Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

Another quickie!  Today brought an edited copy of “Appointment in Time” from CURIOSITIES Editor Kevin Frost (cf. May 1):  Got a couple of minor edits, then I can move thecuriosities-issue-5-cover-shot manuscript to the narration queue.  The edits, two, were minor indeed, an added comma and one word misspelled, so this afternoon my “okay” went back, with my 2012 New Year’s Eve tale of steam and clocks and year-end horror one step closer to its new appearance in CURIOSITIES, as well as possible future podcast in THE GALLERY OF CURIOSITIES.  And with this an “extra,” courtesy of fellow blogger Brian James Lewis who directed me to a review he wrote on DAMAGED SKULL WRITER of the previous, Winter 2019 issue of CURIOSITIES, emphasizing its general high quality — one I can hardly wait now to see my own story appear in!  To read for oneself, one need but press here.

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Well, first off it’s now the final 86, two more slots apparently having been added since last we checked.  This is the LISTOPIA BEST HORROR ANTHOLOGIES LIST on Goodreads that we’ve been exploring to see if any with stories by me are in the lineup.  And, yes, there have been:  three in the first one hundred slots (as posted below on March 12), two in the second 100 (March 28, one of which was in a 5-way tie), and one in the final full one hundred (April 12, this one in a . . . wait for it . . . 58-way tie!).  But what of the rest, the 84 — oops, 86 — titles that remain?

The good news is yes, there is one more book, DANTE’S DISCIPLES, locked in a tie also with ROD SERLING’S NIGHT GALLERY READER, that includes not quite a story of mine but a poem.  A very long poem.

And herein is a tale, and perhaps a special spot in my auctorial heart (isn’t that a neat word — auctorial?).  It’s one I was invited to write, a “canto” in the style of the poetry in Dante’s INFERNO, which actually came out a little longer than Dante’s cantos at a bit less than 200 lines.  Also, titled “Canto (Evocare!),” it was written in the voice of Satan, giving a sort of overview of Hell is all about.

The thing is, I subsequently presented “Canto (Evocare!)” at a poetry reading at World Fantasy Convention where Dark Regions Press Editor Joe Morey heard it, inviting me to republish it in his upcoming THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASTIC FICTION, which I agreed to.  Then in subsequent conversation we discussed my submitting a collection — something I was at just about the right time to do — resulting in my first full-size book, STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE (and which was, some years later, followed by DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET, for both of which click on their pictures in the center column).

But back to the present, for more on DANTE’S DISCIPLES itself (which despite my poem, is mostly stories) and the 85 other books in this last batch, please to press here.

Let us recall March 28 and March 12 when we learned of the List, on Goodreads, of the 384 best dark fiction anthologies or, under its more formal title, LISTOPIA BEST HORROR ANTHOLOGIES.  As these are multi-author productions, did I, I wondered, have stories published in any of these?  The answer(s), yes:  three in the first 100 at slots 24, 50, and 97; then in the second 100 two more, one in a five-way tie for number 130 and a second at 155.  Details with links are in the posts for the dates above (that is, March 28 and 12) plus links through Goodreads to Amazon, et al. for any who might want to find out more.

But that leaves a full 184 yet to be accounted for, so herewith the third set, the 200s, of which I am represented in just one at. . . .  First, however, a quick digression, that with this many titles there will certainly be some ties, as indeed we found in the second 100 at number 130, the title UNCOMMON ASSASSINS with my “The Wellmaster’s Daughter” in it sharing the honors with four other books.  And so, in the third tier we find one entry, MISERIA’S CHORALE including “The Cherry Tree” by me, in a crowd at number 209 with fifty-seven fellow anthologies!  That is to say, 58 books in all.

Wow.

For more detail, “The Cherry Tree” is a Southern Gothic horror of sorts, with ghosts from the past and memories of the Civil War, and, if one is counting, MISERIA’S CHORAL is thirty books down in the pack at 209.  To see for oneself, one need only press here.

Well, first of all they aren’t all stories, “The Balloon Hoax” for instance first published as a genuine news account while POLITIAN is a never-completed play.  Nevertheless, I am a Poe fan — THE TEARS OF ISIS in fact is dedicated to Poe — and anyway who wants to quibble?  Thus when I ran across “13 True Stories Behind Edgar Allan Poe’s Terror Tales” by Christopher P. Semtner, Curator of Richmond Virginia’s Edgar Allan Poe Museum, on BIOGRAPHY.COM via Scott M. Goriscak on Facebook’s THE HORROR SOCIETY, I knew this was one I had to share.

But first a bit of an introduction by Curator Semtner:  Regrettably, the focus on Poe as counter-culture hero, cautionary example of the dangers of substance abuse, and grandfather of Goth may have obscured the reality of this immensely talented and versatile author.  This was true even during his lifetime when the controversial editor and critic appeared as a character in other authors’ novels, poems, and short stories, blurring the line between Poe’s legend and his real life.  Poe actively promoted his own legend by spreading rumors that he had fought in the Greek War of Independence and was held prisoner in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  Poe’s reputation has kept him in the public eye, but it has also obscured the true significance.  This then is followed by a quick, but interesting biography plus some notes on the Richmond museum.

And then to the main event, thirteen tales including the above perhaps non-tales, plus others both familiar and possibly some somewhat less so.  “The Pit and the Pendulum.”  “The Fall of the House of Usher” (an illustration for which appears here).  “The Masque of the Red Death.”  “The Tell-Tale Heart.”  But also “The Mystery of Marie Roget.”  “Some Words With a Mummy.”  “Berenice.”  Others, the origins of some a bit speculative maybe, and some more convincing, my favorite being that of “A Cask of Amontillado” born from a feud between the author and one Thomas Dunn English.

To see all, press here.

I probably shouldn’t single out any of the stories, because all of them are excellent, but I have to mention that “Aquarium Dreams” by Gary Budgen, “Crow and Rat” by James Dorr, “Rut” by Ian Steadman, “Dewclaw” by Ian Kappos, “Her Audience Shall Stand in Ovation” by Jason Gould are among the best stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.  I also greatly enjoyed “Susheela” by Bindia Persaud, because it reads like a fairy tale for adults, and I loved “Ouroboros” by Douglas Thompson, because it’s something mesmerisingly different.  These stories alone make this anthology worth owning and reading.

So begins the conclusion of a review from March 29 in RISING SHADOW, e-pointed out to me by HUMANAGERIE Editor (with Sarah Doyle) Allen Ashley:  Just in case you haven’t seen this on Facebook, we have had another fabulous review, this time by the respected review website RISING SHADOW.  I am attaching a copy for you.  Everybody gets a positive mention.  And positive these mentions are indeed!  Earlier, reviewer Seregil of Rhiminee comments on each item in the contents, saying this of lowest-of-low ne’er-do-wells Crow and Rat (cf. January 13, et al.):

Crow and Rat – James Dorr:

– An excellent story about Crow and Rat who are beggars in the New City.
– The author’s vision of the world where the sun has become hotter is fascinating and satisfyingly dark.
– This is a bit different kind of a love story, because it has a dark and epic feel to it.  It’s almost like a dark and romantic fairy tale for adults.
– I consider James Dorr to be an author to watch, because this story is amazing.  (When I read this story, I said to myself that I must read more stories by the author, because what I’ve just read is something special.)

The New City, I should point out, is one of the settings in my mosaic novel TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, although Crow and Rat’s story itself doesn’t appear in it.  But let it not go to these miscreants’ heads, but they seem to be doing quite well enough just from their appearance in HUMANAGERIE.  While as for RISING SHADOW’s review, to read it in full for yourself press here.

Hark us back to March 12, a mere sixteen days ago, and the post titled “Goodreads 384 Best Horror Anthos (First 100) Plus Post Death Review” concerning Goodreads’ LISTOPIA BEST HORROR ANTHOLOGIES listing.  As I said at the time, 384 is a pretty big number, but I did skim through the first one hundred and, the news of the day, I have work in at least three titles, numbers 24, 50, and 97.  More specifically these are THE BEST OF CEMETERY DANCE VOLUME 1 & 2 OMNIBUS (CD Publications, 1998) with “A Christmas Story,” SLICES OF FLESH (Dark Moon Books, 2012) with “Bones, Bones, the Musical Fruit,” and AFTER DEATH (Dark Moon Books, 2013) with “Mall Rats,” the first two of these reprints and the third an original publication.  And that was that.

But that also means there are 284 titles I did not skim through and so, in a moment of relatively idle time earlier this afternoon, I glanced through the next 100 where two more books popped up with stories by me:  in a five-way tie for number 130, UNCOMMON ASSASSINS with “The Wellmaster’s Daughter,” and by itself at number 155, THE CHILDREN OF CTHULHU with “Dark of the Moon.”  To see for oneself one may press here.  And, as with the first one hundred titles, the entries are “live” in that one can click on them to go to their Goodreads pages, and from there to Amazon and other vendors should one have a desire to.  (In fact, in going through the list myself I came upon several other anthologies, including a tribute to Robert W. Chambers’ “The King in Yellow,” A SEASON IN CARCOSA, that seemed worth ordering for myself.)

Then one mini-oddity, as it happens both of my stories in the second 100 have strong science fiction aspects to them as well as horror, “Dark of the Moon” being, in fact, about a lunar expedition and “The Wellmasters Daughter” a very environmentally based introduction to the Sahara desert.

It hasn’t been an exactly zippy last few days, but here’s something that has come a bit serendipitously, although with help from THE SMART RHINO PUBLICATIONS MISCHIEF-MAKING SYNDICATE (which has some books on the list as well) on Facebook, or, every little bit of notice counts no matter how second-hand.  The item:  Goodreads’ LISTOPIA BEST HORROR ANTHOLOGIES with, by their count, 384 multi-author collections of dark short fiction.  So 384 is a pretty big number, but I did skim through the first one hundred and, the news of the day, I have work in at least three titles, numbers 24, 50, and 97.  More specifically these are THE BEST OF CEMETERY DANCE VOLUME 1 & 2 OMNIBUS (CD Publications, 1998) with “A Christmas Story,” SLICES OF FLESH (Dark Moon Books, 2012) with “Bones, Bones, the Musical Fruit,” and AFTER DEATH (Dark Moon Books, 2013) with “Mall Rats,” the first two of these reprints and the third an original publication.  One may note also that the farther down on the list, the more recent the publication is, which may make some sense if the positions are based on Goodreads member recommendations, the oldest thus having been on the “ballot” longer.

But now, one extra:  the titles are “live” in that one can click them to go to their Goodreads pages (and thence to Amazon et al. should one wish to) and, checking to confirm their contents, I ran across a review of AFTER DEATH  with a flattering mention of my story, “Mall Rats,” that I hadn’t seen before.  Thus, from Goodreads reviewer Kenneth Cain (well, it is flattering):  After reading the anthology Guignard edited last year, I simply could not pass on this one.  And the theme for this one appealed to me, so much so that I wish I would have sent something in.  The stories are fantastic, a wide range of interpretations of death or what lies beyond or otherwise.  Fantastic stories that leave you wondering, which is why the theme alone is so wonderful.  The opening two stories pack a punch. “Someone to Remember” offers a beautiful detailing of love everlasting and “Boy 7” comes back at us with a brutal story of hope.  I’m also quite fond of “I Will Remain,” and especially “Mall Rats” which had a spooky feel throughout.  But all of the stories were good, and those fascinated with the after life will thoroughly enjoy this effort.

To check out the Goodreads list in its entirety, one can press here.  (“Bones, Bones, the Musical Fruit,” incidentally, is also reprinted in my own collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.)

It’s Halloween, so let’s celebrate by reading some spooky stories available online for free.  You have no excuse not to take a look at every single one of these.  And hey, maybe buy a couple of the books linked below each entry.  You can’t go wrong with any of them.

Thus begins “The 20 Best Horror Stories Available Online for Free” via LITREACTOR.COM (as is also the illustration), by Max Booth III, and note please his mention that every entry also links to a book you can buy.  Max may be better known for Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, his company, and bringer among other things of (*ahem*) my collection THE TEARS OF ISIS.  For the latter, one can click on its picture in the center column, but back to the point, Max has listed a number of stories, some of which I’ve read, some of which not (but am likely to soon for my own Halloween pleasure), and all of which you might find worthwhile as well.

For more, press here.

We may remember Heidi Angell.  To quote myself from June 9 this year, one of several posts linking to Heidi’s blog (cf. that date, et al.):  “It began innocently enough with a Meet the Author Interview.”  So begins Heidi Angell’s entry on her blog, AN ANGELL’S LIFE OF BOOKISH GOODNESS, complete with a link to the interview itself (cf., also, January 10), followed by a note and links for the three guest posts also published on TOMBS over the past several months (cf. May 18, et al.).  But that’s not all, even before that Heidi has posted a video of her first impressions which, by way of a preview, you can check out here (or, again, the link is there as well for you).  But then comes the main event, for which I can just say “Wow!”, Heidi Angell’s review of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, for which please press here.  There’s yet another item, though, in AN ANGELL’S LIFE, a reading of excerpts or stories from books to give would-be readers an even greater impression, under the aegis of STORY TIME.  An audio-visual lagniappe, if one will.  So Heidi and I selected one story that she might read from section III, “Intimations of Future Disaster,” a fairly short tale giving some of the TOMBS world’s background within the love story of Ipanema and Partimar, titled “Carnival of the Animals.”

“Carnival of the Animals” was first published as a stand-alone story in the literary ezine LENOX AVENUE for July-August 2005.  To quote its subtitle:  Two by two they passed through the New City, these the beasts of the Southern and Eastern wastes — and not just beasts only.  And as they went their way, there seemed so many that some questioned what was left.

For the story, press here.

Two things, and both of them lists.  The first, “25 Reasons That Writers Are Bug-Fuck Nuts” (WARNING:  may contain adult language) by Chuck Wendig on TERRIBLEMINDS.COM (courtesy of Scott M. Goriscak via THE HORROR SOCIETY), is sort of self-explanatory — and fun!  It can be checked out here and, yes, Number 14 does involve a $7.53 royalty (for which I would be jealous, but the one I got from Elder Signs Press just the other week, cf. July 23, landscape-1501510359-scifi-comics-leadwas actually for more than that).

But then the other, more serious maybe but also fun in its own different way, is “The 25 Best Sci-Fi Comics” on POPULARMECHANICS.COM, by Tiffany Kelly and Darren Orf.  From ASTRO BOY (#12) to PUNK ROCK JESUS (#21), this one covers a fair bit of ground with stops in between, e.g. for movie buffs like me, #24 TANK GIRL, #6 VALERIAN AND LAURELINE, #14 THE GHOST IN THE SHELL, and others as well.  And potentially perhaps the most interesting of all, #3 INCAL by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius (Jean Giraud).  Or make your own choices by pressing here.




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