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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 03:10 pm:   

Last thread was getting long.

Read D.H. Lawrences SONS AND LOVERS. What can I say? It's a great novel, with deep characterization and bold insights into how people are, which are still relevant today. This is apparently his most autobiographical work. He could of kept going, with Paul's story. But I liked the ending, which is dark, a little melancholy -- not sappy at all, even touching on the metaphysical but still strangely hopeful. Like Aldous Huxley said: "always intensely aware of the mystery of the world... a clever man as well as a man of genius".

Also started Bester's THE STARS MY DESTINATION and have been reading THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR DEATH AND OTHER STORIES AND OTHER STORIES.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 05:22 pm:   

Ooh. I love The Island of Doctor Death and other Stories and other stories. Have fun.
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Mr. The Denby
Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 08:06 pm:   

I'm rereading Viriconium, in honor of the re-release, and just got Borges' Book of Imaginary Beings. It looks great.
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JTS
Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 10:55 pm:   

Currently reading tom perrotta's Little Children, which so far is amazing.

Also dipping in and out of the new best american short stories and Mike Resnicks antho Down these dark spaceways.
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Tim Akers
Posted on Wednesday, November 09, 2005 - 12:23 pm:   

I came back from WFC with 22 new books. I have no *idea* where I'm going to start. Oh, except I'm almost done with Midnighters. That was a no-brainer.
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Bruce
Posted on Wednesday, November 09, 2005 - 01:47 pm:   

Just finished 'Looking for Jake' by China Mieville. An uneven but worthwhile collection nicely book-ended by the title story and 'The Tain'.

Currently reading 'Fifty Below Zero' by Kim Stanley Robinson.

On deck: Gabriel Garcia Marquez's new novella, William Sanders's latest collection and George R. R. Martin's fourth installment.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, November 09, 2005 - 05:13 pm:   

Thanks for the alert about the new Garcia Marquez!

I still don't see the new Saunders on Amazon...

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Bruce
Posted on Wednesday, November 09, 2005 - 06:59 pm:   

Hi Marc,

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0809556170/002-1647657-7833629?v=glance&n=28315 5&n=507846&s=books&v=glance

That'll get you there. Or just check out Wildside Press.
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Tribeless
Posted on Wednesday, November 09, 2005 - 11:58 pm:   

I've been doing a pretty long stint reading non sci-fi. Currently, Zadie Smith's 'White Teeth'.

Will have the hankering for a good science fiction again soon though. (Either Richard Morgan's 'Woken Furies' or the second in the John Birmingham WW II alternate history series.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 12:24 am:   

Bruce, how embarrassing...I meant George Saunders. This looks good though!
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Bob Urell
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 07:53 am:   

I just finished Scott Lynch's THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA and a belated go at Toni Morrison's BELOVED.
Right now, hip deep in Ishiguro's ARTIST OF THE FLOATING WORLD, Scott Bakker's THE DARKNESS THAT COMES BEFORE, Arundhati Roy's THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS, and all the stories in Polyphony 5 but my own.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 01:35 pm:   

Well, I don't know Scott from Adam, and I think the book is brilliant. It's sequel is even better. Very literate, elegant prose; believable and ambitious character development; some very fresh takes on some old ideas; and just damned exciting to boot. I'd stack these books against China Mieville or Gene Wolfe any day, and I'm a big fan of those guys.
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 01:59 pm:   

So, Bob. What did you think of Beloved?
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Bob Urell
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 02:12 pm:   

I thought it was brilliant. There was all sorts of thetic content I didn't have access to, culturally speaking, but Morrison does a grand job of subverting normal speech so that each idea presented is rife with subtext. The lyrical quality of her writing alone would've held me, but slowly unfolding the nastiness of being black in that era in Ohio was masterfully done. Made me empathize with Margaret Garner, in all her infamy; for that alone, it was worth it.
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 02:26 pm:   

Yeah man, that's powerful stuff. There's a lot of African folklore going on, combined with Christian. It's been a little while since I read it, but -- and for those who haven't read it, spoiler warning -- what do you think of the skinless man with the whip, at the end?
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 02:43 pm:   

I guess it's pretty self explanatory. Just wonderin' if you have any thoughts beyond the obvious.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 03:12 pm:   

"...and all the stories in Polyphony 5 but my own."

Hm, that's funny, because the first story I'll be reading in P5 will be by Mr. Bob Urell...

I need to get Beloved. Have you guys read Toni Morrison's Sula? Great stuff.
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Bob Urell
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 11:01 pm:   

Hi Stephen,
I thought the skinless man was one more level of alienation. It's one of those thetics I couldn't access. It wasn't meant for me. I understood that "skinless" is Beloved's way of talking about white men, but beyond that I suspect the term or the image is fraught with meaning that I simply can't see beyond the abstract.
Mahesh! If I were you, I'd read Mamatas's story first.... Sula is on my to-read list, if our mutual covey of friends slows their magnificent level of output for one friggin' second.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Friday, November 11, 2005 - 12:14 pm:   

Just finished Cherie Priest's remarkable first novel Four and Twenty Blackbirds, and can't recommend it highly enough.

Currently reading Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Friday, November 11, 2005 - 03:30 pm:   

On Barry Malzberg's erudite and enthusiastic recommendation, I've been plunging into Walter Tevis's work. Recently finished The Man Who Fell to Earth, about as far from the film version as one could imagine; a wonderfully nuanced character study and a terrific read. I just started reading Mockingbird and will head next to The Steps of the Sun and Tevis's two famous non-SF novels, The Hustler and The Color of Money. Always great fun to discover an author one admires and enjoys. And it's hard to fault Barry's taste.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, November 11, 2005 - 06:40 pm:   

My favorite of his, I think, is Mockingbird --I just loved the main character in it. At one time it was optioned for a movie.
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Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Posted on Sunday, November 13, 2005 - 07:02 am:   

I've just finished Kim Stanley Robinson's Fifty Degrees Below, which manages the impressive feat of being a good political novel, a fabulous novel of character and interior experience, and an audacious work of near-future SF. These things don't usually happen all at once.

I will say that Frank verges on being a Stan Robinson "Mary Sue", but he's a wonderful character anyway. Or, perhaps, therefore.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, November 13, 2005 - 08:42 pm:   

My favorite Tevis, by far, is THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT, about a young female chess prodigy. Amazing book with an unforgettable protagonist.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, November 13, 2005 - 08:52 pm:   

How could I forget that one? Another favorite of mine.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 08:20 am:   

My pal Maury just bought me a copy of The Queen's Gambit as a gift, since I'd told him I'm boning up on my Tevis. I'll look forward to reading it. I'm almost through Mockingbird and am enjoying it very much, as much as I enjoyed The Man Who Fell to Earth.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 09:43 am:   

THE SHROUD OF THE THWACKER was funny throughout, but does finally become a bit absorbed in its own plot at the expense of the hilarity. It's not badly written, and the plot is pure science fiction. It's the next best thing to Bob and Ray themselves writing a time travel detective novel.
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Patrick Swenson
Posted on Saturday, November 19, 2005 - 10:14 pm:   

MOCKINGBIRD is my favorite Tevis as well, and it's a damn shame no one's filmed it!

Started the first Richard Morgan book, ALTERED CARBON. Very good so far. And this one I hear they have optioned as well,and--correct me if I'm wrong--isn't this in the works already?
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Ahmed A. Khan
Posted on Thursday, November 24, 2005 - 01:33 pm:   

Just finished reading "The Seven Towers" by Patricia Wrede - a thoroughly entertaining fantasy.

Ahmed
http://ahmedakhan.journalspace.com
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, November 28, 2005 - 12:35 pm:   

Nice article on Thomas McMahon. His novel LOVING LITTLE EGYPT is one of my favorites (I haven't read the others).

http://www.bookforum.com/schaffer.html
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, November 28, 2005 - 01:36 pm:   

I read McKay's Bees and owned, but never read Loving Little Egypt for many years.
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, November 28, 2005 - 02:03 pm:   

It was a cyberpunk cult mini-hit for its portrayal of proto-phonephreaks. But I loved it best for the creation of an hilarious struggle between the saintly Alexander Graham Bell and an utterly evil Thomas Edison.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, November 28, 2005 - 03:51 pm:   

You know, that's the one I read, NOT Loving Little Egypt--duh....I just had a senior moment.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Monday, November 28, 2005 - 08:59 pm:   

I'm reading LITTLE, BIG by John Crowley. I've somehow managed not to read it all this time. I've only just begun, but the prose is so beautiful, and so contained . . . . Wow. Amazing craftsmanship.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, November 28, 2005 - 09:48 pm:   

Nathan, You are in for a treat. It's one of my favorites.
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Steve
Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2005 - 04:09 am:   

I just finished TOM JONES for school and surprised myself by how much I enjoyed it. Next up is a book on dueling.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - 09:44 pm:   

I posted a bit about a new writer/illustrator I've been enjoying.

http://www.nightshadebooks.com/discus/messages/2797/5346.html?1133934031

I'm on a bit of a graphic novel kick. Reading PERSEPOLIS, PYONGYANG, and THE RABBI'S CAT (by Joann Sfar). But so far nothing has blown me away like Christoph Blain's THE SPEED ABATER, described in the above link.

Oh. Charles Burns' serial comic BLACK HOLE is finally available in one volume from Pantheon, and it's pretty damn great.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 - 09:48 pm:   

Oh, I finally finished Michael Cunningham's Specimen Days and liked it a lot. It's three novellas that are somewhat related and written in three different "genres": ghost story; mystery/thriller; science fiction.
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, December 17, 2005 - 09:31 pm:   

Finally digging into THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH. There's something irresistable about Lewis. I found OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET and PERELANDRA had a strong effect on me, not unlike the effect Narnia had on me as a kid. This has a more mundane setting but is no less unsettling.
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Sunday, December 18, 2005 - 01:42 pm:   

Just finished Terry Prachett's Thud!
How does he DO it? I'd love to even come close to writing like that.
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StephenB
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 02:53 pm:   

Finished THE STARS MY DESTINATION a little while ago. Really enjoyed it. Fast paced with a strong anti-hero character. I haven't really read that many science fiction novels, but this is probably my fav of what I have. I like what Gully does at the end...
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John E. Rogers, Jr.
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 03:23 pm:   

Hmmmm - halfway through Pangborn's DAVY, which I am enjoying - though at maybe six pages a night - after homework with kids, dinner with wife, walking dog, and ping pong in garage - there is a continuity problem (on my end, not Edgar's). Halfway through reading Twilight by John W. Campbell, Jr. (yep, that Campbell) aloud to my younger son. Twilight is a surprising entertaining bit of old-timey SF. It's the second offering in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame Vol. 1.
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Laird
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 04:00 pm:   

Stephen:

I loved TSMD as a kid. Vengeance, thy name is Gully Foyle!
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rib
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 07:07 pm:   

I'm not a big Campbell fan, but I enjoyed "Twilight" quite a bit, John. I think it has a mythic quality that has held up over the years.
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John E. Rogers, Jr.
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 11:49 pm:   

rib,

Agreed - if the story were twenty years older I'd call it derivative, even hokey. But given its, ahem, provenance, it has to read in a special way. Alas, unlike Weinbaum's A Martian Odyssey (the story immediately preceding it in SFHoF, V.1), Twilight requires a great deal of stop-and-explain to my son.

-John
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, January 30, 2006 - 09:50 pm:   

I had a quick weekend trip to NYC and back, and fortunately laid hands on Martin Cruz Smith's POLAR STAR just in time. It may not be as great as GORKY PARK but I didn't notice...I was too busy flipping pages.

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Laird
Posted on Monday, January 30, 2006 - 11:17 pm:   

Yeah, Polar Star is a much faster read. Less dense than Gorky; more of a thriller than a procedural.

Stallion Gate is awesome, by the way.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 08:26 am:   

Next time you get here and have mor ethan a day or two let's get together, Marc!
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 10:25 am:   

POLAR STAR reminded me a bit of the claustrophobic sea voyage in SMILLA'S SENSE OF SNOW. I guess I just enjoy this sort of setting.

Thanks for the rec on STALLION GATE...the trusty Amazon reviewers slag it freely. I'm really looking forward to WOLVES EAT DOGS, though. Can't wait to see Renko in Chernobyl.

Ellen, it was a crazy trip...in Friday night, did a recording session Saturday afternoon, flew out Sunday morning. Ate at Patsy's (shrine to Sinatra). Found no decent pizza--that was the biggest disappointment of the trip. Hit up Cafe Dante for awesome cappuchino and cannoli. Watched a musical (in previews) at the Village Theater, because friends of a friend were in it. The stripmallization of Manhattan proceeds apace, apparently: Take your J. Crew, your Best Buy, your Starbucks, copy and paste, copy and paste, copy and paste... I haven't been in the city for about 12 years. Notably missing from my other visits: Optimo cigar store signs! Well, this rant probably belongs in a different thread.

I've got Peter Ackroyd's biography of Shakespeare on my nightstand, and I'm poking through William Vollmann's EUROPE CENTRAL.
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Patrick Swenson
Posted on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 11:04 pm:   

I couldn't finish STALLION GATE, but really liked GORKY and POLAR STAR. Marc, I liked SMILLA'S too, and I think you're right--I liked the sea setting...
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Nathan
Posted on Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 06:35 am:   

Marc, have you read any of Vollman's RISING UP AND RISING DOWN? I think it's subtitled "A History of Violence." I've come within a hair's breadth of picking up the abridged copy a few times (the full work is apparently several volumes long).
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 07:52 am:   

Nathan,
I bought it because it sounded fascinating. Whether I'll ever actually have time and will to read it is another story ;-)
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 08:25 am:   

I've got the full unabridged Vollmann...have only dipped into it thus far.
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Laird
Posted on Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 08:54 pm:   

Hi, Patrick:

I can see why the novel doesn't appeal to everyone. Stallion Gate is heavy going in places, especially when he gets into minutia regarding the A-bomb; my eye glassed over in a spot or two. That and Joe is somewhat unsympathetic, especially compared to Renko in the other series.

There are some images that stick with me, however. I loved his portrayal of the countryside and the underground prizefighting.

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Nathan
Posted on Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 09:28 pm:   

Okay, you guys have convinced me ... I'm going to have to read some Martin Cruz Smith. I've never tried him before. Should I start with GORKY PARK?
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 09:32 pm:   

I started with GORKY PARK...it made a fan out of me. A spectacular thriller.
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Laird
Posted on Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 09:55 pm:   

Yes! Gorky is astounding. I rate Smith alongside many the best modern writers in genre or out.
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 07:47 pm:   

I just picked up Gorky Park myself.
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steveberman
Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2006 - 10:55 am:   

I had been reading JINN but stopped around halfway. To be honest, I prefer my fiction without religious overtones or inserts. Plus I skimmed ahead and discovered reincarnation, which I never have liked. The characters never managed to engage me to warrant the risk, so to speak.

What with the winter storm coming, I may pick up again MIDNIGHT SUN.
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Laird
Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2006 - 11:25 am:   

Floating Dragon by Straub
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2006 - 11:50 am:   

Steve,
Who wrote JINN? It sounds familiar?

Laird, FLOATING DRAGON is one of the few Straub novels I don't like.

I read the THE COLORADO KID, a mystery by Stephen King, on the plane home from Prague. Very short --more a novella. I enjoyed it.
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Laird
Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2006 - 12:21 pm:   

Ellen:

Yeah, it's heavy going so far, but I'm sort of reading to study his methods of moving characters around each scene. Also, I'm enjoying it far more than the lauded Mr. X, which I recently finished after several attempts (I did enjoy the convoluted narration).

Ghost Story & Koko remain my favorites.
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steveberman
Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2006 - 07:24 pm:   

Ellen

Matthew B.J. Delaney is the author of JINN. I definitely disagree with the PW starred review.

I actually worked on my master's thesis today, reading passages from THE EROTIC WORLD OF FAERY. It's a lot more academic than it sounds and thoroughly fascinating.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2006 - 10:39 pm:   

I think SHADOWLAND is my favorite novel of Peter's although I also really liked IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 05:12 pm:   

I avoided FLOATING DRAGON for years; lately I've been tempted. I remember a number of reviews really slagging it at the time. I found it impossible to get very far in MR. X. I've gone back a couple times to try it, with no luck.

SHADOWLAND is definitely the one that hit closest to home for me; I had similar adolescent experiences with friends obsessed (as I was) with magic. GHOST STORY scared the crap out of me.
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Laird
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 06:17 pm:   

Ya, GS is a masterpiece. Koko too. Haven't read Shadowland...

My real problem with Floating Dragon involves a narrative device that crops up out of the blue. I liked a bit of Mr. X, but grew weary of the interminable family scenes.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 07:32 pm:   

I found Floating Dragon awfully diffuse.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 09:24 pm:   

There's always a moment in Straub's books where I go "What the...how the hell is he doing that?"

I really loved his last two, linked, novels; they were lean and powerful. I think he's doing fantastic work again, after a bit of a slump, whose nadir was marked by Mr. X. Mr. X seemed aggressively, even cynically padded, as if to flesh out some some kind of blockbuster profile. Hellfire Club was a fun ride, though.

He's an endlessly interesting writer. I don't begrudge him the occasional flat tire.
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 09:53 pm:   

My favorite Straub is Porkpie Hat.
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Bruce
Posted on Monday, February 13, 2006 - 09:01 am:   

I recently finished my favorite Straub novel 'Ghost Story' and it stood up well after the fifteen or so years since the last reread. An earlier novel, 'If You Could See Me Now', I recall as being a trial run for 'Ghost Story', but as there's some nifty misdirection in that piece, I'll just say it's worth a look.

His last two interlocked novels were fine Straub, leaner and more focused than bloated warthogs like 'The Throat' and 'Floating Dragon'. I thought 'Mystery' and 'The Talisman' were good reads, but my second favorite novel by him is still 'Shadowland'...some unforgettable scenes and splendidly written throughout.

I read 'Cell' a few weeks ago and thought it was good but not great King.

The John Burdett novels 'Bangkok 8' and 'Bangkok Tattoo' are scintillating. Best mysteries I've read in years. Does Burdett have the goods, or what! Thanks again for the tip, Ellen...got any others?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, February 13, 2006 - 09:18 am:   

I really liked Mr.X but I love his novellas, too: "Porkpie Hat" and "Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff." If you Could see me Now was, I think the first of his I read, and although I remember finding a psychological flaw in the book that really bothered me, I felt (and still feel) it's one of his creepiest novels.

Bruce, have you read any of Jack O'Connell's novels? Gordon's published a couple of his stories (I hadn't realized he wrote short stories till I saw them).
His most recent (and harrowing) is Word Made Flesh. They're not exactly mysteries but are all mysterious and strange in their own way.
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Bruce
Posted on Monday, February 13, 2006 - 10:12 am:   

Ellen, I haven't read any of Jack O'Connell's books but after checking out the synopsis I'll definitely pick up 'Word Made Flesh', thanks.

Speaking of surreal and atmospheric novels and novellas, I'd like to tout Haruki Murakami who I'm sure is no stranger to many on this board. 'Kafka on the Shore' was another fine novel by Murakami, and one of my favorites from last year.
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Tim Pratt
Posted on Monday, February 13, 2006 - 10:31 am:   

I did like Mr. X, but "Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff" is probably my favorite Straub ever. Hellfire Club is one of those books I can read and re-read with great enjoyment, and I liked his latest two novels a lot too. I didn't much like Floating Dragon -- the premise was intriguing, and some of the details striking, but the execution was somehow offputting.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, February 13, 2006 - 10:45 am:   

I'm embarrassed to say I haven't had time to Straub's last two novels.

Bruce, I've enjoyed all of O'Connell's books. But Word Made Flesh just blew me away.

If you haven't read the early James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels you should.
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Bruce
Posted on Monday, February 13, 2006 - 12:00 pm:   

Thanks Ellen, I have read a couple of the Dave Robicheaux books and liked them.

I thought 'Magic Terror' was a particularly strong collection: 'Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff', 'The Ghost Village', 'Porkpie Hat' and the grim 'Bunny is Good Bread'. Scary book.

The one work of Straub's I haven't read is 'The General's Wife'. It's a 128 page novella from '82, and quite a few are available at abebooks...anyone read it?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, February 13, 2006 - 04:48 pm:   

I have but I'm afraid I don't remember much about it :-(
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 12:35 am:   

Reading Martin Cruz Smith's extremely entertaining HAVANA BAY (his fourth Arkady Renko novel), and listening to the hypnotic NEVER LET ME GO on tape. I liked RED SQUARE, the third Renko book, in spite of frequent bouts of confusion. But so far I think this one is better. I remember REMAINS OF THE DAY being a book that almost read itself; that was the only other Ishiguro I've read, but this shares similar traits. Actually, since it's an audiobook, it really does read itself.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2006 - 08:58 pm:   

Okay, HAVANA BAY was great...I'm ready to dive into WOLVES EAT DOGS. I intended to break first to read Stephen King's CELL, which just came in from the library, but after a few pages I'm starting to think the world didn't really need another zombie novel. (For me, George Saunders' "Sea Oak" remains the last word in zombie stories.)

I read LYNCH ON LYNCH on a recent plane flight. It's an extended series of interviews with David Lynch, mostly about the movies, a bit about his life. A really entertaining book that made me want to re-watch a few things I haven't seen in quite a while. I hadn't realized that ERASERHEAD was made in L.A. I always thought he'd still been living in Philadelphia when he made it, but he moved to L.A. in August of 1970 (the same time I left). It was hard to read about the reception of FIRE WALK WITH ME, which I loved when it premiered and which still remains for me one of Lynch's most painful, poignant and intimate films. Weirdly enough, all my various theories about the reason TWIN PEAKS self-destructed were confirmed in the interviews.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, March 13, 2006 - 08:29 am:   

I read Jeff Ford's THE GIRL IN THE GLASS while down in Florida and loved it. It's about "spiritualist" scam artists who encounter a real mystery involving murder, a "monster," eugenics, and a mad scientist.

I'm now reading Michael Gruber's VALLEY OF BONES, the follow up to TROPIC OF NIGHT.
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Tom Barlow
Posted on Monday, March 13, 2006 - 04:21 pm:   

Halfway through Kevin Brockmeier's "The Brief History of the Dead," and-- wow. I thought the short story was dynamite. The novel is exquisite.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, March 13, 2006 - 06:42 pm:   

I've got a copy. Do you mean I have to read it some time?
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kellys
Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 07:50 am:   

Lynch on Lynch is a good one. It makes one want to re-visit all of his works and wish that he was more prolific. I'd also recommend the Cronenberg and Scorsese books in that same series.

Currently reading Conrad Williams' London Revenant. It's my first encounter with Williams, so I'm quite blown away by how the characterizations, atmosphere, and plot are seemlessly intertwined. And, as a work of horror, there's a genuine unnerving quality that slowly creeps upon the reader as the book progresses.
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kellys
Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 07:51 am:   

I'm sold. I just placed my order for Brief History of the Dead.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 09:17 am:   

Kelly,
Read Conrad's short stories. The novel was fine but his stories are divine!

Just finished Michael Gruber's VALLEY OF BONES and although there's a bit too much religious thought in it for my taste I enjoyed it. Murder mystery starring Jimmy Paz, Afro-Cuban Miami cop who was protag in TROPIC OF NIGHT, Gruber's debut novel.
A woman who is either a saint or delusional is prime suspect to the grisly murder of a Sudanese oilman.

Next up, Patrick McGrath's (who is mentioned above as the NY TImes reviewer of Brockmeier) collection of three novellas, out last year.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 - 03:00 pm:   

CELL...I give up. I'm at around the halfway point, and after reading a supposed computer nerd's explanation of computing and an English professor's precis on human psychology, I feel as if my IQ has been lowered. I had hoped after a break, he'd come back with something really good. He's even sloppy with his ubiquitous pop references, starting off with a "Mister Softee" truck selling "Dilly Bars"...some kind of weird cross-franchise marketing that could only happen in a parallel universe.

More like THE COLORADO KID, please, where I didn't feel my intelligence being insulted every other page.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 02:39 pm:   

Sorry to hear that. I liked THE COLORADO KID, too.
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GabrielM
Posted on Friday, March 17, 2006 - 08:05 am:   

Am reading TROPIC OF NIGHT, as it turns out. It's quite good, so far.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, March 17, 2006 - 09:59 am:   

I liked it, Gabe. A little better than VALLEY OF BONES.
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des
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 09:41 am:   

'The Falls' by Joyce Carol Oates and 'The Brooklyn Follies' by Paul Auster. Both brilliant to this English reading eye.
des
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, April 03, 2006 - 12:06 am:   

Weeks after finishing NEVER LET ME GO, I still get depressed and faintly nauseated when I think of it. The somewhat generic (for a science fiction novel) premise has been criticized by genre critics, but for me there was great power in the moments and the selection of details that made the lives feel lived.
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des
Posted on Monday, April 03, 2006 - 12:38 am:   

This was one of the most moving books I've ever read. One of those few new masterpieces one encounters in a far too short a reading life when one's own reading ability is able to appreciate such works within that tiny of window of opportunity between immaturity and dementia.
des
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Bruce
Posted on Monday, April 03, 2006 - 07:57 am:   

Currently: 'Counting Heads' by David Marusek and 'The Best of Philip Jose Farmer'. On deck: 'The Empire of Ice Cream' by Jeffrey Ford, 'The Last Witchfinder' by James Morrow, and the latest Wild Cards novel by John J. Miller.
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Nathan
Posted on Monday, April 03, 2006 - 03:12 pm:   

I'm reading The Forever War, by Haldeman, because I've actually read very little SF. I've always been a fantasy/horror guy, but every once in a while I try to grab an SF novel and see if it gets me. I just ordered Paul Park's Roumania; I love his short stories. I think he's criminally underrated.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, April 03, 2006 - 06:36 pm:   

Bruce,
I think you'll really love Jeff's collection. I've read most of the stories in the book and they're terrific.

Nathan, Paul's a really interested short story writer--I wish he'd write more of them.
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Bruce
Posted on Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - 05:32 am:   

Hi Ellen,

I have no doubt! His first collection styled and this one looks even better. I just read Nick Gever's glittering review in Locus. Looks like Ms. Goss's first collection is a must as well.

When do you fly to Kiev?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - 09:24 am:   

I leave this Saturday night and get in the next evenign at around 7pm. With a three hour stopover in the Paris airport.
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PM
Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 05:27 pm:   

Lem died recently.

I'm reading Solaris. This is SF.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 08:09 pm:   

I'm reading Kate Wilhelm's STORYTELLER which is pure Kate, low-key yet inspirational. And I've gotten Martin Cruz Smith's ROSE but I'm not sure I'm in the mood...I can feel the research poking through the story.

Saw a couple books that looked intriguing recently--Stephen Wright's latest since GOING NATIVE, namely THE AMALGAMATION POLKA. Also something called THE HUMMINGBIRD'S DAUGHTER which, upon skimming, seemed to hold quite a lot of good scenes. And I think I'm finally in the mood for Palahniuk's HAUNTED, although I wish it were another actual novel.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 09:58 pm:   

Marc,
I loved GOING NATIVE. Let us know how this book is.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 01:57 pm:   

Well, I just finished Brockmeier's The Brief History of the Dead, and I've got to say I'm disappointed. It seemed so ... I don't know ... lightweight. The writing was good, and some of the ideas are pretty, but it seems to me the vast potential of the concept was wasted. Maybe it was that he spread his focus out over too many characters. Maybe it's that it seemed to me he was more interested in revealing the jigsaw puzzle of Laura's life than getting into the meat of the residents of the City. I felt like what we got was just cosmetic. I still like Brockmeier, and I'll read his next book, but this ... this should have been, could have been, so much more.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 06:58 am:   

Nathan, did you ever make it down to New Orleans? I'm glad to see you posting here. I've been concerned about you.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 08:02 am:   

Yeah -- I'm trying to contact you via email.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 01:23 pm:   

Just started AMALGAMATION POLKA...looks like it's going to pick up where COLD MOUNTAIN left off. Could be what I've been craving.
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Jeffrey Ford
Posted on Monday, May 15, 2006 - 07:52 pm:   

Marcd and Ellen: I gotta hand it to you guys. Reading Gorky Park now and digging it big time. Great suggestion. Thanks!
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Jeffrey Ford
Posted on Monday, May 15, 2006 - 07:53 pm:   

Marc sorry for the "d" that somehow attached itself to the end of your name in that last post.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - 02:19 pm:   

That's okay, Jeffg!

Hey, The Amalgamation Polka was fantastic. Weirdly optimistic and upbeat for such a dark-inflected tale. Funny and quite the page-turner as well, in spite of being fairly aimless (note references to Candide and picaresques in reviews/blurbs/etc.).

Believe it or not, Polar Star is just as fun as Gorky Park. I really liked all the Renko books--not equally, but close enough. That first one is note perfect, however.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - 02:21 pm:   

And I told Jeff that he's got to read Wolves Eat Dogs even if he doesn't plan to visit Pripyat!
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - 08:12 pm:   

Back from NZ and Oz. While traveling I read a couple of mediocre anthologies (I will not mention their titles), James Lee Burke's Crusader's Cross, which, surprisingly, I thought sucked. I usually love his Robicheaux novels but this one just made no sense to me. Anyone else read it? Am I nuts?

Also read Monster Island, a zombie novel by David Wellington. Not bad. Zombies in NYC with some nice touches. I wasn't wild about the ending but I rarely am :-)
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Christopher Rowe
Posted on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 07:12 am:   

I just read those Naomi Novik dragon/Napoleanic Wars books and thought they were delightful.
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GabrielM
Posted on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 10:26 am:   

>>Also read Monster Island, a zombie novel by David Wellington. Not bad. Zombies in NYC with some nice touches. I wasn't wild about the ending but I rarely am :-)

I thought it started out ok, and in general the postapocalyptic Manhattan setting was well done, but when the villain became so powerful as to be nearly omnipotent I lost interest. I could just see all those sequels where he keeps returning after being destroyed stretching into the future.

The Novik books, on the other hand, I'm also finding a lot of fun.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 11:11 am:   

I don't think the villain will return--I'm sure it's the narrator who will be back for the sequel.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, June 25, 2006 - 03:53 pm:   

I just finished The Stone Ship today. Interesting dark, sometimes surreal fantasy. Ellen Klages jokes about her "feral" librarians in the wonderful story she wrote for Firebirds Rising. They've got nothing on the bloodthirsty rioting librarians in Raftos's novel. Whew!
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 06:15 am:   

Finished Graham Joyce's THE TOOTH FAIRY, which was a touching and often beautiful dark fantasy. I'm now mid-way through Richard Price's CLOCKERS. Richard Price has become one of my favorite writers, I think. Some of the best crime fiction I've ever read.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 02:19 pm:   

Ooh, Nathan. I loved The Tooth Fairy.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 07:34 pm:   

TOOTH FAIRY! I've actually only read this one, which is excellent, and SMOKING POPPIES, which didn't work for me. On the basis of TF, though, I'll be reading much more.
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Jeffrey Ford
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 09:17 pm:   

Just finally got the remaining Lew Griffin novels of James Sallis delivered from a used online book outfit -- Uncle Hugo's. I read one of them back a few years at the suggestion of Gordon, but never got the rest. After the recent article in the LA times, though, it reminded me how much I liked the one I'd read -- Death of a Flea (actually the last one in the series). I'm three in and I could not get Eye of a Cricket, but these are really great. A study in economy -- Griffin is a fabulous character. You can see the Chester Himes influence. As the series progresses, the character changes through experience and time -- awesome effect.
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Jeffrey Ford
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 04:54 am:   

Oops, that's Ghost of a Flea, not Death of a Flea. Oh yeah, and I loved Gorky Park. Thanks Marc and Ellen.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 06:06 am:   

For me, Graham Joyce is all about Requiem and The Tooth Fairy. While I like some of his later books, none of them grabbed and moved me the way these two books did.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 07:58 am:   

I've got some of the Sallis books but haven't ever had time to read them. One of these days...

I'd go for Tooth Fairy, too.I've read Requiem, which I wasn't wild about and Indigo, which I did enjoy. But my favorite is TF.
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GabrielM
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 09:36 am:   

Jeff, that's a coincidence, I've been on a Sallis kick myself. Currently on EYE OF THE CRICKET, but I actually started with his new Turner series, CYPRESS GROVE and CRIPPLE CREEK. (I know, the titles sound like suburban subdivisions.) The guy's an amazing writer, there's so much tenderness and pathos in every one of those little books. And I love all the literary digressions -- Thomas Bernhard, Camus, Chester Himes, PK Dick, etc.
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Jonathan Strahan
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 05:11 pm:   

I'm reading Ellen Klages' The Green Glass Sea, and am loving it. So far, at least, a wonderful book.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 06:24 pm:   

I'm currently finishing up the reading for my non-theme horror anthology, INFERNO, and I think it's going to be good (I hope I hope). Working on rewrites with about four contributors and awaiting one story (he knows who he is). Then I'll go back and do a final line edit on everything and hand it in to Jim Frenkel by mid-August--I hope.
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 10:28 pm:   

I've been on a Robert McCammon kick lately. I read SWAN SONG last week, I just started MINE today, and BOYS' LIFE awaits in the TBR pile. So far I've been very impressed.
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Laird Barron
Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 11:44 pm:   

Chris:

I recommend STINGER.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 05:27 am:   

And I recommend BLUE WORLD, his collection of short stories. "Chico" is my favorite.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 08:07 am:   

I second BLUE WORLD. There's a story from it that I took for YBFH (I don't remember the name) that was terrific. Really eerie.
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 08:52 am:   

Thanks for the recs; I'll be on the lookout for 'em. I'm not sure how I've managed to make it this far without reading any of his stuff, but I'm certainly glad I decided to rectify the situation.
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Darren
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 09:07 am:   

Wow, that was a sweet one.
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Darren
Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 - 09:12 am:   

Whoops, sorry guys. I was on the wrong thread.

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