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Commentary Archive 2004

History Repeated

Words & Pictures: A Reader's Guide to Reading Graphic Novels When I finally decided to make a concerted effort to read graphic novels, I discovered I had to learn to read once again. Join a novice's look at outstanding graphic work by Charles Vess, Harvey Pekar and a special preview of the new graphic novel from Neil Gaiman and Dagmara Matuszak magnificently produced by Hill House Publishing. Plus, Tor Books and I are giving away copies of 'The Book of Ballads' by Charles Vess.
Ephemeral Pleasures: One Month of Magazine Reading In about a week, I read an entire issue of F&SF, Interzone, and The New Yorker. All of them had a lot to offer. From island nukes to literary flukes, find out what's worth reading and why.
"We're the monster from Alien." Agony Column Exclusive: An Interview with Sheila Kelly A converstation with the prolific author of StarDoc, Bio-Rescue and and the forthcoming If Angels Burn. From 5:30 AM until midnight, Sheila Kelly writes science fiction, fantasy romance, suspense and now launches a major website to support her forthcoming Dark Fantasy series, The Darkyn.
Serial Amnesty: Dilemmas in Reading Series Fiction by Terry D'Auray and Rick Kleffel What to do when confronted with a long-running series that looks interesting but you're way, way behindd the times? When authors offer amnesty in the form of a standalone novel, readers can reap the rewards of serial amnesty.
"They're Lying To You." An Interview with Richard K. Morgan. Fresh from a new movie, a new Marvel Comic and a new novel, Richard K. Morgan lets loose the his caustic wit on well-deserved targets and sitting ducks.
"Go for the Big Issues" Gary Gibson talks about writing his first novel, 'Angel Stations'. From Robert Heinlein's 'Have Spacesuit -- Will Travel' to SpadeShipOne's maiden voyage. The conquest of space, the conquest of prose and the Glasgow SF Writer's Circle.
Fantasy Meltdown: If you Print It, They Will Buy -- Or Will They? A simple news item turns into a froth-mouthed rant about BART, Lands' End, and lots of new fantasy novels. Featuring Sara Douglass, Laura Resnick, James A. Hetley, Jack Whyte, Tad Williams, Mercedes Lackey and featuring in character roles, Jonathan Franzen, Sylvester Stallone and William Schoell.
"Criminal Law Is No Way To Make Money." An interview with Stephanie Kane. From the slopes of Mount Ararat to the courtrooms of Denver, Colorado, Stephanie Kane talks about overachievment, inspiration and dyslexia with Terry D'Auray.
Sleep Pale Sister and Pre-Raphaelite Fiction A review of the new Black Swan re-issue of Joanne Harris's second novel, 'Sleep Pale Sister' and a column of commentary and criticism on Pre-Raphaelites as a secret society within a hotbed of Victorian lust, with pointers to new titles on the Pre-Raphaelites, including Fiona Mountain and Sarah Waters. With a Gallery of Pre-Raphaelite Art.
A Periodic Table of the Elements of Style A  3,300 word news article reviewing new SF&F-oriented magazines including  the SF&F issue of Firsts, the new Fortean Times, the new Locus,the new Interzone  and the new issue of The Third Alternative.
New Victoriana Being a Treatise on Some Recently Published Tomes Bearing the Style and Pertaining to the Subject of Tymes Victorian or Tymes Remotely Resembling Those Tymes.
Interview with Ian McDonald From the River of Gods to The Department of Social Services: "The best shit job I ever had." A conversation with science fiction's leading literary traveler.
Chester Himes: Origins A look at the biographical and bibliographical background of Chester Himes, an acclaimed author of hard-boiled detective fiction from the 1960's by Norlisha Crawford, PhD. Fascinating portrait of a complex writer.
Shaking the Mystery Novel Tree: Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini at M for Mystery  Terry D'Auray on a recent visit to M For Mystery for a signing with two of America's top mystery writers.
Letters to ––house; Paperback Writers: Buckner, Butcher, Turtledove and Caine Raise the Stakes. A nostalgic visit with seedy paperbacks, supernatural sleuths and barbaric movie adaptations. Features Luarell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, M. M. Buckner, Harry Turtledove and Rachel Caine. Must be Over 17.
Why Do We Buy? Close-Up Of The Hill House 'American Gods' Limited Edition I apologize in advance for showing readers this incredible edition that's clearly worth the price for book lovers who prize the physicality of books.
Tripping the Rifters: An Interview With Peter Watts Rick Kleffel talks with science fiction author Peter Watts about the darkness within his novels and the publishing industry.
Little Children: Rooted in the Classics A look at the latest Tom Perrotta novel in the light of its literary predecessors, from Gustave Flaubert to Leo Tolstoy to Boris Pasternak to Henry James and George Eliot.
Talking to the Machines: An Interview With Tony Ballantyne Rick Kleffel talks with Tony Ballantyne on the eve of the publication of his first novel, 'Recursion'. Teaching IT, self-replicating machines and that secure feeling that constant surveillance brings.
Paperback Summer: Beach Reading Terry  D'Auray and Rick Kleffel list out some books you don't need to read at home wearing gloves to keep them from getting smudged. All paperbacks,
all the time!
Persephone Books: Literary Revivals Serena Trowbridge finds a lot to like in Persephone Books, a small-press publisher that specializes in reviving unheralded fiction by early twentieth century women writers. The strong and well-written fiction is matched by high production values.
Returning to the Scene: A Left Coast Crime Vacation A day at the convention with my wife Claire, including a wonderful panel on the making of Blake Crouch's novel 'Desert Places', five fabulous physician-authors on 'Deadly Science', rubber chicken lunch, a room full of women, and an Uglytown finish.
Love, Death and Poetry: Sylvia Plath in the Twenty-First Century Serena Trowbrige looks at the continuing legacy of Sylvia Plath; the fiction and poetry of Plath, Ted Hughes, Frieda Hughes, Kate Moses and more.
City of Saints and Madmen: The Untold Story Part 2 by Jeff VanderMeer Jeff VanderMeer's story continues as he encrypts a story, and teeters on the brink while pulling in awards and navigating the dangerous reefs of POD. 
City of Saints and Madmen: The Untold Story Part 1 by Jeff VanderMeer Jeff VanderMeer's story of the long strange trip to Ambergris and City of Saints and Madmen, the definitive edition now out from Pan/Macmillan UK. A compelling and hilarious account of creative obsession, perseverance and squid-o-philia. Not for the squiddish. Or maybe, exclusively for the squiddish.
Left Coast Crime 14: The Calm Convention A report covering a wonderful day at a well-run convention. Featuring Walter Mosley, Stephanie Kane, Uglytown, Win & Mereditch Blevins, Chester Himes, Robert O. Greer,and otters drinking poison.  
Katie Dean, Serena Trowbridge, Terry
D'Auray and Rick Kleffel select lots of great books we read in 2003.
Genrecide: The Apocalyptic Literati We love to kill so much we murder that which has no life. Every genre gets its death notices; here's the reasoning behind those apocalytioc thoughts. Features a logrolling quiz, candid rancor, Ian Rankin, Vicarious blurbs, the Beverly Hillbillies, and the End of Life and Literature as We Know It.
A Break in the Agony: Ten Books I'm Bringing to Hawaii and Why Any vacation is a reading vacation. The books I'm bringing with me to Hawaii and why. Including Richard Morgan, Dan Simmons, Homer -- no not Homer Simpson! -- Rhys Hughes, Rumpole, Micahel Cisco, Non-Led Zeppelins, Pelecanos, DBC Pierre, Jasper Fforde and even something for the surfers -- a Crimewave!