For some time, now, Stephen Graham Jones has been writing fiction that boldly engages familiar horror tropes, from demonic possession, to the serial killer, to the zombie, in the process compiling one of the more impressive and interesting bibliographies in recent memory. Now, in Mongrels, his excellent, exuberant new novel, he turns his attention to the werewolf.
Archive for June, 2016
Although I was bored and appalled by the original Independence Day (1996), and utterly baffled by its tremendous popularity, I somehow found its belated sequel to be surprisingly engaging, even moving, despite some obvious issues in its logic and plausibility. Perhaps it is simply a better film than its precursor, the theory that merits some extended exploration.
Visitor is the 17th entry in C.J. Cherryh’s long-running (since 1994) Foreigner Universe series and the middle volume of its sixth sub-trilogy. The crucial elements of Visitor are rooted in events in the fifth volume, Explorer (2002), during which the precariously balanced alliance of lost humans and their host species, the atevi, encounter a third spacegoing species, the maybe-warlike kyo, and establish a fragile and partial détente…
The most refreshing aspects of Year’s Best Weird Fiction: Volume Two are the same as for the other year’s-best compilations the overwhelming majority of its contributors are writers who have come to editor and reader attention mostly within the past decade, and the quality of the work they are publishing in books and magazines that are predominantly niche markets is indisputable.
If the baseline necessity for any SF story is to have both the science and the mimetic humanity be integral to and integrated within the tale, then Reynolds’s work can stand as a prime instance of pure, archetypical SF. His novums contour and shape the human experiences and reactions within the world of his creations, and vice versa.
Emperor of the Eight Islands, first of four volumes in Lian Hearn’s “The Tale of Shikanoko” (all scheduled for this year), is a fantasy set in medieval Japan and inspired by some of its “warrior tales.” It draws on the pseudonymous author’s fascination with the country and culture, which led her to study them, and live there for a time.
This fine, funny, affecting book which also happens to serve as a satire on the excesses of capitalism shows us an author still at the top of his game, intent on extending his reach into new realms while reaffirming his core themes and values from a career as extensive as the tendrils of the Sporangium itself.
In the brief acknowledgments at the end of his magnificent new novel Children of Earth and Sky, Guy Gavriel Kay mentions that his fictional Renaissance city of Obravic is an “amalgam,” and it occurs to me that this is as good a word as any for Kay’s much-discussed technique of combining history and fantasy…