Looking for some good gifts for the book lover in your family? I’ve recently contributed a few of my favorites from this year to the Weird Fiction Review End-of-Year Book List, alongside picks from the likes of Lincoln Michel, Sofia Samatar, Usman T. Malik, Helen Marshall, and more.
There are also some great book gift ideas over on Reddit’s WeirdLit community
I figured I would collect here the first few reviews from outside of Goodreads/Amazon that have appeared for Nightscript. They’ve all been favorable so far and hopefully the trend continues. Several of them were kind enough to mention my piece by name, so if you’re reading this, it’s much appreciated! All are full-length reviews, but I’ve included a quick summation of the review as well.
- Michael Kellermeyer at OldStyle Tales Press – TL;DR: “A purchase of this anthology is highly recommended to fans of intelligent and well-crafted horror.”
- Anthony Watson at Dark Musings – TL;DR: “Nightscript 1 is a worthy heir to Shadows & Tall Trees – C M has taken the mantle and run with it, producing an excellent book containing some of the best writing you’ll come across this year. It’s a book I recommend highly that you should purchase.”
- Rising Shadow – TL;DR: “Nightscript: Volume 1 is a splendid and fascinating anthology filled with weird and well written stories that will entice and chill readers in equal measure.”
Last, editor CM Muller appeared on weird fiction podcast The Outer Dark. You can listen to the episode here and subscribe to the show here. I’ve been enjoying the show and have listened to almost every episode since meeting Scott briefly at NecronomiCon in August. He, CM, and reviewer Justin Steele had many nice things to say about the collection and a couple of kind mentions of my story. If any of them are reading this, thanks again!
I’ll also take a few lines to summarize some recent work I’ve read by others that I’ve enjoyed.
- Nathan Ballingrud’s The Visible Filth | Nathan has been on my radar since we stocked his Small Beer collection, North American Lake Monsters, at the store where I used to work. I buy most things from Small Beer as long as I can fit them into the budget (or did at the time, rather, when I had a store account), but for one reason or another I just kept putting off buying that one. That was clearly an error of judgement, as I found “The Visible Filth” to be difficult to put down. I think I read it in two sittings, and if I hadn’t been traveling at the time it would have probably been just one. It was revolting in just the right way, perhaps a few hints of Ligotti, and a fine finish. I’ll definitely read something else by Nathan again soon.
- Thomas Ligotti’s “Songs of a Dead Dreamer” and “Grimscribe” | Many times have I gazed forlornly at the $400 used copies of the Subterranean Press edition and wished I could justify the expense. Thankfully, Penguin wised up and released regular trade editions of these two collections in their Classics series. I’ve enjoyed them so far, but what strikes me is just how far he has come since these first two releases. I think most of the work in Teatro Grottesco feels much more developed than the pieces in these collections. Likewise with what might be his best story (that I’ve read), in my opinion: “The Small People”. There are a few stories I’ve come across in Songs and Grimscribe that really didn’t do anything for me, but when he gets it right, he really hits it out of the park.
- Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts | This was a really tight horror story with plenty of interesting deconstruction and metacommentary on the genre, along with a charming and convincing narrator. There is a ton of reference candy for genre aficionados, and plenty of story whether you are one of those folks or not. This book seems to be doing pretty well, and I think that’s very much deserved. I was fortunate to attend a reading that Paul gave on the book’s initial release, and it was a really cool discussion about different takes on the possession story and how the book interacts with the tradition it draws from. This is another one that could be read in one or two sittings.
The book is available at Carmichael’s Bookstore, my wonderful former employer and independent store of choice. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s also purchasable directly from publisher or at Amazon.
Rising Shadow has issued a highly favorable review of the collection. The short blurb on my piece states “This story has a good and gripping ending.” I’ll take it!
I have some commentary on a new edition from one of my favorite publishers, New York Review of Books, of William Sloane’s two novels, collectively titled “The Rim of Morning”, over at Weird Fiction Review.
Also, I have received my contributor copy of Nightscript. Photos of the cat doing cat things in the same frame as the book shall appear forthwith.
On a related note, I hear tell that Nightscript editor C.M. Muller is scheduled to appear on Scott Nicolay’s fantastic podcast, The Outer Dark, on Oct. 27. I briefly met Scott at NecronomiCon and have been listening to his show ever since. It provides some excellent in-depth looks at writing process, genre, specific works, and other related matters. I just received a copy of his novella, “_after_” from Dim Shores, and I can’t wait to get into it.
I’ve got a few words in the weird fiction episode of SF Signal’s Mind Meld series today, alongside several other folks such as Ann Vandermeer, Laird Barron, Mike Allen, Ross Lockhart (who I got to meet briefly at NecronomiCon–super friendly!), John Klima, and more.
I’ve also recently completed a review of an excellent new release from New York Review of Books, which should run soon.
Last, this coming weekend I’m planning to truck it on up to the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival, where several of my favorite authors will be speaking and signing.
I’m going (as a fan) to The Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival, which looks to be promising. I’ve had the privilege of meeting several of the invited guests before, at NecronomiCon and readings elsewhere. But although I have signed editions of all of her books that I know of (except one small collector’s edition of “Stone Animals”), I have not yet gotten to convey my appreciations in person to Kelly Link, which I hope to do at this event. “Two Houses”, from her new collection (and previously published elsewhere), is one of my favorite short stories of the last decade, maybe of all time. I glowed about it some over in this review. Although she’s one of the most consistently top-notch authors I know of, that piece really deserves to be remembered as much as “The Specialist’s Hat,” which seems to be the go-to story when talking about her fiction.
Here’s a fun anecdote and brainriddleteaser: the first thing anyone says in the story I’m working on right now is, in fact, literally nothing at all.
Readingwise, I’ve been consumed by a spate of works from New York Review of Books, most recently William Sloane’s “The Rim of Morning,” due out in a couple of weeks. More on that shall be forthcoming forthwith.
Added a bibliography.
Pursuant to which, C.M. Muller’s Nightscript is out soon. Witness below the fantastic table of contents. I was lucky to be able to briefly say hello to Daniel Mills and Michael Wehunt at NecronomiCon 2015 at a reading of Aickman’s Heirs (Undertow). I’ve read their fiction before and enjoyed it, and I can say the same about several others in here.
EDIT: Mr. Muller is now taking preorders here
- “Everything That’s Underneath” by Kristi DeMeester
- “Strays” by Gregory L. Norris
- “In His Grandmother’s Coat” by Charles Wilkinson
- “The Cuckoo Girls” by Patricia Lillie
- “The Sound That the World Makes” by David Surface
- “Below the Falls” by Daniel Mills
- “The Keep” by Kirsty Logan
- “She Rose From the Water” by Kyle Yadlosky
- “Animalhouse” by Clint Smith
- “Tooth, Tongue, and Claw” by Damien Angelica Walters
- “Momma” by Eric J. Guignard
- “The Trees Are Tall Here” by Marc E. Fitch
- “A Quiet Axe” by Michael Kelly
- “The Death of Yatagarasu” by Bethany W. Pope
- “The Cooing” by John Claude Smith
- “A Knife in My Drawer” by Zdravka Evtimova
- “On Balance” by Jason A. Wyckoff
- “Learning Not to Smile” by Ralph Robert Moore
- “Fisher and Lure” by Christopher Burke
- “The Death of Socrates” by Michael Wehunt