quips and clips

Alan Glynn ~ Bloodland

just finished reading Alan Glynn‘s third novel (i’ve read them all, starting with the brilliant THE DARK FIELDS, retitled LIMITLESS starring Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro in the film version, WINTERLAND about city politics and vast corruption) BLOODLAND, in which the death of an actress and others in a helicopter crash off Donegal is the…

Sara Gran ~ Saturn’s Return to New York

just finished reading Sara Gran’s SATURN’S RETURN TO NEW YORK. i’d previously loved her tale of revenge wrought supernaturally in NYC, COME CLOSER, and so had bought reams of her work. had i known that the book i just finished was basically a chick flick surrounding the astrological stress of Saturn reemerging 29 years after…

Lucius Shepard ~ Vacancy/Ariel

just finished reading a beautiful tome, Subterranean Press’ homage to the Ace Double Novels of decades passed, two unique and essential novellas by the King of Speculative Fiction, Lucius Shepard, VACANCY and ARIEL. both of them have equally far-flung premises, one centering on his evocatively-maligned hometown of Daytona and very odd goings-on in a certain…

Charlie Williams ~ King of the Road

just finished reading the latest of Charlie Williams’s novels set in the downtrodden UK burg of Mangel centering around the thoroughly politically incorrect, recent mental patient, inadvertent murderer (new father?) and town hard-man, Royston Blake. Blakey is Mayhem Personified, and the argot Williams weaves is truly addictive, and one roots for this rube and malcontent…

Dan Simmons ~ The Terror

Just finished reading THE TERROR, 2007 novel by American author Dan Simmons, a fictionalized account of Captain Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to the Arctic to force the Northwest Passage in 1845–1848. Franklin and his crew are plagued by starvation and scurvy and forced to contend with mutiny and…

Hari Kunzru ~ Gods Without Men

just finished reading Hari Kunzru’s novel, GODS WITHOUT MEN, an unabashed mashup of CLOUD ATLAS (complete with a blurb from David Mitchell himself: “A beautifully written echo chamber of a novel”; he would know first-hand the bases for such echoes) and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. not as wholly reducible as that, as the…

FIfty Shades of Lousia May

finished reading the gem of satirical literotica, 50 SHADES OF LOUISA MAY. the smartest funny book or the funniest smartest book i’ve read in recent memory. when this sordid 50 Shades fad has died off, this book will be the only worthwhile vestige. any guesses as to who might’ve penned this? i’m thinking Michael Chabon…

Thomas Ligotti ~ Noctuary

just finished reading the latest reprinted volume of weird fiction king, Thomas Ligotti: NOCTUARY. loved it not quite as much as his GRIMSCRIBE, SONGS OF A DEAD DREAMER or MY WORK IS NOT YET DONE, but these are earlier works, and he still invokes an existential dread not approached by even the best of Lovecraft…

Fredric Morton ~ Thunder at Twilight

During my Beijing stay, I finished reading the riveting Thunder at Twilight, Fredric Morton’s chronicle of Austro-Hungarian days Of 1913-14 leading to World War I. Haven’t been so enthralled with the writing in a history book since the days of Barbara Tuchman. Brilliant.

Paul Tremblay ~ No Sleep Til Wonderland

just finished reading Paul Tremblay‘s riveting NO SLEEP TILL WONDERLAND, featuring the narcoleptic private eye, Mark Genevich (also the center of Paul‘s first novel, with a title other noirists could only envy, THE LITTLE SLEEP), NO SLEEP follows Mark through his support group meetings, surveillance jobs gone terribly wrong to murder and always being the…

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