Previous Entries: Dec 03/Jan

Selected new and forthcoming books seen by DarkEcho (including some galleys and advance reading copies). A few selections are not necessarily new, but have been requested by DarkEcho or otherwise lately noted. All selections are at the discretion of DarkEcho, although effort will be made to list all review copies received. Comments are immediate, initial, and not to be taken as final opinion. Date included with publisher info is official release date(s). Date in parentheses at paragraph end is approximate date seen or received. Listed more or less in order received, most recently received at top.

COVER The King and Other Stories (Advance Uncorrected Proof)
Joe R. Lansdale
Subterranean Press $40 (HC, illus. lmtd.) 96p
ISBN: 1931081980 (Feb 17 2004)

His Ownself says these stories are like "little pokes of the elbow" and not meant to be heavyweight, but are meant to be fun. Eighteen stories, one is only a couple of sentences, several are less than a page. Each is illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne. There's a one-page intro, 18 illustrations, maybe six pages are blank -- you are looking at nigh on to 60 cents a page. Not that His Ownself isn't worth top-dollar, but I am glad I get these things for free. (Don't be too envious of us reviewers. You do not get a hardcover or dustjacket, you don't even get all the purty pitchers.) (16 Jan 2004)

COVERTriads (Advance Uncorrected Proof)
Poppy Z. Brite & Christa Faust
Subterranean Press $40 (HC, lmtd.) 200p
ISBN: 1931081409 (May 3 2004)

First go back and read "Triads," the novella Brite & Faust wrote for Revelations, the 1997 anthology edited by Doug Winter. This is the long-planned expansion of that novella. Chances are, I'll like it. Will you? Reading Revelations may tell you -- not only in this case, but in an overall-taste way. Now, Revelations, although not perfect, is one of my favorite anthologies. But according to people posting on Amazon, it seems to be, uh, under-appreciated by a lot of folks. My guess is that these folks are looking for standard, pretty-close-to-formula, horror. If that's what rings your chimes, then we are going to find ourselves disagreeing quite a bit. (16 Jan 2004)

COVER Aspects of a Psychopath
Alistair Langston
Telos $9.95 (US) (TP) 103p
ISBN: 1903889634 (March 2004/US December 2003 UK)

I read this because (1) Telos does some interesting stuff; (2) I'd never heard of the author, so maybe it is a debut and I'm always on the outlook for new writers; (3) because I was fascinated with its news release that claims: "When the bimonthly installments of Aspects of a Psychopath first appeared on the Internet early in 2001, they created a storm of interest around the world with Aspects of a Psychopath regularly present in the top ten search results." Top ten search results of what? For what? Hmmm. Read. No review. (15 Jan 2004)

COVER Dating Secrets of the Dead
David Prill
Subterranean $35 (HC)
ISBN: 1931081603 (2003)

If you caught the Recommended Reads, you already know I like this one. I'll quote Stefan Dziemianowicz: "Horror themes as vehicles for gentle humor, nostalgia and thoughtful reflection. The novella "The Last Horror Show" is a moving rumination on the consolations of horror that just about anyone interested in horror fiction will respond to. Read and recommended. (12 Jan 2004)

COVER The Dreams of Cardinal Vittorini
Reggie Oliver
Haunted River 35.00UK $55.00US (HC lmtd.) 360p
No ISBN (31 July 2003)

This is from a UK small press that is new to me. Fiften stories, only two previously published (and those barely so), in the grand tradition of the English ghost story. Has surprisingly good blurbs from the likes of T.E.D. Klein and Ramsey Campbell. (13 Jan 2004)

COVERSagas of Conan: Three Conan Novels in One Volume
L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter, Bjorn Nyberg
Tor $18.95US (TP) 450p
ISBN: 0765310546 (24 Jan 2004)

I'm not sure why this is subtitled as three novels. This omnibus consists of two novels, Conan the Liberator and Conan and the Spider God. Conan the Swordsman is a collection of short stories. These are supposedly the stories that relaunched Conan in the 1970s and 80s now back in print. (12 Jan 04)

COVER Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card
Tor (TP) $15.95 688p (also available in HC)
ISBN: 1584653396 (24 Jan 2004)

Nearly all of Orson Scott Card's short fiction written between 1977 and 1990, plus ten essays (including the one in which he explains his horror stories are not horror stories). This is a reprint of the huge 1990 HC collection, first time in TP, although there was a four volume mass market version. No additional new material. Considering it's been almost 14 years since the original release, at least a short note updating the reader would have been welcomed. (12 Jan 2004)

COVER Berserker Prime
Fred Saberhagen
Tor (TP) $25.95 400p
ISBN: 076530625 (Dec 2003)

Number nine in the reliable space operatic Berserker series. Humankind is still fighting those damned robots. Good (guys) vs. Evil (robots) and big battles. Sci-fi swash and buckle. Great stuff. (09 Jan 2004)

COVER Action Chicks: New Images of Tough Women in Popular Culture (Advance Uncorrected Proof)
Allen C Kupper
Palgrave Macmillan (TP) $19.95 304p
ISBN: 1403963967 (17 Feb 2004)

First entry for the ugliest cover of 2004! Essays like these keep PhDs off the streets, so that's reason enough for them to exist. Is the world ready for an analysis of Chyna's role in our culture? Xena as sacrificial heroine? A "history of female action figures"? Hey, somebody quotes "science fiction novelist Caitlin Kiernan" on Farscape! (09 Jan 2004)

*Review copies may be sent to:
c/o Paula Guran
87 South Meadowcroft Drive
Akron OH 44313

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Copyright © 2004 by Paula Guran All Rights Reserved.