Monday, August 03, 2020
Monday, July 20, 2020
Michael J. DeLuca, Night Roll. Stelliform Press, 2020. Pp. 100. ISBN 978-1-77709-172-9. $14.99.Reviewed by Sonia Sulaiman
Thursday, June 25, 2020
Andrew Katz, The Vampire Gideon’s Suicide Hotline & Halfway House for Orphaned Girls. Lanternfish Press, 2018. Pp. 235. ISBN 978-1-941360-20-0. $16.00.Reviewed by Don Riggs
Sometimes you have to travel far to find some treasure near home. This was the case with this book, published by a small press in my home city of Philadelphia, PA; I picked up The Vampire Gideon’s Suicide Hotline at the Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando, FL two years ago. Because I do not ordinarily read horror or vampire fiction, I shelved it until recently when, unable to go out to libraries or bookstores because of the pandemic, I read it, and found I could not put it down. The title summarizes the basic situation of the story: Gideon—being the vampire’s name, rather than a reference to the Gideon Bible—operates an informal suicide hotline. Several of his regular callers show him at work, de-escalating their emotional states until they have gone beyond the likelihood that they will take their lives. Or, alternatively, until they do. One of his regulars tells him he should not be operating this telephone hotline, as he has no training. Gideon’s final argument against his callers’ killing themselves is that he knows death is not a solution for their despair, because they have not died. He has.
Friday, April 24, 2020
Dimas Rio, Who’s There? Self-published, 2019. Pp. 182. ISBN 978-1-67617-410-3. £5.98.Reviewed by Rachel Verkade
I have to get this out of the way. When I received my copy of Who’s There? it arrived nicely gift wrapped and with a personalized note thanking me for reviewing it. And while I am not about to let that influence my cherished objectivity as a reviewer, it was a really nice touch that gave me a smile when I opened the package. So, thank you for that, Dimas.
I love a good ghost story. Who doesn’t? It’s nice, especially these days, to find something to be scared of aside from… well, reality. And I personally love exploring horror from different cultures. I had my glut of American horror through my adolescence; seeing how fears varied throughout the world remains one of my chief delights. So when I was offered this slender little volume of ghost stories from Indonesia I pretty much jumped at the chance. And honestly, I’m glad that I did. Who’s There? is a short but effective little collection of horror stories, all dripping with atmosphere and the rich culture of the Indonesian Archipelago. The text also includes quotes from Indonesian poetry and helpful footnotes translating bits of local slang or terms that your average English speaker might not be familiar with.
Friday, April 10, 2020
Zooscape: an e-zine of fantastic furry fiction, ed. Mary E. Lowd. Issue 6 (March 2020). Online at zooscape-zine.com.Reviewed by Lisa Timpf
Friday, March 27, 2020
C.R. Berry, Million Eyes (Million Eyes series book 1). Elsewhen Press, 2020. Pp. 336. ISBN 978-1-9114-0948-9. £9.99 pb / £2.99 e.Reviewed by Andy Sawyer
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Sarena Ulibarri (ed.), Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Winters. World Weaver Press, 2020. Pp 316. ISBN 978-1-7322546-8-8. $15.95.Reviewed by Cait Coker
Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Winters is a follow-up to editor Sarena Ulibarri’s previous edited collection, Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers (2018). Solarpunk as a genre is meant to be an optimistic alternative to the frequent use of dystopia to describe the various possible futures of climate change; it posits viable scientific solutions to catastrophe, as well as a belief that human nature has at least as much if not more capacity for goodness and hope than for despair. These days, that’s a valuable quality all on its own. Solarpunk Winters consists of seventeen stories that revolve around cold environments, either natural or manmade. Indeed, global cooling is indeed a very real possibility in the wake of climate change, either due to the disruptions of the global jetstream (for evidence, see the recent polar vortexes that have afflicted countries in the northern hemisphere over the past several years) or as a by-product of geo-engineering. The stories all share some similarities: many refer to the events of the next few years as the turning-point, always denoted with a capital, as the Breakdown, the Reckoning, or the Change; most feature women protagonists as agents of change.
Saturday, February 29, 2020
Surradia: A Retrospective. Musée National d’Art Moderne, 2019–20. Admission €14.00.Reviewed by Gwen C. Katz
Portrait of Three Women with an Owl
PARIS, France: Some artistic movements are not fully appreciated until after the artists’ time. Some enjoy immediate fame, only to fade from the spotlight as the years pass. And then there are the movements that, through no fault of the artists, never quite have their moment in the sun. Into this third category falls the subject of the Musée National d’Art Moderne (MNAM)’s excellent new exhibition, Surradia: A Retrospective.
Monday, February 24, 2020
Kaleidotrope, ed. Fred Coppersmith. Winter 2020 issue. Online at kaleidotrope.net or in e-book.Reviewed by N. A. Jackson
This issue of science fiction and fantasy zine Kaleidotrope is headed with a quote from the editors of Weight of the World: “Every little piece of your life will mean something to someone.” It’s the kind of statement that defies argument without really conveying anything. Certainly the fragments of fiction and poetry here are going to be more or less meaningful to each reader.
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Adel Abeda (and Rika Zorne), The Velocity of Inertia. London: Bloomsbury, 2019. Pp. 237. ISBN 978-1-4742-9927-5. $20.99.Reviewed by J. Moufawad-Paul
There are times when a novel’s mythology precedes its publication. Adel Abeda’s The Velocity of Inertia is precisely this kind of novel and, as such, it is difficult to review. Edited and rewritten by Abeda’s wife, the critically acclaimed photographer and poet Rika Zorne, the literary presentation of Velocity is beyond reproach; you cannot read this book without being impressed by its style. But Zorne’s participation in the publication contributes to its mythology since the awareness that every sentence of Abeda’s draft was rewritten by Zorne immediately makes the reader suspicious of the quality of the original manuscript. Moreover, it reminds the reader of Abeda’s absence and the fact that the authorial void might be more interesting than the novel.
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
John Marrs, The Passengers. Berkley, 2019. Pp. 340. ISBN 978-1-984-80697-0. $26.00.Reviewed by Lisa Timpf
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Michael Winter, Periphery. Self-published, 2019. Pp. 369. ISBN 978-1-7333664-0-3. $13.99.Reviewed by Rachel Verkade
It was not an auspicious beginning.