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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, September 18, 2006 - 10:17 pm:   

Sorry, the old thread was getting too long..

I'm back in YBFH reading mode. Short stories--many! Some are even good :-)
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PM
Posted on Monday, September 18, 2006 - 10:56 pm:   

Sounds like plenty for 20! Hey, I'm still mixin' 'round with #19.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - 11:00 pm:   

Well if you folk have the limited edition (THE CAT INSIDE) then I have to raise my paws to you even higher than before.

Just went over to Amazon and had my first plog experience. It was Datlow!!!
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 - 07:36 am:   

LOL! uh oh....
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PM
Posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 - 11:46 am:   

It's new school kewl to see that you're "all over the place" using these various opportunities online to communicate with others...
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Bob Urell
Posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 - 04:03 pm:   

Reading: Jeff Ford's THE GIRL IN THE GLASS and THE FANTASY WRITER'S ASSISTANT, Lucius's ETERNITY AND OTHER STORIES, Musashi's BOOK OF FIVE RINGS and Marquez's 100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE. Heavy week.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 12:13 pm:   

Recently finished Straub's Ghost Story. I enjoyed the first 300 or so pages, until it devolved into a typical action-horror climax (reminiscent of countless works by Stephen King). Of the Straub works I've encountered (4 other novels, 2 short story collections), this is without a doubt my least favorite.
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 02:16 pm:   

I just finished Ellen Kushner's "Privelege of the Sword" which was wonderful, and am now reading Gene Wolfe's "Peace", which has started out quite good. I've tried to read it in the past and just could never sink into it, but now I'm sinking fairly fast.

Oh, before Ellen Kushner's novel, I read "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by Milan Kundera, which was amazing--again another book I'd tried to read in the past and couldn't get into, but for some reason I read it in only a couple of days, nearly swallowing it whole.
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PM
Posted on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 02:46 pm:   

PEACE and Kundera are wonderful.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 03:22 pm:   

I love Straub's Shadowland--it reminds me of Fowles' The Magus.
I'm in the middle of Dead Europe, a Greek Australian novel that was highly recommended when I was over there. It's very good so far. Not really genre, although there seems to be a curse and some ghosts--possibly.
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Alan Yee
Posted on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 05:55 pm:   

I'm reading The Burning Land by Victoria Strauss. I actually know her because of her work with Writer Beware, so it was my thank you to her for being so helpful. It's very interesting so far, and hopefully I can finish it sometime soon.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 07:17 pm:   

Nathan,
Jim Baker said the same thing about World War Z. I liked his Zombie Survival Guide from last year.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 07:42 pm:   

I did too. I think it's the better book.
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Richard Bowes
Posted on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 08:53 pm:   

Nathan -Part of the thrill of getting the Lambda was knowing that it was the same award that China Mountain Zhang had won.

It's also, in part, a marvelous future New York novel.
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Dflewis
Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 - 08:44 am:   

I've just started 'Terrorist' by John Updike. Matchless prose, as ever.
Also 'Solstice' by Joyce Carol Oates and 'The Boy With No Shoes' by William Horwood. The latter is a very haunting fictionalised work describing the author's real boyhood in fifties England, which sort of resonates with mine!
des
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 - 10:24 am:   

I preordered McCarthy's THE ROAD yesterday, hoping it arrives before a flight I've got to take on Sunday.

The two recent Straub novels were very effective; I liked them a lot, and the first especially was incredibly creepy. I took it partly as a far more concise take on HOUSE OF LEAVES.
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 - 10:32 am:   

Nathan, I'll definitely pick up Immortality next then. Thanks for the suggestion. And I've been meaning to read his Art of the Novel for a while now actually.

China Mountain Zhang is wonderful, and not only is it a cool future New York novel, but future Mars and future China novel as well. I'd call that book a mosaic novel, probably one of the first that the genre consciously generated (as opposed to fix-up novels, where it's really just a bunch of short stories that aren't really connected but the writer forces themselves to fix them up with connections put in after already writing them as separate entities).
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GabrielM
Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 - 01:23 pm:   

I've been reading THE ROAD. Beautifully written, extraordinarily bleak.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 - 01:27 pm:   

Chris,
The Wild Card series edited by George R. R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass was conceived as a mosaic novel.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 - 01:47 pm:   

Steve Erickson's review in the LA Times, calling it one of McCarthy's best, is what finally made me go ahead and preorder. Looks like it shipped this morning.

And then in a week, Charles Frazier's new one, THIRTEEN MOONS.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 - 01:48 pm:   

I keep recalling how much I enjoyed Stephen Wright's AMALGAMATION POLKA. I knew I was liking it at the time, but I didn't realize it would stay with me quite as much as it has.
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 - 02:07 pm:   

I haven't read anything in that series, Ellen. Is it hard to pick them up?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, October 01, 2006 - 09:29 am:   

I'm really only posting because it's so quiiiiet in here that it's scary :-( . I read a very good Stephen King story yesterday in the magazine Tin House. There's also a good Steven Millhauser. The King is dark and very moving. The Millhauser weird.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Sunday, October 01, 2006 - 10:33 am:   

Thanks for the head's up on the King and Millhauser, Ellen.

I'm currently making my way through Gaiman's new collection Fragile Things, which varies from brilliant to unnecessary (I could do without the smattering of poems). But "Closing Time," "Bitter Grounds," "Feeders and Eaters," and "Keepsakes and Treasures" are all dark masterpieces that make the book an essential read. With 100 pages to go, I hope to come across a few more gems.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Sunday, October 01, 2006 - 05:50 pm:   

Nathan: Oh yeah, that's a good one too. Very Bradbury -- sad, nostalgic, and perfect for the Halloween season.
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Richard R. Horton
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 04:29 am:   

There's another kind of weird Millhauser story in the new American Scholar. I liked both the Tin House stories you mentioned (plus "Obo" by Antonya Nelson (I think), pure mainstream about a rather messed up young woman visiting her professor's family for a holiday.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 01:34 pm:   

I skimmed that one too and yeah it's good. I'll alert Kelly & Gavin to the Millhauser ( I assume it's more weird fantasy than horror)?
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 05:20 pm:   

I read THE ROAD a few days ago on a long plane flight and then finished it that night. It gave me bad dreams. A phantasmagoria in shades of gray and black. Most postholocaust novels are somehow relieved by the inclusion of fantastic details, mutants or cool cobbled-together technologies. This one is unrelieved bleakness. I found it very powerful and it has proven haunting.

After that I knocked around in the stories of Joyce Carol Oates's American Gothic collection, which I picked up mainly for Nicholson Baker's potato story, "Subsoil." Lots of great stories in there. Really dug the Melville, "Tartarus of Maids."
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Richard R. Horton
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 05:36 pm:   

"The Dome" is the new Millhauser story, in The American Scholar for Fall. It's definitely not horror -- closer to weird Science Fiction, really, about putting domes over individual houses and eventually over the entire U. S. (Compare and contrast with Jack Williamson's little-known novel Dome Around America, eh?)

I think it's OK work, but not at all Millhauser at his best. The best Millhauser story I've read this year is "Eisenheim the Illusionist" in Zoetrope, source material for the new film THE ILLUSIONIST, but it turns out that's a reprint from several years ago.

-- I read Baker's "Subsoil" on its first appearance in the New Yorker a long time ago. Good story. Alas, Baker, though always an intriguing writer, has never to my mind surpassed his first novel, The Mezzanine, mind you a brilliant work.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 08:19 pm:   

I had to look up "Subsoil" after recommending it to you...just to reassure myself that it was good. It is. It's also really funny.

Agreed on THE MEZZANINE. I still keep a copy of the uproarious chapters about men's room etiquette and pass them around from time to time.

Lucius described THE ROAD as a graphic novel. It's stark and simple in some ways, but deceptively so, I think. There are quite a few things that seemed clear and obvious at first; but now I'm starting to notice some things I missed, percolating up. I admit there were a few times I found myself thinking of LONE WOLF AND CUB...with a shopping cart instead of a baby cart.
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Jeffrey Ford
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 09:04 pm:   

Marc: You knew that that Melville has a companion piece? "The Paradise of Bachelors." Haven't gotten to the LI stories yet, but will very soon.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 09:25 pm:   

Rich, Terri picked "Eisenheim the Illusionist" for YBFH back in 1989,when it was published.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 09:26 pm:   

Interestingly, a friend today was raving about Scott Smith's The Ruins and says everyone he lent it to, loved it, too. So... I guess I've got to at least take a look when I have a chance.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 08:16 am:   

Jeff, I'll have to dig that up...I noticed Oates mentioned that in the intro. Man, what fevered prose!
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 09:21 pm:   

Read it! Read it!
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 10:37 pm:   

I just read the Peter Beagle story in Salon Fantastique tonight. It was SO GOOD! To be honest, I've always thought myself not a reader of the type of fantasy Beagle writes, but I loved this story so much I want to go out and pick up some of his work again and give it another shot. If anyone has recommendations, I'd love to hear them.
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Richard Bowes
Posted on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 11:43 am:   

Chris:

Two Hearts, which kind of marks Peter Beagle's return is in the Strahan "Fantasy, The Very Best Of 2005". I assume you've seen that since you're in that anthology too. That is a kind of sequel to his novel "The Last Unicorn".
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 02:45 pm:   

I agree. "Two Hearts" is lovely.
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 04:27 pm:   

I think I'll want to read "The Last Unicorn" first, before reading its sequel. What I've found out is that "Chandail" comes from another world he sets stories in, which he started with his book "The Innkeeper's Song", so I'll probably read that and "The Last Unicorn" before "Two Hearts", just so I don't feel cheated by sequence. Or is "Two Hearts" still resonant without having read "The Last Unicorn"? Actually, I think I read it when I was really young, but it's sort of vague in my memory at this point.
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Richard Bowes
Posted on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 05:09 pm:   

Two Hearts works well even if you haven't read Last Unicorn. It's turned people on to the earlier novel. I think you'll love it.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 - 01:00 pm:   

I haven't read The Last Unicorn for years, and still loved "Two Hearts."
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 - 03:02 pm:   

Okay, I think you've all convinced me to read "Two Hearts" before going back to "The Last Unicorn". ;-)
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 03:43 pm:   

You were all right. "Two Hearts" was wonderful without having gone back to reread "The Last Unicorn". I really like this direction Beagle's work is going in. I will, however, admit that I think "Chandail" is perhaps even a little bit more enjoyable than "Two Hearts". The scenes with the narrator dragging the creature out to sea to try and heal it were breathtakingly good.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 08:11 pm:   

Terri and I have just bought a middle grade story from Peter for our fairy tale villain anthology. It's called "Up the Down Beanstalk"--very cute.
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ben peek
Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 10:02 pm:   

i just finished reading david wellington's MONSTER ISLAND: A ZOMBIE NOVEL. it wasn't my normal thing, but i read a sample of it, and it sounded stylish and cool, and ever since charlie huston's vampire-noir-chandleresque ALREADY DEAD, i've been thinking i should give this stuff a few more goes.

wellington's book is stylish in a light way, but not enough to cover the fact that the whole thing is a bit of a yawn. should've skipped, i guess. if zombie novels are your thing, i reckon this might rank pretty high, but if not, then nah.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 10:13 pm:   

I thought it was fun (although I didn't care for the ending).
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ben peek
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 03:47 am:   

i didn't mind the ending, but by that time, i was kinda over it. really, i just reckon it wasn't my deal.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 07:08 pm:   

Ben: Charlie Huston's second vampire-noir novel, NO DOMINION, is out this December.

Speaking of vampire novels, I recently read Theodore Sturgeon's SOME OF YOUR BLOOD, a realistic rendition of the vampire mythos. In fact, one could argue there's nothing fantastical about the book at all. Overall, pretty intense, even if some of the colloquial language (it's told through journal entries and letters) gets in the way of the story.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 09:38 am:   

I'd put THE GOLDEN, 'SALEM'S LOT and DRACULA as the few vampire novels worth reading.

I think 'SALEM'S LOT probably holds up pretty well. I was also in high school when I read it. I still remember the one nightmare it gave me, of a school bus full of dead kids driving around town, all of them staring out the windows, looking for me.
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 05:05 pm:   

kelly: yeah, i know. i'm all up for NO DOMINION. ALREADY DEAD was just a fun little book with some nice twists--the girlfriend with aids, for example, and their fear of sex.

have you read huston's other books? i've been tempted, gotta say.

THE GOLDEN gets the nod from me, too, btw.
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Matthew Ilseman
Posted on Friday, October 13, 2006 - 05:54 am:   

Currently for the Halloween season I am reading One Lonsome October by Roger Zelazny. I am also reading On Blue's Waters by Gene Wolfe.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Friday, October 13, 2006 - 06:16 am:   

Ben: I've only read ALREADY DEAD. I've thought of trying his other works, too, but so far I've decided to stick to his vampire books.

Currently reading Michael Bishop's WHO MADE STEVIE CRYE?, a weird horror novel about a possessed typewriter, a vampiric monkey, and a widowed mother raising two kids. It's the first Bishop I've read, so I'll definitely need to move on to BRITTLE INNINGS from here. Aside from these two works, has Bishop written any other books of interest to the contemporary fantasy/dark fantasy/horror reader?
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, October 13, 2006 - 11:09 am:   

Interesting piece about where Cormac McCarthy has been hanging out lately.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.10/posts.html?pg=3
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Matthew Ilseman
Posted on Saturday, October 14, 2006 - 07:42 am:   

I just finished Lonsome October and it was a lot of fun a lot of twists and turns and shifting alliances. A few darkly whymiscal moments too.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, October 15, 2006 - 06:14 pm:   

I finally finished Dead Europe by Christos Tsiolkas and heartily recommend it. It's about a gay Greco-Australian photographer who travels to Europe for a photography show and what he encounters. There are ghosts, a curse, a vampire (maybe)...published by Vintage Australia in trade paperback.
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Daniel Ausema
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 08:37 am:   

Matthew, how is ON BLUE'S WATERS? I've been on a bit of a Wolfe kick the past half year or so in between everything else. I was debating which series to go with next and decided on Knight Wizard--just finished Knight a couple days ago.

For some reason I feel almost guilty admitting it here, but I love Jasper Fforde's books and just finished THE FOURTH BEAR last night. If you're looking for intelligent genre humor, he's well worth a read (either the Nursery Crimes books or the Thursday Next books).

Next up, KUSHIEL'S SCION, the fourth AMBER book by Zelazny (I was feeling a bit culturally ignorant that I hadn't read them), and a whole slew of short stories in various collections, magazines and anthologies.
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PM
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 09:02 am:   

Enjoyed ON BLUE's WATERS much better than the second series (LONG SUN).

As was the case with the LONG SUN series, the books improve. However, RETURN TO THE WHORL has embarrasingly, slap in your face, typos and proofing errors.

And just to let us know that they still can do it, the mass market Wizard has a page promo for the upcoming SOLDIER OF SIDON written by Gene Wolf! Misspelled in his own damn book.

Don't know what's going on over at TOR[E]/ORB[E] books*




*Oh it must be an artistic reference to plan[et] engineering :-)
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 08:48 pm:   

THIRTEEN MOONS, so far, loosely structured, highly readable. Something I pick up and read in spare moments to pass the time.
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Matthew Ilseman
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 05:55 am:   

Yeah, I liked Long Sun but I already think that Short Sun is going to be better. I've just started In Green's Jungles. My favorite series is still The Book of the New Sun, though I must say I like Silk and Horn better than I do Severian.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 09:32 am:   

Supposedly Aronofsky has picked up a film option on THE ROAD, interesting given its similarity to his previously optioned (but unremade) LONE WOLF AND CUB.
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Craig L. Gidney
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 01:58 pm:   

I recently finished Witcover's TUMBLING AFTER. I liked both plots and found the ending nicely shocking.

I've also read a large portion of the Theodora Goss collection.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 03:57 pm:   

Marc,
What's Lone Wolf and Cub?
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 12:28 am:   

It's a manga series that was made into a handful of fantastic horrific samurai revenge films, the Baby Cart series. The first few of these are really great. The director changed after a while and there was a downgrade in quality in the last film or two. They are famous for being gory, but I'm fairly squeamish and they didn't bother me.
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Matthew Ilseman
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 05:48 am:   

I've read most of the Lone Wolf and Cub manga. It's about the former executioner for the Shogun, who after being framed for treason becomes a wandering assassin. He takes along his son (the rest of his family being murdered) with him in a baby cart full of hidden weapons. It is quite gory and has fairly graphic depiction of sex, but is also quite good.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 07:51 am:   

Thanks. The movie of it sound kind of interesting.
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Jeffrey Ford
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 08:17 am:   

To my taste, both Blue Kansas Sky and Brighten to Incandescent are excellent collections.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 08:21 am:   

Thanks GabrielM. Of the few Arkham editions I own, I'm really impressed with their quality of paper and binding. So I'll definitely look for those Bishop collections.

My final verdict on STEVIE CRYE: It never really lives up to its set-up and peters out at the end, but it's still worth a look.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 08:29 am:   

Here are some collections I've recently read for YBFH #20:

The Lost District and Other Stories by Joel Lane (Night Shade), the author’s second collection, is filled with exquisitely imagined stories of urban decay and despair. Twenty-four stories (six new ones)--Readers who can handle it are in for a treat.

Basic Black: Tales of Appropriate Fear by Terry Dowling (Cemetery Dance) is the fifth collection by Dowling. Seven of the eighteen stories in the collection were chosen reprinted in YBFH (one for the fantasy side) and one (and possibly both) of the two originals will be reprinted in YBFH #20.

American Morons by Glen Hirshberg (Earthling Publications) is the author’s second collection and has seven stories and novelettes in it, including two previously reprinted in our Year’s Best anthologies. Hirshberg knows what he’s doing and continues to entertain and disturb with his marvelous short stories. The three originals are excellent.

Destinations Unknown by Gary A. Braunbeck (Cemetery Dance) has two short stories and a novella all centering around the road. The richly detailed novella “The Ballad of Road Mama and Daddy Bliss” creates a new mythology of the road as a God and the sacrifices it demands.

Unbecoming: and other tales of horror by Mike O’Driscoll (Elastic Press, UK) is a terrific first collection-- One of the thirteen stories appears for the first time and it’s a good one.

I've also started Delia Sherman's novel Changeling because I loved her reading of an excerpt last month at KGB. It's utterly charming.
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Jason D. Wittman
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 12:50 pm:   

Just finished The Black Dahlia, by James Ellroy. Not for the faint of heart, but I liked it.

Jason
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 01:08 pm:   

The Big Nowhere is my favorite of the Black Dahlia/LA Confidential/Big Nowhere cluster. Some great moments of horror.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 09:57 pm:   

Yeah, Lane is extraordinarily bleak.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2006 - 06:26 am:   

For me, Lane's extraordinary bleakness is a flaw. I read the first half of his new collection and, after realizing he only deals in one game, decided to put it down. Williams, on the other hand, has a richer imagination than Lane, so his bleak stories don't feel redundant.
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GabrielM
Posted on Friday, October 20, 2006 - 12:03 am:   

>>For me, Lane's extraordinary bleakness is a flaw. I read the first half of his new collection and, after realizing he only deals in one game, decided to put it down. Williams, on the other hand, has a richer imagination than Lane, so his bleak stories don't feel redundant.


I'm with you, actually. I'd read some of Lane's stories in TTA and other places and really liked them, he mines an interesting territory between Aickman and Ligotti. When you put the pieces together in a collection, however, there is a sameness that results in the whole being somewhat less than the sum of its parts. The result can be a bit tedious. I admit part of the problem might have been reading it around the same time as Joe Hill's collection, one of whose virtues is an impressive diversity of styles and tropes.

On the other hand, I was so impressed by Conrad Williams's LONDON REVENANT I'll be certain to read whatever else he writes from now on.
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GabrielM
Posted on Friday, October 20, 2006 - 12:15 am:   

>>I *love* Arkham House. I'm a proud owner of many of their books: Lovecraft, Smith, Ballard, and a few others.


I'm a pretty devoted Arkham collector. I have all their books from 1970 on and most of their books from before then, including their first publication (Lovecraft's THE OUTSIDER AND OTHERS), all their Clark Ashton Smith collections, their RE Howard, Donald Wandrei and William Hope Hodgson collections, and so on. Still a few missing though. And they're still publishing, in fact they recently announced a new book of stories based on Poe:

http://www.arkhamhouse.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=arkhamhouse&P roduct_Code=0-87054-185-4
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Friday, October 20, 2006 - 07:51 am:   

GabrielM: Like you, after reading Williams' unheralded masterpiece of contemporary dark fantasy/horror LONDON REVENANT, I'll follow him anywhere he goes.

You probably already know, but Earthling just released Williams' new horror novel THE UNBLEMISHED (great title!), part homage to the 80s horror novels of Straub and Campbell. Unfortunately, you have to order it directly through the publisher, and the cheapest edition is $45. My copy should arrive any day.

Laird: I'm probably speaking for almost everybody on this board – great news about the collection! It can't come soon enough.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - 07:44 am:   

Rereading Cormac McCarthy's THE ORCHARD KEEPER. Gorgeous prose, amazing scenes. I'm not sure why I found it so hard the first time through...I must have been rushing. And in his very first book, I came across an image straight out of THE ROAD, deliberately stated: Two fugitives from Armageddon, a man and a boy. May have to reread some of the others now.
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Dflewis
Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - 08:57 am:   

THE LADIES OF GRACE ADIEU by Susanna Clarke.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - 02:12 pm:   

THE KEEP by Jennifer Egan.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - 04:59 pm:   

Recently: Didn't care for David Sutton's first collection of conventional horror tales CLINICALLY DEAD, liked Dan Simmons' old-fashioned psychological ghost story A WINTER HAUNTING until the end, and, with a third to go, am loving every disuturbing, perverse, imaginative bite of Conrad Williams's latest horror opus THE UNBLEMISHED. Williams, I am now convinced, is the most exciting voice that the horror genre has produced since Clive Barker. This guy's prose, to borrow an overused metaphor, cuts like a scalpel and his imagination is fearless -- nothing is taboo for this author. I can't recommend THE UNBLEMISHED too highly.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - 07:47 pm:   

I'm hoping to get The Unblemished from PS soon.

I also gave up begging DD for a review copy of The Stolen Child and bought it on amazon. Don't know when I'll actually get to read it though.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2006 - 11:11 am:   

Found a copy of USE ONCE, THEN DESTROY and I've got LONDON REVENANT coming. Meanwhile, I'm just getting started on THE LADIES OF GRACE-ADIEU...I'm very pleased to return to the world of the Raven King. And for some light reading, the recent history of al-Qaeda, THE LOOMING TOWER, is excellent.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2006 - 11:33 am:   

Just finished:

Three Days to Never: Tim Powers---Brilliant!
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: Haruki Murakami---O.K.
The Empire of Ice Cream: Jeffrey Ford [re-read]---Supoib!
Lisey's Story: Stephen King---Revisits old ground, better than average

On deck - Shriek: An Afterward: Jeff Vandermeer

Coming from Oz on swift wings - Red Spikes: Margo Lanagan [Yaaay!!]
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2006 - 12:53 pm:   

Bruce: Currently reading LISEY'S STORY. So far I'm not convinced the story deserves 500 pages, but I'm enjoying it.

Before that, more Conrad Williams: the novella GAME, which is a relentless piece of noir-horror.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2006 - 02:11 pm:   

Hi Kelly, it did seem overlong for work thematically identical to a hybrid of 'Rose Madder' and 'Secret Window, Secret Garden'...look forward to reading your take.
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, November 13, 2006 - 11:05 am:   

Just read my first Conrad Williams story, "The Machine." Encountering a new author with a distinctive voice is a bit like landing on an alien planet, but one I've already encountered in dreams. A skin reminiscent of Campbell and Aickman, but with rusted shards of something new poking through. Occurs to me that sometime could easily do an entire collection of horror stories set at the seaside.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Monday, November 13, 2006 - 11:36 am:   

Marc: Welcome to the Williams' club!
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Laird Barron
Posted on Monday, November 13, 2006 - 04:17 pm:   

Yeah, I preached the goodness of the word of CW at a WF panel.

Use Once, Then Destroy is terrific
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, November 13, 2006 - 05:25 pm:   

And some think he's too depressing. Tsk tsk.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - 06:37 am:   

Laird: I heard the panel you were on at WFC was a good one, preaching not only about Williams but Ramsey Campbell, too. Do you know if anyone posted a transcription or recap of that panel?
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - 10:15 am:   

Just read CW's "Supple Bodies." Another neat one, with its final paragraph a very close echo, certainly not accidental, of Ramsey Campbell's "Potential"--enough so that I recognized the homage even though I haven't read that story in more than 20 years. Clearly, line by line, the way he works up and aligns images with great deliberation, he's learned a lot from studying Campbell.
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Laird Barron
Posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - 04:43 pm:   

Kelly:

Good to hear the panel was well-received. Tina Jens did a nice job moderating.

Stephen Jones championed Campbell, although I got the impression he thought well of Williams.

I haven't heard anything about a blog recap...I believe the proceedings were taped, but have no idea who, if anyone, might have a transcription. Perhaps the WFC organizers...

Best regards,

Laird
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 06:17 am:   

Thanks for the info, Laird.
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Matthew Ilseman
Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2006 - 02:44 pm:   

Let's see, I've just finished Casino Royale. Interestingly enough James Bond doesn't seem to be that competant in the first novel of the series. Though I imagine that it was the events of the book that drove him to become so.

I'm reading A Prelude to a Certain Midnight by Gerald Kersh. A novel set in London about the rape and murder of a young girl that does not at first come across dark and gritty. Really intriguing.

Also I'm reading Return to Whorl by Gene Wolfe. It's brillant like everything Wolfe writes.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2006 - 03:22 pm:   

The Kersh sounds great. Of his novels, I've only read FOWLER'S END (a hilarious story of a seedy London cinema) and THE SECRET MASTERS (a classic global conspiracy tale).
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2006 - 07:45 pm:   

I finished Jennifer Egan's THE KEEP on the plane to Portland...and I loved it. For most of the book I wonder where's the horror? What's so dark about this? But the last third of the book is brilliantly complex and satisfying (and darkish).
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, November 25, 2006 - 10:47 am:   

Pynchon's new one, AGAINST THE DAY, is hilarious and easy on the eye. So far. VINELAND started off that way, and eventually lost me, but I'm really enjoying it so far.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Saturday, November 25, 2006 - 08:47 pm:   

Both HOUSE OF LEAVES and PEOPLE OF PAPER have been haunting me for months, if not years, from my To Read pile.

Recently finished Norman Partidge's DARK HARVEST, a lean horror novel that would have been better if fleshed out another 100 pages. Dabbled in Zoran Zivkovic's IMPOSSIBLE STORIES; the first story suite, "Time Gifts," didn't impress, seeming too redudant in plot, POV, and style. And I'm now on the tail end of Brian Evenson's THE OPEN CURTAIN, a truly unsettling novel about the violence inherent in Morman doctrine, which taps into a real-life brutal turn-of-the-20th-century murder -- highly recommended.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 11:12 am:   

The latest:

'Red Spikes' by Margo Lanagan. Her third brilliant collection. Can't wait to see what her next novel will be like. Check out Nick Gever's articulate review in Locus, then order her book.

'Hannibal Rising' by Thomas Harris. Should've been called 'Hannibal Lite'. Pretty thin stuff, it reads like a Xerox of a Xerox of Trevanian's 'Shibumi' - which is light years superior. {Ultra-smart prodigy defined by Japanese culture and imbued with a gift for languages survives a tough childhood and kills people for fun [Hannibal] or profit [Nicholai Hel]}.

Next up: 'Soldier of Sidon' by Gene Wolfe and 'In the Forest of Forgetting' by Theodora Goss.

The good news: next year sees the third John Burdett 'Bangkok' novel, 'Bangkok Haunts' and another Renko novel by Martin Cruz Smith, 'Stalin's Ghost'.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 11:27 am:   

Yes, I liked Red Spikes and took "Winkie" from it for YBFH.

I started Conrad Williams' novel Unblemished and like it a lot so far. Pretty brutal.

And don't forget, Wm Gibson has a new novel coming out in 07. Very much looking forward to the two you mention above.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 11:34 am:   

Thanks for the tip on Burdett, Ellen. The first two books are terrific. I haven't read his earlier novels but plan to when time permits.

Yes, looking forward to Gibson's 'Spook Country'. I quite enjoyed 'Pattern Recognition'.

Next year looks great. A new Gene Wolfe novel and F&SF tribute, three new works from Lucius Shepard [so far], maybe Michael Swanwick's new novel and major stuff from Kelly Link, Ian R. MacLeod, Greg Egan and much else.
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Michael Kelly
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 11:47 am:   

I'm currently reading Murakami's latest collection, Bling Willow, Sleeping Woman, and enjoying it, but not as much as I'd hoped I would. If that makes any sense.

Also picking my way through several horror anthologies, chiefly: Alone on the Darkside, Dark Arts, and Year's Best Fantasy & Horror #19.
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Michael Kelly
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 11:55 am:   

Um, that should read "Blind Willow," not "Bling." I'm sure that's an entirely different book.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 12:12 pm:   

Bruce,
I hadn't realized Burdett had written other novels. Just looked them up--legal thrillers. If you do read them and like them let us know.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 12:27 pm:   

Mark, I enjoyed 'The Elephant Vanishes' and 'After the Quake' far more than Murakami's latest collection. I can't say there were stories I liked as much as 'The Second Bakery Attack' or 'Super-Frog Saves Tokyo' which is what I'd been hoping for. Have you tried the 'other' Murakami, Ryu? 'Coin Locker Babies' is worth a look.

Ellen, I'll be sure to do so. They've got to be better than Grisham's latest mail-in atrocities.
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Michael Kelly
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 01:11 pm:   

Bruce, I've not tried Ryu Murakami. "Kafka on the Shore" was the best book I read this year. Mind you, I didn't read nearly as many books as I normally do.
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Jeff VanderMeer
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 02:01 pm:   

Really loved Unblemished, Ellen!

Right now I am reading the following:

The Wizard of the Crow by a Kenyan author
Gravity's Rainbow by Pynchon (finally got past page 5!!)
Little, Big (a re-read)

I plan on finishing them all by the end of the year.

JeffV
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 - 01:04 pm:   

For some reason I picked up a Wilbur Smith novel before a plane trip a couple weeks ago--THE SEVENTH SCROLL. It's what you'd call a crackling adventure story, which is refreshing. It's a bit cheesy to start with, but the writing gets better as it goes along; and the locales are totally unfamiliar to me. Coptic temples hiding ancient Egyptian secrets in the gorges of Ethiopia...vivid and violent archaeology. Meanwhile, I found RIVER GOD on tape and I'm listening to that as I drive. Colorful, sadistic, exceedingly gory--fun stuff. There's a particular type of Wilbur Smith reader who used to come into the various bookstores where I've worked...they share some features of the Louis Lamour die-hard, tending to be elderly men. I guess I'm growing into one.

Just picked up HANNIBAL LITE for a quick read. I'm really not expecting much from it.

And I recently finished THE LOOMING TOWER, which is highly recommended.

I've stalled out on AGAINST THE DAY. I mean...I read about 40 pages and just hit full stop. I'm already confused about who is who, and I can't believe I'll ever care what happens to any of these quickly-vibrating cartoon characters. I need to be in a different mood for it, I guess. Right now there's a bunch of conspiratorial electrical industry stuff kicking into action, which has been done to death, and never better than by William Vollmann in YOU BRIGHT AND RISEN ANGELS.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 - 03:45 pm:   

Sorry, Michael. I'd meant you, of couse.

Liked the alterate title, 'Bling Woman, Weeping Willow'. Or something like that.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 - 04:28 pm:   

Yeah, Bruce, Shibumi sounds really cool...I've been thinking about it ever since reading your description. I'm going to hunt it down. Lecter meets Mishima?
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 - 04:44 pm:   

Nope, more like a J. G. Ballard meets Ian Fleming effort!

Trevanian was quite an enigma; he never granted an interview, no book tours, etc. He wrote 'The Eiger Sanction' as a spoof on Bond and was mildly perplexed when it became a best-seller. 'Shibumi' finished a four book contract he had, and he made the super assassin of terrorists a spelunker rather than a mountain-climber. It sold a few million copies to Trevanian's bemusement.

I'd recommend Trevanian's 'The Main' as well...a moody police procedural in Montreal with a dying cop solving a final murder on his turf.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 - 05:31 pm:   

I love my library. I just ordered a copy to be delivered to my branch. Looks like the Harris will take about 15 minutes to read. The opening chapters seem incredibly slapdash. I'm thinking, "Surely, he can't mean it to be read like that...how am I supposed to parse this?" Maybe it's genius.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 - 09:53 pm:   

Ellen, 'Winkie' was an especially nasty spin of Wee Willie Winkie. The guy's just got to rethink his wardrobe and taste in snacks. Great selection for YBFH, IMHO.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 08:32 am:   

Bruce, yes he is Marc Laidlaw.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 12:05 pm:   

Ellen, I just finished Thomas Tessier's FINISHING TOUCHES, a dark horror novel I remember you lauding here before. Pretty disturbing stuff, and a fine piece of first-person narration.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 12:10 pm:   

Kelly,
I'm delighted that you liked it. It's one of my all time favorite horror novels.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 01:15 pm:   

Thanks for clarifying that, Ellen. I'd vaguely recalled that MarcL = Marc Laidlaw from last year.

I definitely recall 'A Hiss of Dragon' co-written with Gregory Benford from an old Terry Carr BSF and enjoyed it, as well as 'The 37th Mandala'.
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Mike McLatchey
Posted on Monday, December 18, 2006 - 09:22 am:   

I really dug The 37th Mandala myself, great book.
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MarcL
Posted on Monday, December 18, 2006 - 12:12 pm:   

Yes, Ellen is right...thanks for the nice comments. Sorry for long silence...we're in Pacific Northwest and among the last quarter million or so still without power. I'm at work now. Actually, for the last few nights I've been reading HANNIBAL RISING by lantern light. I'm sorry I dug into the first few chapters so hard, because I've changed my opinion, and I'm really enjoying it, even with the added eyestrain. I really didn't expect to give a shit about young Lecter, but it's a cool book. I'm still looking forward to SHIBUMI though! There's a trailer online for the movie of HANNIBAL RISING, a European production, and given that the story starts in Lithuania and moves to Paris, that'll probably be a good thing. Better than Americans with bad Euro-accents anyway.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, December 18, 2006 - 03:14 pm:   

Gotta get Hannibal!
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Laird Barron
Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - 09:37 am:   

I recently finished a second reading of Cemetery Dance #55 (by candlelight, thanks to mother nature).

Darren Speegle's "Secrets and Silken Threads" demonstrates his customary excellence.

However, Stephen Graham Jones's darksome "Raphael" steals the show. I think it must be among the best pieces of short fiction from 2006; certainly one of my favorites.
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Michael Kelly
Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - 09:51 am:   

Laird,

A second reading? Must be a good issue. Perhaps the candlelight helped. :-)

I used to read CD all the time, but have not really enjoyed the magazine the past few years. I still like the columns and reviews, but the fiction has been very hit and/or miss for me. But I'll pick up this issue on your recommendation.

When do we get to see a Laird Barron tale in the pages of CD?
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - 09:56 am:   

Laird (or anyone, for that matter),

Have you read Jones' Demon Theory? It's a kind of meta-fictional horror tale that sounds kind of interesting (I believe its plot is a movie-within-a-movie, or something like that). Haven't seen many reviews of it though.
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Laird Barron
Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - 10:22 am:   

Michael:

I think this one is hit or miss too (JT Petty's "Grapefruit Spoons" is pretty effective as well), but the Speegle & Jones are not to be missed.

I hope to try CD with something one of these days. Maybe after I finish my current projects...

Kelly:

"Raphael" is my first encounter with Jones. I'll look up more without hesitation.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - 10:28 am:   

Thanks Laird.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - 10:37 am:   

Just read Theodora Goss's collection, 'In the Forest of Forgetting'. A tough though pleasurable thought experiment is trying to decide whose next book I'd grab first, her's, Margo Lanagan's or Kelly Link's.

Re-read Gene Wolfe's 'The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories' as a prelude to 'Soldier of Sidon'. Still one of the finest collections ever produced, IMHO.
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Michael Kelly
Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - 11:11 am:   

Laird,

Thanks! There are a bunch of Jones's stories on his website.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - 11:28 am:   

Bruce, if you'd like to add a greater degree of difficulty to your experiment, I suggest adding M. Rickert's collection.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - 02:38 pm:   

Laird and others--I agree completely about "Raphael." It's on my YFBH 20 short list (which means I go back to it when I make final decisions). I also like the Petty, the Speegle, and the Richards from #55. It's their strongest issue in a long time.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - 02:47 pm:   

I've been finishing SIDON for quite some time now. (I have difficulty reading the same book hours at a time and day after day.)
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - 03:09 pm:   

Kelly, I gather 'Map of Dreams' is the latest great collection from NS's friends at GG. Looking forward to it.
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Michael Kelly
Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 - 04:03 pm:   

That is a good tale, to be sure. And, as far as I know, the author remains anonymous.

Another good metafictional (though not really horror) tale, is this one:

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2005/20050207/coffee-cup-f.shtml
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Dflewis
Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - 01:08 am:   

Thanks for reading 'The Vanishing Life and Films of Emmanuel Escobada' by a wonderful writer called Anonymous.
It's honestly a classic. But I am its biased publisher! :-)

des
http://www.nemonymous.com
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ben peek
Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - 01:50 am:   

i read james morrow's latest, THE LAST WITCHFINDER, and really dug it. i think it might stand as the best thing of his i've read.
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Darren
Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - 09:47 am:   

Let me jump in here to say thanks to Laird and Ellen. And agreed, the Jones is an exceptional piece.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - 09:53 am:   

Sounds like there are two Cain novels I've never read. The Butterfly and whatever else wasn't Postman, Double Indemnity or Mildred Pierce. What's the fifth title, Anna?
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - 11:13 am:   

Finished HANNIBAL RISING and enjoyed it. It reminded me of a Vincent Price revenge flick, where the twisted hero kills off his enemies one by one in entertainingly gruesome ways; you do root for him. It certainly lays the groundwork for Lecter physically kicking lots of ass in HANNIBAL.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - 11:36 am:   

I'm glad you enjoyed it more than I, Marc. I was hoping for something a bit toothier, so to speak, along the density and length of 'Red Dragon'.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - 12:51 pm:   

Yeah, it definitely wasn't in the league of RED DRAGON. But HANNIBAL struck me as a comic thriller, so I wasn't expecting a return to the form of the earlier books. Seems like the series is up beyond redemption owing to the books and the movies not only being created in parallel, but diverging. With Hannibal the book and Hannibal the film having totally different conclusions, Harris has no clear way forward.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - 01:36 pm:   

Yep, 'Hannibal' the novel cooled my enthusiasm for the series. The most famous cannibal-at-large just happens to land a most high-profile curator position in Florence and the cops are scratching their heads thinking, 'Ya know, that just might be the guy!'. Disbelief totally unsuspended with the conclusion; I can see why Jodie Foster said 'Feh!' to the role.

Harris should plead a temporary case of Dallas-itis for Hannibal. I agree he's painted his way into a corner. He'll probably issue a couple more prequels and call it a life. Sure liked the first two books though.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - 02:46 pm:   

I still want to read it. In fact, I've just added it to my amazon wishlist. If I don't get it for xmas, I'll buy it at the amazon marketplace--as cheaply as I can.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - 02:53 pm:   

I'm seeing Hannibal Rising at checkout counters everywhere...you can probably buy a pallet-load at Costco for 40% off. But I got mine from the library, and back it goes.

Meanwhile, juggling Wilbur Smith's overripe but entertaining RIVER GOD on audiocassette, and I'll go back to his THE SEVENTH SCROLL till I've got something better to read. This must be the first time I've read the first and third books in a series simultaneously.
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Jane Frank
Posted on Friday, December 22, 2006 - 05:47 pm:   

Read SOLDIER OF SIDON. That Wolfe continues to be a trickster and this work is a mystery on more than one level. What follows could be construed as spoilers and really won't make much sense unless one reads the book.

It's amusing to read the story of the character who is now "Lucius" and all these big cats, all sorts of big cats. And a kitten! A kitten who is not so heart warming.

Oh and a quest for a sword, ahh so that's where we were going for over three hundred pages! Will we have to wait another 17 or so years to continue the story? Alas, the baboon made me do it but was in no hurry.
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, December 22, 2006 - 11:28 pm:   

This evening's reading was two-thirds of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, which put my wife and kids to sleep fairly quickly but at least gave them nightmares. I put myself into sort of a trance reading it by lantern light. Ah, Dickens.
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Michael Kelly
Posted on Saturday, December 23, 2006 - 08:52 am:   

I finished the Murakami, and just started Gaiman's Fragile Things.

Happy holidays to everyone!
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Daniel Ausema
Posted on Saturday, December 23, 2006 - 09:53 am:   

After the author guest-blogged on VanderMeer's blog, I decided to read THE STEAM MAGNATE by Dana Copithorne. I enjoyed it as something very different.

I've been hearing a lot of clamor about Steven Erikson's monstrously long series, so I decided to dip in by reading his Blood Follows novella (published by Night Shade no less). I enjoyed it, though I haven't completely decided if I'm ready to start yet another *long* series that isn't yet finished.

First I have to finish a couple other books I'm in the middle of--GHOSTRWRITTEN by Mitchell, THOUSANDFOLD THOUGHT by Bakker and a collection of Howard's Conan stories (the Del Rey issue from a couple years ago) that I'm reading with some other writers as a pseudo-online-bookclub...thing. Each so far enjoyable in its own way (and the Conan stories are a revisit, but my last read was almost half my life ago).

Oh, and I should be receiving TANAIRON by Leena Krohn and VanderMeer's SELECT FIRE REMIX in the mail soon, so that will take precedence, I think. At least Tainaron and whichever stories are new to me in Select Fire.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, December 24, 2006 - 09:27 pm:   

I got The Post's New York from Jack Womack. All the gossip that was unfit to print. Yayy.

Happy holidays and watch this if you dare:
http://www.elfyourself.com/?userid=65f377ecd7df825c9c9d9b6G06122222
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Alan Yee
Posted on Tuesday, December 26, 2006 - 08:29 pm:   

Well, uh, this Christmas I asked for a bunch of short story collections and anthologies.

What did I get?

Firebirds Rising, The Empire of Ice Cream & The Fantasy Writer's Assistant and Other Stories by Jeffrey Ford, In the Forest of Forgetting by Theodora Goss, Year's Best Fantasy 6, and Little Gods by Tim Pratt.

All of whom are authors whose stories I love. I think these are going to keep me occupied for a while. And yes, I'm aware that Ellen probably knows all of those authors. Too bad Dora doesn't post here anymore.
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Jess Patrick
Posted on Tuesday, December 26, 2006 - 09:06 pm:   

I asked for and got Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier. I read Cold Mountain earlier this year. I know, I know. It's not fantasy or SF, but still.

Frazier is at his best in describing back-woods living. Don't look for him to move a plot forward with dialog, and get out the salt whenever there's a fight.
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, December 29, 2006 - 02:18 pm:   

I'm reading The White Hotel on Jeff Ford's recommendation. Wild stuff. Genuinely has the quality of dreams.

Reminds me that there's a pretty good Morris West novel "starring" Carl Jung called THE WORLD IS MADE OF GLASS.

Just picked up copies of MEMORIES OF MY MELANCHOLY WHORES and the new trashy biography of Chairman Mao.
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Friday, December 29, 2006 - 06:28 pm:   

I'm doing a lot of re-reading for some reason lately:

Louise Erdrich's Tracks, John Crowley's Little, Big, Vonegutt's Slaughter-House Five.

Also recently read the Pat Barker Regeneration series, which was amazing.
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Jess Patrick
Posted on Friday, December 29, 2006 - 07:17 pm:   

Earlier this year I was in a "Neo" phase, and in that I read several Edmund Cooper titles. Among them were:

Transit
Five to Twelve
The Overman Culture
Slaves of Heaven
Seed of Light

It's a shame that Cooper is largely forgotten and out of print. While many of his themes would be considered cliche' today, he handled them well.

Also, in my "neo" phase, I read a couple of Phillip K. Dick novels.

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
Cosmic Puppets
The Man in the High Castle

Finally, I went and read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Great story, but it would never sell today!
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2006 - 08:50 am:   

Just finished 'The Last Six Million Seconds' by John Burdett. The title refers to the countdown of the turnover of Hong Kong to China in 1997. It's a police procedural centering around a brutal triple murder and the Eurasian detective attempting to solve it. Very reminiscent of Burdett's novels set in Thailand.

If you liked 'Bangkok 8' and 'Bangkok Tattoo', you'll like this one.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2006 - 10:05 am:   

I received Hannibal from my secret giftgiver (see more on this in my topic thread: http://www.nightshadebooks.com/discus/messages/233/4036.html?1166772060)

I may take a crack at it after I finish Conrad Williams' really good The Unblemished.
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steveberman
Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2006 - 04:43 pm:   

Just finished Dan Simmon's THE TERROR. Several of his works are among my favorites (SUMMER OF NIGHT is a brilliant horror novel, in my opinion). But this new book just failed to move me. It's an exercise in misery for the characters and became uncomfortable by the 400th page of unending ice. The supernatural elements, so strong in the early books, seemed incidental, almost tacked on, and never involved me.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2006 - 06:08 pm:   

Steve,
Sorry to hear that. I heard some good things about it. I hope to take a crack at it anyway.
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Ahmed A. Khan
Posted on Sunday, December 31, 2006 - 12:07 pm:   

The last book I read was "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. A very interesting read.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, January 07, 2007 - 09:17 pm:   

Finished THE WHITE HOTEL this weekend, then gobbled up MEMORIES OF MY MELANCHOLY WHORES and I'm about halfway through FAREWELL SUMMER, Bradbury's sequel to DANDELION WINE. Since DANDELION WINE was just about my favorite book for many years, it's very hard to accept a sequel at this date, even from Bradbury. I find I want to doubt the story of its provenance, included in the afterward. Reading it has a peculiar effect, in that I'm continually having flashbacks to the experience of reading Bradbury when I was younger...not just the stories themselves, but the mood they created, how that got all mixed up in the places where I read them, the magic bottled-up expectancy of DANDELION WINE itself. I will say it's better than I feared it would be; maybe he really has been working on it for 50 years, and parts of it are genuinely of a piece with the original book. Maybe that explains it.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, January 07, 2007 - 11:35 pm:   

Just finished FAREWELL SUMMER, which is the best recent Bradbury I've read, and in its way audacious. It's bookended with two significant events, one classic Bradbury, one I honestly never expected to encounter in a Bradbury story.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 09:18 am:   

I finished THE UNBLEMISHED by Conrad Williams last night and enjoyed it quite a lot, although the ending didn't come together as well as I'd hoped it would. Great writing, nice depiction of a deteriorating London, effective monsters (human and non-human), and desperate characters I usually cared about. Blood and gore abounds, but the writing is sooo good it mitigates all that.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 10:25 am:   

Marc,
Because too often I read stories filled with blood and gore and no plot, awful characterizations, and bad writing ;-)
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 10:56 am:   

I don't consider myself a gore-hound, but when it's used effectively and smartly, like in THE UNBLEMISHED, it creates quite an intense hold on the imagination.

Just finished Kiernan's contemporary dark fantasy DAUGHTER OF HOUNDS, a book I really wanted to like, since I've enjoyed most of Kiernan's recent output. But the plot relies too much on explanation through dialogue and and dream sequences for my liking.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 01:12 pm:   

Kelly,
I agree completely.

Who published Daughter of Hounds?
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Jason D. Wittman
Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 12:55 pm:   

"Because too often I read stories filled with blood and gore and no plot, awful characterizations, and bad writing ;-)"

Yes. And really, it shouldn't take an entire novel to say "Okay, so this guy was out mowing his lawn, y'know? And then this serial killer jumps out of the bushes and guts him with a machete!" :-D

Jason (Wittman, not Vorhees)
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GabrielM
Posted on Thursday, January 11, 2007 - 08:03 pm:   

Halfway through THE UNBLEMISHED and enjoying it a good deal.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, January 11, 2007 - 09:28 pm:   

Gabe,
Curious to know what you make of the ending when you're done.
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Paul Jessup
Posted on Saturday, January 13, 2007 - 03:55 am:   

I must say I am jealous of everyone who has read a copy of THE UNBLEMISHED- it looks absolutely fantastic.

What I'm currently reading:
Elizabeth Hand's Illyria (loving it)
Re-reading Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners
Miéville's King Rat (enjoying it, but not loving it)
The Dark Descent (Horror retrospective from the 80's, edited by David C. Hartwell. The editorials are just as interesting as the shortstories)

Non fiction:
The Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural (my grandpa found this at an Auction- really damn cool. Translated from a German text, from the seventies. A lot of fun to read)
Alchemy and Mysticism - The Hermetic Museum (fascinating little book full of hundreds of illustrations and text)

Can't believe it took me this long to find these forums. Huh.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, January 13, 2007 - 08:09 am:   

I've recently started Brian Evenson's novel The Open Curtain--so far it's good but not all that dark...waiting...waiting.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Saturday, January 13, 2007 - 08:45 am:   

Ellen: Evenson's novel really hit a chord with me, having grown up in an Evangelical Lutheran church. So the darkness of the novel, for me, was quite different from the darkness in a book like THE UNBLEMISHED. Also, I think THE OPEN CURTAIN's strength is in how the story, and darkness, slowly unravels and deepens as the pages turn. I hope you end up liking it, and finding it thorougly dark.
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MarcL
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 03:11 pm:   

I wonder if anyone else read or remembers a book I read when I was a kid. I thought it was called THE CAVE, but I can't find any novel matching the description. It was about a teenage boy who falls into a pit and spends the entire book trapped underground in a cave system, mainly in the dark. Near the end he scrapes together a pile of bat guano, remembering that it has explosive properties, and he blows wide a blocked opening. Anyone?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 05:11 pm:   

Sorry, doesn't sound familiar to me.

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