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Black Static


Gone, But Not Forgotten - Part 4

24th Dec, 2010

Author: Peter Tennant

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Okay, last one of these 'Dear John' posts, and then I can start the New Year with whatever passes for a clean deck when you have about a hundred books in a TBR pile.

I reviewed thirteen anthologies back in Black Static #19, including three by Ellen Datlow. The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People (Viking hardback, 504pp, $19.99), which Ellen co-edited with Terri Windling, wasn't one of them, and now the window of opportunity has closed. The book contains twenty two stories of shape-shifters, people who can change into animals, most of them new, but with a smattering of reprints. Contributors include Lucius Shepard, Tanith Lee, Jeffrey Ford, Peter S. Beagle and Marly Youmans. From a superficial glance, it appears to be aimed at young readers, but that needn't put off anyone who enjoys good storytelling. You can read a review by Rich Horton over at The SF Site.

I've reviewed a lot of short stories over the last year, in various collections and anthologies. One collection I didn't get around to is The Cranes That Build The Cranes (Abacus paperback, 215pp, £7.99) by Jeremy Dyson, who is probably best known as co-creator of the TV series The League of Gentlemen. According to The Independent he 'mates Saki with Ian McEwan', while Esquire name drops the ever obvious Edgar Allan Poe. You can read a review at The Independent website by clicking on the link below, though not one that contains the Saki/McEwan comparison quoted for the back cover blurb.

Harper Collins must have had high hopes and a significant publicity spend for The Strain (Harper Collins paperback, 496pp, £6.99) by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan: they sent me ARCs of both the hardback and the paperback editions. Tempting as it was to see what new twist a visionary film director like del Toro would give to the vampire subgenre, I didn't get around to reading either. I may still do so though, if only by way of catching up on the back story before assaying the second volume in this trilogy, The Fall, which I've also been sent a copy of. You can find a review at The Guardian if you want to know more about the book.

I've thoroughly enjoyed everything I've read by Paul Magrs, and reviewed a couple of his books for The Third Alternative and Black Static, including an early volume in his 'Bride of Frankenstein' series, which chronicles the further adventures of Brenda, the lady with the beehive hairdo to die for, after she moved to Whitby, and riffs pleasantly on just about every horror archetype you can throw a dead cat at, and will be dearly loved by fans of the old Universal and Hammer movies. Sadly though, I didn't get round to reviewing the latest volume Hell's Belles (Headline paperback, 512pp, £7.99), but fortunately Stephen Theaker did over on the TQF website.

And while googling for a review of Hell's Belles I discovered that there's a burlesque troupe over in Detroit with the same name. Obviously I need to check this out, so that I can report back on any possible copyright infringement. I may be some time.



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