David Dodd’s The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics

I’m Uncle Sam that’s who I am / Been hidin’ out in a rock and roll band — ‘U.S. Blues’ by Robert Hunter What’s your favourite Dead song? Do you have a fair idea of what the lyrics for that song … Continue reading

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Kate Wilhelm’s Storyteller: Writing Lessons and More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop

I was prepared to like this book just because of the publisher’s name — and, of course, the fact that it is by Kate Wilhelm, one of science fiction’s legends: aside from the quality of her stories, in the 1950s … Continue reading

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Elizabeth Hand’s Wylding Hall audiobook

Liz Hand’s Wylding Hall is fucking brilliant. And it’s simply the best audiobook I’ve listened to, bar none, as her text is perfectly matched to what amounts to a full cast production in a way that’s rarely done. It is an oral … Continue reading

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Tony Magistrale, Hollywood’s Stephen King 

From back in the GMR archives, circa 2003. Edited a touch because I can’t help myself. I have been a Constant Reader of Stephen King’s work since I got my hands on a paperback copy of Salem’s Lot back in middle school. The … Continue reading

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Geoff Emerick’s Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles

Geoff Emerick is one of the unsung heroes of The Beatles’ saga. Inveterate reader of liner notes that I am, I’ve been aware of his name for some time, but it tended to blend into the amorphous blob of names … Continue reading

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Marie Brennan’s The Other Side Of The Rainbow

Subtitled “the Autobiography of the voice of Clannad,” the title doesn’t quite give the full picture. An investigation of the dust jacket reveals that the book was written with Angela Little, the editor of a Christian music magazine in the … Continue reading

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Gary Westfahl’s Hugo Gernsback and the Century of Science Fiction

Hugo Gernsback occupies a unique role in the history of science fiction, but exactly what that role is at present has generated a fair amount of controversy. He has been depicted as the visionary creator of a new genre of … Continue reading

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George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois’ Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance

Anyone who doubts the pervasive and ongoing influence of Jack Vance need only look at the table of contents to this tribute volume. Many of the contributors are legends themselves (Glen Cook, Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, Robert Silverberg); others are … Continue reading

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Dave Eggers’ The Monk of Mokha

Being half-Scandinavian on my mother’s side, I was introduced to the joys of coffee at an early age – by the time I was 5 or 6 years old, I’d say. With more than a dozen years as a coffee … Continue reading

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