Thumbs up for Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson. Literary history.
The publisher Quirk Books’s jawdropping and funny reference to vintage horror novels, Paperbacks from Hell, was one of my favorite books of 2017. When I saw they were publishing a history of women horror writers I got very excited.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Horror.
Even I, who like long sentences, will admit that Henry James sometimes goes overboard. Nevertheless, his style perfectly fits the narrator’s state of mind. And there’s just nothing creepier than perfect children. Genuinely eerie and highly recommended.
But it was a comfort that there could be no uneasiness in a connection with anything so beatific as the radiant image of my little girl, the vision of whose angelic beauty had probably more than anything else to do with the restlessness that, before morning, made me several times rise and wander about my room to take in the whole picture and prospect; to watch, from my open window, the faint summer dawn, to look at such portions of the rest of the house as I could catch, and to listen, while, in the fading dusk, the first birds began to twitter, for the possible recurrence of a sound or two, less natural and not without, but within, that I had fancied I heard.
… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin. Horror.
I don’t read horror, generally, but I came across a copy of this with the coolest cover and…I’m shallow. Also, I am rather fond of the name “Rosemary” as it’s the name of one of my heroines. And maybe there’s something in the name, because I can fully believe that my Rosemary, if laid up during pregnancy, would also (as does R.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Paperbacks from Hell: the Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix. Literary history.
When I requested an advance reader’s copy of this from the publisher, my expectations were low. It might have been a boring catalog of authors and publishers. Or it might have centered around mocking old horror paperback cover art, while being light on historical detail.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Necromancer’s House by Christopher Buehlman. Horror/fantasy.
This is a messy book, but messy in a pleasing way: if magic were real, you can believe it would be this. A magician and his apprentice, who met in Alcoholics Anonymous. (They love each other, but she’s a lesbian; awkward.) The magician has a boobytrapped house, a bunch of Russian spell books, a wicker butler with the heart of a collie and the head of a Salvador Dali painting, and a very good reason to have a boobytrapped house.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Children’s fantasy/horror.
It was…fine. I think I would have liked it more had I been reading it aloud to small children. But then, I would have to get close to small children…so I’ll pass.
Coraline knew that when grown-ups told you something wouldn’t hurt it almost always did. She shook her head.
… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Shadow Show: Stories In Celebration of Ray Bradbury by Neil Gaiman et al. Fantasy/graphic novel.
You would expect a collection of graphic stories in tribute to Ray Bradbury to be diverse, poetic, weird, and sometimes horrific. You would be so right. You would think that, being a collection, some of the pieces would be great and some would be pretty ho-hum.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Selected Stories by Fritz Leiber. Science fiction and fantasy.
When I was about fourteen and gave my dad a few paragraphs of the fantasy novel I was writing, he gave me what I now know to be one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received: “Your writing reminds me of Fritz Leiber.” This was, of course, a kind lie, and one which moreover went unappreciated because at the time I had never read Fritz Leiber.… >> Read more