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03-19-03: Cthulhu Gets a Grip on Politics

WorldCon Mailer

Alan Koszowski displays his grip of the current political situation on the cover the WFC Mailer.

In case you wondered. In another era, Koszowski did a fantastic illustration for a story I had published in Winter Chills Magazine.

03-17-03: Lots of New Books

Lots of New Books

There's been a huge burst of new books come out, and I'm barely keeping abreast of the wave. We really need some great, thoughful entertainment at any time. I'm glad my reading speed has apparently increased, as I'll need to sail through the incoming stack to keep you apprised as to how to spend your ever more precious spare money.

John Connolly's conclusion to the Charlie Parker story?

Lots of writers come as highly recommended as John Connolly, but I get a good vibe about this writer's books. The readers who have suggested I read his stuff say that it bears a resemblance to the supernaturally-tinged crime novels of Phil Rickman. His forthcoming novel is 'The White Road' will temporarily conclude the quartet of Charlie Parker novels. The following novel, 'Bad Men', is described as a combintion of mystery novel and supernatural thriller (nothing new here) but without Parker. I may try to get a chance to talk to COnnolly when he swings through Northern California later this month.


Can you use that knife to slice cheese?

Here's the reason it's so hard to know what to buy. This here novel, 'Tropic of Night', has some pretense to being on the literary side of thriller. But I must admit I have my doubts. Well, also, I did the "flip to a random page and read something" test, and my brain wasn't knocked into literary mode. I did start some salivation at the scent of cheese. Four books ago, I might have said that about Connolly's first novel.


Yow! Did someone order the bleu cheese special?

Here's the latest Laurell K. Hamilton. I may be ready to give Hamilton another try. I did like the Anita Blake voice -- it was a great tough-girl PI rap. The question is, is 'Cerulean Sins' a hard-edged clever mystery, or a vampire sex romp? Nice picture of the author on the back as well, though they don't mention her pugs. I want to see the doggies!


It must be Nebula time again. Nice companion book by Ace.

This is the second Nebula awards companion I've seen. It includes fiction by Kelly Link and James Patrick Kelly. Kelly spoke -- very well -- at Worldcon last year, so I'm looking forward to giving his fiction a try. There's also commentary by Terry Bisson, Ellen Datlow, Andy Duncan, Scott Edelman and Machael Cassut. I'm quite curious to read what these folks -- who influence a lot of what we see and hear in the speculative fiction world -- have to say.


Anne Ursu ventures into magic unrealism with 'The Disapparition of James'.

Most of us are creeped out by magic shows. Taking her cue from a scene in the Stephen King novel 'Tommyknockers', Anne Ursu tells the story of the family of a young boy who disappears in front of their eyes at a local magic show. I'm not certain I'll be able to read this. As one with kids, the idea of reading about families torn apart by kids kidnapped is not as appealing as it might be to some. It sounds intriguingly surreal, however, and not heart-rending. I have a chance to talk to the author about the novel as well. And finally weighing in on the plus column is a blurb from Lisa Lerner, whose 'Just Like Beauty' was a suprisingly well done bit of science fiction from last year. If this book has that kind of feel, I suspect it will be enjoyable.


ANother delextable Phil RIckman novel -- with big news.

Phil Rickman's latest novel is about to be released by Pan Macmillan. It's another Merilly Watkins story, and it's based on the crimes of Fred and Rose West. Rickman tells me he thinks it's his best yet. This is the kind of novel one really anticipates -- huge (552 pages) and even low-cost for a hardcover book -- £10.00.

But the big news is that Rickman's Merrilly Watkins novels are about to go into TV development with Rebecca Lacey (Monarch of the Glen), a script by Russell Lewis (who adapted Morse and Cavanaugh QC [all hail Kohn Thaw!]) and direction by Paul Harrison, director of the current series of Frost. This is precisely the kind of material that will benefit from this adapatation. Of course these things move at a glacial speed, and are subject to change without notice. But this is potentially excellent movie news.


This gorgeous graphic novel is available from Shoto Press for only $4.95.

Shoto Press sent me two graphic novels to look at. I'm typically uninterested in graphic novels, but the production values on these little books is signifcantly better than most I've seen. The art difrection is readable and clean, and the printing is gorgeous, with a heavy silver sheen that makes the books positively glow. The first, pictured above is a vampire novel, but not your typical love-sucker.


To-die-for production values and art enhance these graphic novels and bring them into the potentially readable zone.

The second story is a ghost story. Both are set in Malay. The first is 85 pages, and the second 93. This is wonderful looking material. If I can manage to actually get them read, I'll let you know what I think.