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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Saturday, July 08, 2006 - 11:52 am:   

Recently read Robert Silverberg's The Book of Skulls, on the recommendation of Stephen Baxter in Horror: Another 100 Best Books. It's a very intense, character-driven piece about four college kids traveling across country to gain eternal life. It wonderfully captures late-60s, early-70s America, and has got me interested in what else Silverberg wrote around that period.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, July 08, 2006 - 12:21 pm:   

Kelly,
I don't know what he wrote during what period but one of my favorites is Dying Inside.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Saturday, July 08, 2006 - 02:25 pm:   

Ellen: I believe he wrote Dying Inside the same year as Book of Skulls.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Sunday, July 09, 2006 - 03:04 pm:   

Appropriately (considering the message board), I recently finished Iain M. Banks' The Algebraist and Tricia Sullivan's Maul. It took me a damned long time to finish the Banks book (a good chunk of it could have been cut out) but it was still worth it. Highly recommended if you dig reimagined space operas complete with a healthy dose of absurdity and poignance.

Maul was a real roller coaster ride. I'm still processing that one!

Currently reading Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora and enjoying it mightily. Great fun!

I also admire Silverberg's tremendous output in the late sixties and seventies. I'm also a big fan of Dying Inside, and I highly recommend The World Inside and Downward to the Earth, which were produced during that period.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, July 11, 2006 - 05:39 pm:   

Just finished Alan DeNiro's debut collection, Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead, which probably falls in the "slipstream," "interstitial," etc. category. I found myself loving some of these off-the-wall, genre-bending stories and feeling indifferent to others. In other words, like collections by most good writers, it's quite uneven.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, July 11, 2006 - 09:37 pm:   

I've been going over page proofs of Salon Fantastique Terri and my antho for Thunder's Mouth. I also received a couple of weeks worth of stories from my next week's Clarion West students to read...before I leave for Seattle Saturday.
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Ahmed A. Khan
Posted on Friday, July 14, 2006 - 08:09 am:   

I am reading a bunch of science fiction stories from the first half of the 2oth century, to recapture that "ago" feeling that John Clute sometimes talks about. I have made it into a kind of summer project of reading and commenting on about 100 pre-fifties SF stories, the tabs being kept on my blog at http://ahmedakhan.journalspace.com. Visit and comment.

Best.

Ahmed
http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/fictiononline/myworks.html
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, July 14, 2006 - 01:51 pm:   

That's really ambitious of you Ahmed. Nice work.
Ellen
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 11:42 am:   

Reading C.S. Lewis's TILL WE HAVE FACES. Very, very, very fine indeed.
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 05:14 pm:   

"'Til We Have Faces" was excellent.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 10:35 pm:   

I'm at CLarion west reading student stories :-)
A LOT of them!
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Laird Barron
Posted on Wednesday, July 19, 2006 - 04:33 am:   

Stewart O'Nan's "A Prayer for the Dying" & Paul Tremblay's "Compositions for the Young & Old."

Other recent books include Darren Speegle's collections, "A Dirge for the Temporal" & "Gothic Wine."
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Wednesday, July 19, 2006 - 10:02 am:   

I'm currently in the middle of Scott (A SIMPLE PLAN) Smith's new novel, THE RUINS, about a group of tourists who are being stalked by something (perhaps a sentient bacteria?) at an archaeological site in the Mexican jungle. In addition to the usual suspense/thriller trappings, there's a wonderful sense of creeping horror at work.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 07:35 am:   

I'm about to finish Stephen King's The Dead Zone. I've seen Cronenberg's film adaptation a handful of times, so the core plot lacks urgency for me. What I'm enjoying about the book is King's characterization of Johnny Smith – deeply sympathetic, flawed, sad, and completely intertwined with the chaotic political landscape of the times. In fact, the book's political, religious, and media observations are particularly relevant today (it's a good companion to Lucius Shepards A Handbook of American Prayer). King's hit or miss with me; this one's a hit.
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 08:31 am:   

I'm really looking forward to King's new one, LISEY'S STORY; I loved the excerpt that was published in one of the McSweeney's anthologies a few years back.

I didn't much like CELL or THE COLORADO KID, but this new one seems like it'll have more of a BAG OF BONES vibe to it (BOB being my favorite King novel.)
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 09:20 am:   

Chris: I couldn't agree more about Lisey's Story. If Michael Chabon and others are correct, it's sure to be one of King's best.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, August 01, 2006 - 09:46 am:   

Anybody read the book Warrener's Beastie? It's a 600-plus-page Lovecraftian-monster-on-the-sea story, and it's received good write-ups from Locus, PW, and the Agony Column. Not sure if it's the real deal though.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Tuesday, August 01, 2006 - 11:36 am:   

Haven't read it, but I've read other stuff by Bill Trotter (WINTER'S FIRE and a novelet that Stephen Jones published) and I think he's good.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, August 01, 2006 - 11:38 am:   

I've got the book (or galleys) but don't know if I'll even have a chance to look at it :-)
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, August 01, 2006 - 11:44 am:   

The Mr. Bass/Mushroom Planet books are a touchstone for many of us. The first MP book is the first novel I remember being unable to stop reading.

I've just started David ("Cloud Atlas") Mitchell's BLACK SWAN GREEN. It picked me right up and carried me off. Looks like it's going to be great.

I'm also reading Ramsey Campbell's SECRET STORY. The concept is absurd but it takes itself very seriously. I'm enjoying it more than THE OVERNIGHT, but Mitchell's book is probably going to consume my reading time.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, August 01, 2006 - 12:07 pm:   

Gordon: thanks for your thoughts on the Trotter.
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Mary Robinette Kowal
Posted on Wednesday, August 02, 2006 - 08:57 am:   

I just finished reading John Scalzi's Old Man's War and really enjoyed it.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Friday, August 04, 2006 - 07:42 am:   

Recently abandoned Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel. I know a lot of people have dug this book, but after 150 pages it felt too self-pitying and like a Syliva Browne novel. And, as a horror novel, I felt zero tension or character conflict.

Currently I'm reading Theodore Roszak's Flicker, a big, metaphysical book about the dark truth hidden beneath the surface of movies. I'm more than half through it, fully intrigued, but can't help but feel it could be edited down 100 or so pages. Maybe when I'm finished I'll feel otherwise.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, August 04, 2006 - 09:24 am:   

Hmm. I didn't find Beyond Black self-pitying-- I found it funny and ironic. But each to her own :-)
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, August 04, 2006 - 09:26 am:   

I'm planning on bringing the Tiptree bio and the novel Dead Europe with me on the family cruise to Nova Scotia this Monday.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - 03:06 pm:   

Speaking of Shrieks, I wish someone would put out a more permanent/collectible edition of Jessica Salmonson's ANTHONY SHRIEK. It deserves one.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - 03:22 pm:   

No kidding. There are so many fine genre books in limbo. I'm reading Michael Bishop's BRITTLE INNINGS and I'm appalled that it's out of print.
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Jeffrey Ford
Posted on Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - 06:39 pm:   

Nathan: I tried to buy a copy at Readercon in the book room this year. There was only one, hardcover, for 50 dollars. I was told by quite a few sellers that it's not that easy to come by these days. Gordon said there was a paperback edition but it came and went really quickly.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - 07:38 pm:   

Yeah, it's a crime. Mike gave me a copy, so I got lucky there. I want to buy a few as gifts, though. Have you read it? It's beautiful, strange, sad and funny all at once. I'm still about 80 pages from the end, but unless it completely derails I think this is a minor masterpiece. I love this book.
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Jeffrey Ford
Posted on Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - 07:42 pm:   

Nathan: No I haven't read it yet, but I will before the year is out. Mike's something -- did you read his collection, Brighten to Incandescent? That's a great bunch of stories. From what he had said in an e-conversation not too long ago, I think he's been working on some new fiction, which is good news.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - 07:56 pm:   

I've read most of the collection, and I agree completely. I've been haunting used bookstores and dealers' tables trying to grab up as much of the OOP stuff as I can.

New fiction from him is good news.
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Jonathan Strahan
Posted on Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - 08:56 pm:   

I loved BRITTLE INNINGS. An extraordinary book. It's a tragedy if it's out of print. Someone somewhere should reprint it.

Just reading China Mieville's Un Lun Dun, a YA fantasy. Interesting stuff. I always wonder about stories where 12 year olds think they can change the universe, or at least the fate of some incredibly major event, and the rest of the world agrees. I mean, was I the only person watching the Narnia movie who thought they would *never* let a bunch of kids do those things.
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Robert Wexler
Posted on Wednesday, August 09, 2006 - 10:41 am:   

Hey Jeff, try half.com:

http://product.half.ebay.com/Brittle-Innings_W0QQprZ1229198QQtgZinfo

Lots of copies at various prices.

It doesn't derail Nathan. If anything, it gets sadder.

Robert
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, August 09, 2006 - 11:59 am:   

My favorite Bishop novel is STOLEN FACES. It's a great, strange otherworld tale reminiscent of Vance's planetary adventures. It's out of print but still fairly cheap at the dealer tables of conventions.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, August 09, 2006 - 02:45 pm:   

Jeff---

Mike Bishop himself is (or was) selling copies of a lot of his books, including BRITTLE INNINGS:

http://www.sff.net/bfob/files/Bishop,%20Michael.txt
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Jeffrey Ford
Posted on Wednesday, August 09, 2006 - 05:49 pm:   

Thanks, Robert and Gordon. I'll get a copy this week.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, August 12, 2006 - 08:13 pm:   

Brittle Innings is also available for a range of prices on ABE.

I started the Tiptree bio (although kept getting sidetracked by the stupid slot machines)--getting to p. 73. So far, I like it.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Monday, August 14, 2006 - 08:09 am:   

I've been on an incredible reading tear this year (up to 80 books so far, and it's only the middle of August). The most recent book I finished was Liz Williams' Snake Agent with the drool-worthy cover art by Jon Foster. It was exciting an interesting, and I enjoyed the story itself, but had some big problems with the setting. There were some (imo) incorrect assumptions about China and Singapore that were made that almost made me stop reading, though I'm glad I didn't.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Monday, August 14, 2006 - 08:11 am:   

I read Paul Witcover's Dracula: Asylum yesterday, which is part of Dark Horse's line of 1930s monster-movie spin-offs. Usually, media tie-ins aren't my thing, but I loved Witcover's Tumbling After and thought I'd see how he handles the Dracula mythos. On a sentence-by-sentence level, it's well written, and Witcover provides some horrifying scenes of WWI trench warfare.

Sadly, it can't shake the chessiness, IMO, of the central character, who is basically Bela Legosi, replete with Bulgarian accent and dinner garb. Too bad Witcover couldn't have written a novel focused exclusively on the war...but then it wouldn't be a Dracula novel. For what it is, not bad, but not good either.
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David Prill
Posted on Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - 08:11 am:   

If anyone out there is interested in picking up some Michael Bishop books and helping out a good cause at the same time, be sure to check out the upcoming Clarion Ebay Auction fundraiser. Mr. Bishop has been generous enough to donate signed copies of nine of his books, including Brittle Innings, Unicorn Mountain, Ancient of Days and many others.

For a list of the auction items: http://theclarionfoundation.org/auctionitems.htm

The auction runs from Sept. 10-Oct. 8, and there will be at least two Michael Bishop books auctioned each week.

And yes, Brittle Innings is wonderful.

Thanks, Ellen.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - 08:25 am:   

Thanks, David!
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, August 27, 2006 - 01:25 pm:   

In Secret Story, the basic motivations and character interactions started to feel more and more forced. In many of his stories, puns run under the surface of every paragraph, reinforcing the themes; but they have become so overt that I sometimes have trouble taking the story seriously. At one point I thought this was going to be a story built around the theme of "a man with no imagination...none." That kept me going for a while when the plot was losing me. But ultimately that theme didn't develop in interesting ways either. I had a similar experience with the bookshop inventory novel (The Overnight). Still, I read everything he writes, to a point. And the Darkest Part of the Woods is a modern masterpiece where he matches James and Blackwood at their game...which is not one many play these days.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, August 27, 2006 - 01:26 pm:   

I meant to slip Machen in there between M.R. James and Blackwood. Sorry, Art!
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, August 27, 2006 - 11:17 pm:   

THE LONG LOST was, for me, the one where the emergent pun/wordplay as a means of floating the theme, became most obvious but still worked beautifully. THE INFLUENCE and THE HUNGRY MOON are also favorites. For the non-supernatural tales, my favorite by a long shot is THE ONE SAFE PLACE. But I have many, many favorite short stories of his. I liked the first sections of NAZARETH HILL a lot, but it was so unrelentingly grim I ended up not enjoying it very much. I think that's one I'll go back to with better perspective one day. In some ways MIDNIGHT SUN felt like a trial run for DARKEST PART OF THE WOODS.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 - 07:52 am:   

Millipede Press, which is bringing some great books back into print (i.e. SOME OF YOUR BLOOD, FALLING ANGEL), just brought Campbell's THE FACE THAT MUST DIE back into print. I've never read it, but the packaging, with J.K. Potter illustrations, looks gorgeous. Any thoughts on that one?

THE DARKEST PART OF THE WOODS is a great October read. Definitely a "modern masterpiece."

Just wrapping up Paul Park's THE TOURMALINE, the second part of his White Tyger series. It lacks the awe inspiring touches of PRINCESS OF ROUMANIA and feels too much like a bridge novel -- come on, lets get on with it -- but it's got me anticipating the rest of the series and still expertly captures a tone of "naturalistic fantasy," where the magic and the real are delivered with the same level of earnestness. I'm not a fan of fantasy series, but this one's got me hooked.
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 - 09:08 am:   

THE FACE THAT MUST DIE is very good. I think it was his second novel and his first straight thriller. I actually don't think I've read the restored version; I believe in the Scream Press edition they put back a lot of the psychotic wordplay that got cut by a crazed editor the first time out. Always with the puns!
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 - 09:17 am:   

I just finished Sara Vowell's TAKE THE CANNOLLI. (Hey, I bought it for the plane.) I'm also trying to polish off a quickie mystery FEINT OF ART about an art-forger/crime solver, because a friend of mine repped the book. But after that, I'm looking forward to wading into THE MEDICI CONSPIRACY, about the network for stolen antiquities, and, of course, FLICKER, recommended to me by LS...
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 - 09:35 am:   

Finished FLICKER a few weeks back. I know it's a great book, but I'm beginning to think it's an awesome book, as many of its pages continue to haunt me. At times, it's an exahausting read, but always rewarding.

Marc: Thanks for your thoughts on FACE. Millipede has restored the original text, so I'm looking forward to checking it out.
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - 12:56 am:   

Speaking of Millipede Press . . . I recently ordered a copy of their edition of Fredric Brown's HERE COMES A CANDLE. Aside from a few short stories here and there, I really haven't read a whole lot of his stuff. Anybody have any thoughts on Brown in general or HERE COMES A CANDLE in particular?
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - 03:23 pm:   

Haven't read any Brown...not really sure where to start with him.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, August 31, 2006 - 10:53 am:   

WHAT MAD UNIVERSE? is the classic Brown novel. But Ballentine put out a collection, THE BEST OF FREDERICK BROWN, which is crammed with his short and short-short stories. I'd start there.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, August 31, 2006 - 10:57 am:   

I'm reading Scott Smith's THE RUINS, and so far really enjoying it, even though the freakin headline of one particular newspaper review (glimpsed in passing) spoiled the premise for me. I wish I knew less than I know already as a result of that damn spoiler. There's clever use of viewpoint and a flat, detached style that work really well in the initial stages of slowly building menace. The writing is much, much better than in A SIMPLE PLAN.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, August 31, 2006 - 10:59 am:   

Hey, Jeff, I finally read that Paul Di Filippo story about Solomon Kane, narrated by Cotton Mather: "Observable Things." I really enjoyed his Mather impersonation.
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Jeffrey Ford
Posted on Thursday, August 31, 2006 - 03:25 pm:   

Marc: I thought that "Observable Things" was such a neat idea and I agree on the young Mather voice. Glads you got a chance to check it out.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, August 31, 2006 - 03:59 pm:   

Yow. I just saw Charles Frazier's second novel after COLD MOUNTAIN, THIRTEEN MOONS, is due in October.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, September 04, 2006 - 09:43 am:   

I'm up to p. 274 in the Tiptree bio and loving every page. Fascinating.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Monday, September 04, 2006 - 10:50 am:   

I'm just about through with the Tiptree bio, too. Maybe page 350, or thereabouts. It's an amazing book. Highly recommended.
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PM
Posted on Monday, September 04, 2006 - 06:47 pm:   

That's a great resource! Thanks for sharing.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, September 04, 2006 - 10:20 pm:   

I'd never thought to mention it before--although I do link to it from my website.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 09:20 am:   

Clearly, I didn't dig in deep enough to find it...now I see it.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 01:37 pm:   

I've got a few pages left of Sarah Langan's first novel THE KEEPER, and as long as she doesn't completely drop the ball in the closing pages, I can safely say this is a pretty awesome small town, supernatural horror novel. Her depiction of real-life and fantastical horror is unflinching -- there's real, ugly pain exuded from her characters; and there're plenty of bone-chlling moments and atmospheric setpieces. To top it off, her storytelling feels effortless and the pages turn with little burden. Pretty great stuff.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 04:08 pm:   

Just finished the Tiptree bio. I loved it, although the final sentence struck me as a little bizarre. Still: great stuff. Here's hoping somebody out there starts reprinting her stuff.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 06:44 pm:   

I think I need to reread all, or most of her short stories--plus a few of the ones I missed towards the end of her life.
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Rob Davies
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 07:42 am:   

Tiptree's collection Her Smoke Rose Up Forever is a "best of". I think it is readily available.

I've been reading King's Dark Tower books. I've read the first four in a row, but need to take a breather. I reading Adam Gopnik's FROM PARIS TO THE MOON.
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 08:23 am:   

>>Tiptree's collection Her Smoke Rose Up Forever is a "best of". I think it is readily available.

Definitely. Tachyon issued it a couple of years ago in trade paperback. It's a reprint of the "best of" collection that Arkham House originally put out in hardcover in 1990, when they began moving from horror to SF under Jim Turner. I think Clute wrote the intro. It's one of the great SF collections.
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 08:37 am:   

I was reading through the entire thread and noticed Kelly Christopher Shaw asking above re Trotter's WARRENER'S BEASTIE.

I read it a couple of weeks ago and thought it was a bit of a mess but worth the effort. I already posted about it at greater length here (sorry for the cross-post):

http://p090.ezboard.com/fgambolsandfrolics54413frm7.showMessage?topicID=439.topi c
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Jamie Rosen
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 08:57 am:   

Her Smoke Rose Up Forever is available from the SFBC, as well. I also recommend Meet Me At Infinity, if you have the chance. It's a collection of rare Tiptree (and Racoona Sheldon) pieces (including at least one sf/erotica piece) and some of both Tiptree's and Sheldon's correspondence.

I'm eagerly awaiting delivery of my copy of the biography, and I'm currently debating with myself about whether or not I should buy Tiptree's poetry collection, Neat Sheets. The debate is largely because shipping costs are pretty much equal to the cost of the book itself at all of the venues I've explored.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 10:38 am:   

GabrielM: Thanks for the write-up on WARRENER'S BEASTIE. I think it'll be a while before I dive into this 800-page behemoth (there's just so much good, shorter stuff out there).
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 11:16 am:   

You can also probably get her first collection Ten Thousand Light Years From Home in paperback through abe.
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Daniel Ausema
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 12:15 pm:   

I've also been enjoying that collection of letters in F&SF (thanks, Gordon, if you stop by here). I've been a long-time fan of LeGuin, but am not familiar with Tiptree...so I definitely plan to pick up some of her works.

Currently reading THE WARRIOR PROPHET by R. Scott Bakker. Just returned ACCELERANDO to the library without finishing it. I probably could have enjoyed it, but there's only so much time in the day for reading and it wasn't drawing me in (plus I'd see the negative comments about it here). Instead got out Kelly Link's collection STRANGER THINGS HAPPEN. I'm definitely looking forward to that. From things I've heard about her stories, it's probably the type of book I'll read, return, then go buy my own copy.
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Eric Schaller
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 02:34 pm:   

The Tiptree bio is indeed fantastic, and it was amazing to see a big pile of books at the front table of our local bookstore--who would have guessed that her life would generate such interest.

All of the Tiptree collections have stories that I would have included in a "Best of"collection, but which did not make Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, so its worthwhile to seek out any and all of the collections. (examples of stories missing include; "Milk of Paradise" and "Forever to a Hudson Bay Blanket," the former being one of her best IMO)
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 07:44 pm:   

Daniel -- how do you like Bakker so far? All in all, I loved the series.
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Daniel Ausema
Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 03:24 pm:   

I like it so far. It's one I could get carried away loving and then return to in a few years and realize it's not as good as I thought. I've certainly had that happen before, so I'm resisting any urge to gush about its brilliance or any such thing. But it's very good, I can say that confidently.

Oh, and I just picked up a copy of Jeffrey Ford's THE PHYSIOGNOMY, so I'll be getting to that soon. I already read the middle book of the trilogy, which isn't the usual way to go about such things...
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 04:09 pm:   

Daniel, IMHO you're going to become fairly addicted to both Jeffrey Ford and Kelly Link...check out 'The Empire of Ice Cream' and 'Magic for Beginners' respectively.

Just re-read in time for the bio, Tiptree's 'Meet Me at Infinity', her last collection. The fiction selections aren't her best by a long shot but were great to read for the sake of completion. The letters alone are worth the price of the book. Also re-read 'Two Trains Running' and 'Floater' by Lucius Shepard. His usual trademark disaffected protagonists beseiged by numinous entities in settings of startling imagery wrapped in ambiguity. Brilliant stuff.

Next, Samuel R. Delany's 'Atlantis: Three Tales.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 05:15 pm:   

Bruce: I agree wholeheartedly about the Shepard works. He put out a slew of short novels earlier this decade (i.e. Viator, Louisiana Breakdown, etc.), all of them brilliant in their own way. I'm really looking forward to his next work, a Southern ghost story called Softspoken.
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Scott Benenati
Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 05:38 pm:   

Daniel, don't leave out Jeffrey Ford's first collection either, "THE FANTASY WRITER'S ASSISTANT AND OTHER STORIES". I've just recently finished it and "Bright Morning" has to be the best closing story I've ever read in a collection. And then there's "The Honeyed Knot", the title story, "Creation", a story that devours itself, another one that happens all at the same time, etc. I'm looking forward to reading THE EMPIRE OF ICE CREAM.

I've also read TRACKS by Louise Erdrich. I'm not sure if anybody reads her here, but she is a powerful writer, very evocative. Magic seeps in under the surface of reality slyly, almost without notice, and her images can be stunning, such as "Fleur was in the next room boiling heads."
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Daniel Ausema
Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 08:46 pm:   

Don't have to convince me! I've already read Fantasy Writer's Assistant... as well as a couple of his other novels and stories in various magazines and anthologies (I loved his story in Leviathan 3).

Actually I'm not sure I read all of the stories in Fantasy Writer's Assistant. It was a couple years ago and a library book, and I seem to remember it being due before I had time to finish. That happened with Gene Wolfe's STRANGE TRAVELERS too. And Mitchell's CLOUD ATLAS now that I think about it, though I managed to get it out again a month or so later. I skimmed the earlier discussion on that one. I'd agree that the first (and last) sections were a bit slow, the weakest in my opinion. But I loved the Riddley Walker section in the middle...and the book as a whole worked well. I noticed some plans to read his newest book, but not actual reactions--what's the scoop? Recommended?
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 09:01 pm:   

I really like BLACK SWAN GREEN, but as with you, it was due back at the library before I'd read more than the first two chapters. I intend to take it up again.

Meanwhile, I've just started SHRIEK: AN AFTERWARD, and I'll follow the trend of being complimentary to writers on this board, because so far I'm loving it. It's my cuppa.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, September 08, 2006 - 05:29 am:   

Just saw the comments on the Tiptree-Le Guin letters---you're welcome, Daniel.
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Jamie Rosen
Posted on Friday, September 08, 2006 - 07:11 am:   

My copy of the Tiptree bio came in the post yesterday, and I'm already loving it. It's the first book in ages I've been willing to read at work.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, September 10, 2006 - 05:48 pm:   

Just finished it yesterday and it was excellent.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, September 10, 2006 - 05:56 pm:   

Oh, and one thing that perplexed me: the mention of Sheila Williams being her editor at Asimov's...didn't Shawna and Gardner work with her when she published at Asimov's, not Sheila? Sheila was in production then.I suppose one could ask Gardner.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 09:54 am:   

A couple of books I finished recently and liked a lot: Laird Hunt's The Exquisite, a post-9/11 "ghost noir," and Caitlin R. Kiernan's Alabaster, about an albino demon hunter in the deep South.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 11:17 am:   

With the recent passing of Charles L. Grant, I was wondering if anyone could point me to some of his essential works? Thanks.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 01:17 pm:   

A Glow of Candles is the title of one of his collections that I have. You can read a couple of his stories at SCIFICTION:
http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/c_grant2/
http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/c_grant2/

There's a story of his in my ghost story antho The Dark. Probably one of his last.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 04:48 pm:   

"Brownie and Me"--about a man who encounters a friend who is dead.
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Mary Robinette Kowal
Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 05:21 pm:   

I just finished "Crystal Rain" by Tobias Buckell and I recommend it.

I also had a banner weekend at the fleamarket here in Reykjavik. Someone was getting rid of their entire SF collection going back to the 1940s. Amoung other finds, I now have first printing paperbacks of:
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, which was originally 35 cents.
The Planet Buyer by Cordwainer Smith, which is billed as "Something New in Science-Fiction!"
Some Will Not Die by Algis Budrys

I'm currently reading, Danger Planet by Brett Sterling.

The cover copy on Danger Planet is priceless.
"Introducing Captain Future
ONE STRONG MAN BATTLING THE GALAXIES OF EVIL"

On the back it says:
"One million years back in the swirling, shrouded past, evil ultra-beings ruled Planet Roo. Suddenly, unbelievably, they are alive again, threatening the universe with total destruction.

"Only one man dares challenge the Evil Ones. He is Captain Future, inter-galactic agent of justice, whose identity is top secret, whose strength is ultimate. He sets out alone to stop the deathless menace creeping ever closer. . ."

It's fun and pulpy. It also turns out that was given a Retro Hugo and is otherwise known as "Red Sun of Danger" by Edmond Hamilton.
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Jason D. Wittman
Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 06:39 pm:   

Just finished _Dragonstar_, by Barbara Hambly, last in her series featuring Morkeleb the Black. Very well written, with a meticulously thought-out pseudo-medieval world.

Jason
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 07:06 pm:   

Just read At the Sign of the Snowman’s Skull: Rolling Darkness Review 2006--the chapbook put out by Earthling to publicize the mini-tour of several west coast horror writers. There are originals by Glen Hirshberg, Peter Atkins, Norman Partridge, Lisa Morton, and Clay McLeod Chapman and a reprint by Dennis Etchison. I particulary liked the Atkins and Hirshberg, although they're all good. Earthling sells about fifty aside from those meant for the tour. The website says they're all sold out already and the tour's not till October!
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 07:08 pm:   

Wow. Great title!
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 08:47 pm:   

I really like the stuff Earthling's been putting out lately.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 09:24 pm:   

Yeah. American Morons, Glen's second collection will be out this month.

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