Strange Stories of Self - Eight Weird Fiction Stories of Social Dysfunction

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Or horror-ible? Is that a word? Darkly humorous. Lockbox by E. Catherine Tobler - Creepy mindtrip at a mysterious abbey, with footnotes. I love well-utilized footnotes.

And Gothic abbeys. Bitter Perfume by Laura Blackwell - Multi-generational family unit; middle-age unemployment struggles; what is betrayal and what is loyalty when talking about end of life scenarios? Simultaneously haunting and grounded. It edged more towards social realism than I generally have a taste for, but was so skillfully done I was fully on board for it.

Its presentation of sacrifice and motherhood reflected and twisted a theme I noticed throughout this anthology, of protagonists voluntarily sacrificing their bodies in exchange for an external force granting them meaning -- or not. I liked the academic place setting professional conference and research lab and the uncertain-but-ominous ending really worked here. Notes Found in a Decommissioned Asylum by Sharon Mock - While several of the stories made me want to read more by the author, this is the first where I wanted to read more in this world. I don't know how to describe it. When I read fiction it's generally because I want an emotional engagement with a story; when I read nonfiction it's often because I want to expand my knowledge in a way that helps me think about the world differently.

This allowed me to do both, and it's not often that I find a piece of writing that does that. Frankly, if the author can bring this to novel writing, I'd be fully on board with a YA??? Despite because? Sorha is in her teens, Sisamis really goes there with the dark goddess themes, in a way i can't explain without spoiling it. I actually made a verbal exclamation at the ending. Warning, in case it's helpful: iirc 2 of the stories use the "n" word -- Ammutseba Rising where I was totally caught off guard by it and thought the story could have done without it and Queen of a New America where it made more sense given the context.

Also, horrible things happen to people in every story, including domestic abuse, murder, mutilation, and slavery. Feb 07, RJ rated it liked it Shelves: adult-fic , magic , scifi , short-stories , horror. This became a bit of a slog to get through - especially when I was already despairing and dark-moody. To its credit, none of the stories felt repetitive, which seems like a risk in a Lovecraft anthology - but I also didn't find anything particularly empowering or strikingly transformative of the source material.

Maybe my expectations were too high, having recently read The Ballad of Black Tom , which was a knock-out. Highlights for me were "De Deabus Minoribus Exterioris Theomagicae" by Jilly Drea This became a bit of a slog to get through - especially when I was already despairing and dark-moody. Highlights for me were "De Deabus Minoribus Exterioris Theomagicae" by Jilly Dreadful an archivist becomes increasingly affected by a mysterious tome as she records details about it , "Eight Seconds" by Pandora Hope an Australian roughrider reluctantly investigates the cult that drew in her estranged daughter , and "Cthulhu of the Dead Sea" by Inkeri Kontro an international team of scientists playfully name a strange new microbe with fractally recurring tentacle structures after the fictional Elder God; what could go wrong!

I was initially really into "Magna Mater" - using a hypnotic glamour to recover the remains of one's ancestor from the British Museum, very up my alley! Dec 15, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy rated it really liked it. I didn't like every story in this collection equally well. Interestingly this doesn't mean it is an uneven collection - it is not.

It just attests to the variety on display here. There are so many Lovecraftian collections out there that suggest the genre is a boy's club. This collection amply displays that women writers have much to say and much to contribute to the eldritch tale. Many of these stories focus on female figures from Lovecraft's tales - Lavinia Whatelay, Asenath Whaite and memorabl I didn't like every story in this collection equally well.

Many of these stories focus on female figures from Lovecraft's tales - Lavinia Whatelay, Asenath Whaite and memorably, Shub Niggurath, the goat of a thousand young. This is not some half-baked affirmative action collection but a strong selection of tales with something for most Lovecraft devotees and weird fic fans. Aug 11, Brit rated it really liked it Shelves: short-stories , horror.

Reviews are hard for me to write, and I've been doing them more rarely than I'd like. This book is really really good. The stories have a huge range of setting, of style, of tone. There's the light humour of door-to-door evangelism for Shub-Niggurath, the bravery and horror in "Eight Seconds", the slow familial chill of "Bitter Perfume", the language and construction of "Lockbox" Oh my goodness, "Lockbox". This is a book that brings the Mythos into everything from knitting to rodeo riding, cheerl Reviews are hard for me to write, and I've been doing them more rarely than I'd like.

This is a book that brings the Mythos into everything from knitting to rodeo riding, cheerleading to librarianship, the ancient border of Hadrian's Wall to the slowly starving depths of space. And on a purely shallow level, it's a gorgeous book. My biggest complaint is that I wish a couple of the stories had gone on longer.

This is a tiny, tiny complaint and tells you something about how good I found the stories. Do yourself a favour and check it out. Nov 29, Steven rated it really liked it Shelves: anthology , horror. When you delve into Lovecraftian territories, it's often difficult to please everyone. Perhaps you enjoy the Mythos stories, but not the Dreamlands types of tales, or vice versa.

Perhaps you're reading for the language, or for the ideas, or for the horror. The stories here are all creepy in a very Lovecraftian way, though some are quiet and intimate tales, while others are death and destruc. The stories here are all creepy in a very Lovecraftian way, though some are quiet and intimate tales, while others are death and destruction. Regardless, this book's central thesis - that the ouvre of Lovecraftian tales can, and should, include female authors - is well borne out by the book itself. Quite recommended. Nov 05, Ana Mardoll rated it it was amazing Shelves: ana-reviewed.

I read it over Halloween, dragging myself out of a particularly nasty reading slump, and was delightfully terrified by several of the stories. I never before thought I would be terrified of corn, ya'll. Let's get the warnings and shopper-caveats out of the way first. As with any anthology, some of the stories are great and some of them are not as shiny. I read all of the stories for my review, but would caution most folks to go in with a mentality that if a particular story isn't working for you, skip it. Come back to it later if you must, or not at all if you prefer.

It's fine. Don't force yourself to read something you don't enjoy; there's no book report after. If you're coming straight from a Lovecraft "short story" reading binge, these new stories will feel VERY short indeed; it's interesting how the standard length for the genre has changed over time. In some cases, the shorter length seems detrimental to the story; there's not room to indulgently spread out in the same way HPL could and did in order to really build suspense and weave terror into the mundane.

Again, this is standard for anthologies, but something to be aware of; I wish and hope that some of these authors can be commissioned again for fuller stories in this genre. If you aren't familiar with the lore, I believe you can still keep up I did, even though there are a few HPL stories I've yet to read ; if you ARE familiar with the lore, there is always the risk that tie-in mentions may feel a bit This is going to be super subjective to the reader, but I wanted to mention it. And I do question the editorial decision to place both of the Asenath stories NEXT to each other; that was weird and jarring and one of those moments where you're reminded that all this is make-believe, which is detrimental to the atmosphere, in my opinion.

On a more delicate topic: Trigger warnings. I don't really know how to warn for a book without treading into spoiler territory, but I don't think it's too far out of line to state that this is a VERY DARK horror anthology. Children both born and unborn , pets, women, and old ladies fare particularly badly in many of the stories, and sometimes in graphic ways. Several of the stories deal with domestic abuse. As a survivor myself, I found the stories to be vibrantly terrifying and I enjoyed them, but do be aware of your triggers and practice self-care wherever you can.

Also, to fellow survivors: please remember that you are brave and amazing and wonderful. I won't review each of the stories individually, but quite a few of them rocked my world and left me wanting to cower under the covers. Violet Is The Color of Your Energy was horrifying in that special queasy-pit-in-your-stomach kind of way. Lavinia's Wood was a great pitch of creepy Lovecraftian evil.

Chosen made me weep, as did Bitter Perfume and Eight Seconds, although I really wanted the latter two to be longer. The Eye of Juno was wonderful. And Provenance needs to be a full length novel and a movie and everything, because it was just so so good and wonderfully captures that Lovecraftian feeling of living out a mundane existence under a shadow of inescapable horror. Wow, these stories are incredibly diverse, by the way!

There are a lot of stories here about women of color, which is a very welcome addition to the Lovecraftian canon; another story includes a character who is either a gorgeous trans boy or a very dashing butch lesbian—either way, all the love to nu-Asenath in The Thing on The Cheerleading Squad. Older women are included here, as are women with various disabilities including a woman who uses a wheelchair! All of these characters are beautifully well-rounded and it's really wonderful to see an anthology which includes a wide variety of men and women, rather than sticking to the cis white men Lovecraft favored.

Caveat to 6: I am a white cis woman and there are going to be things that fly under my radar or which I find questionable yet am not qualified to comment on. One of the early stories uses the N-word in reference to the HPL cat; yes, the cat is a reference that readers will recognize, but I don't know that the actual word needed to be used. One of the stories is set within the framework of a plantation and which I am not qualified to review; another is about a white explorer who marries a much younger native guide. One of the stories talks about blonde hair and blue eyes as markers of a specific type of supernatural ancestry.

In short, there are places where the authors are engaging with the world lore that we have courtesy of HPL, his rampant racism included, but I'm not always sure when that engagement is successful or not. I don't think this is a mark against the anthology but again! Bottom-line: Should you buy this anthology? I'm glad I did! I definitely recommend it for the kindle price if you a like the weird tales genre, b don't mind Lovecraftian characters being name-dropped in your stories, and c won't be triggered by the deliciously horrific content herein.

Also, supporting lady-authors and artists especially diverse ones! Nov 09, SmartBitches rated it it was amazing Shelves: a-grade , fantasy , horror. Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books This collection has adventure and horror, sex, violence, and some very dark humor. The stories have divers Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books This collection has adventure and horror, sex, violence, and some very dark humor. The stories have diverse characters in diverse situations, but they share that common Lovecraftian atmosphere of dread and wrongness.

They are horrifying in the sense that there is so much wrongness. Lovecraft was a master at conveying the idea that things are just not right, and that this not-rightness is all that is required to cause characters so much distress that they go crazy.

The writers in this anthology do a great job of running with the idea of not-rightness. This is a great anthology for Halloween, as long you are in the mood for horror as opposed to romance. As a bonus, the anthology is illustrated with drawings that run from grotesque to adorable. Aug 10, Lori rated it liked it Shelves: fiction , short-story , fantasy , horror.

Oct 08, K. Shelves: lovecraft , monsters , lovecraft-circle , witches. I can instantly name the story that blew my socks off. Trouble is, I have a hard time naming another one. She Walks in Shadows is a collection of Lovecraftian tales by women about women. That's a great premise; it instantly earned my dollar, and probably always will.

She said she could write a whole series spun off of this, people; start throwing money at her until she does. Hell I can instantly name the story that blew my socks off. Hell, make it a webseries and it could be the next Carmilla. My issue is, after that, I had a hard time recalling the stories inside. Sure, they're entertaining during the reading, not much stayed with me afterwards. I had to check the table of contents to job my memory.

One noticeable differences here is in the repeating motifs. The way most Cthulhu collections have buckets of tentacles, this has body-swapping. That might be Asenaith's influence coming through, or just a coincidence. I love the stories that authors chose to riff on. Most Lovecraft anthologies have many variations on a handful one stories.

This one has a wide variety, include some that I rarely or never see riff on Cool Air? Arthur Goddamn Jermyn?! There was one story of which I couldn't quite see the Lovecraft collection, but that's not bad for this kind of anthology. Hell, its above the average.

Also of note, there's some really cool artwork sprinkled through the book. I want to give it up to Silvia Moreno-Garcia ; she is a class act. The book was slightly late from the projected pre-order date, so I got a free e-copy of Jazz Age Cthulhu , which I very much look forward to reading.

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That was neither expected nor required, and it was a nice surprise. We ran reviews of SF, fantasy, horror, and YA fiction, up from last year, including reviews from short fiction venues; in addition there were 27 reviews of notable audiobooks. There were four Spotlight features on publishers and writers. Design editor Francesca Myman created art for seven covers, including a pencil portrait of Ursula K.

Stephen H. Segal designed five covers, including a glowing digital tree, a line-art shark, a flaming fist, and more. Karen Burnham debuted as the new short fiction reviewer with the August issue. The site had an average of , unique visitors per month, up from , last year, and over a million hits. We saw four perfect-bound, The first Issue, 0, is entirely reprints from the original tenure of the magazine. Issues 1- 3 are about half reprint, half new.

Glossy color covers featured a variety of high-quality art: horse demons, cyborg aliens, and fantasy portraits. Print run was We received an average of 20, unique month visitors. Our subscriber base grew by to 1, These are our semiprozine print fiction venues, this year mostly not qualifying SFWA markets. Several are qualifying markets. Interzone had five bimonthly issues, 17 x 24 cm, perfect bound, with 96 pages and a glossy color cover; interiors were color on uncoated stock. One novella, seven novelettes, and 20 short stories added up to 28 pieces of fiction, down from 33 last year, plus reviews and other non-fiction.

Covers were of good quality. TTA remains one of the few fiction markets that does not post pay rates. Print run was , with subscribers, with digital subscriptions on Weightless. Diane L. Print subscriptions fell to from ; ebook subscriptions dropped to 70 from after a bonus offer ran out.

Co-editors were Gavin J. A formal announcement about the relaunch of the magazine under a new publisher is forthcoming in early According to editor and publisher David B. We are a semiprozine selling about copies: half of that is in print and the other half is an ebook.

The magazine was available in ebook and POD through Amazon. Jasso, and Joshua Pevner. It was a double-sized issue, because I wanted the journal to go out with a bang, and I am extraordinarily proud of it. Print run was , with a subscriber base of Her flash story appears in issue Editor was Vince Gotera. Veterans Cemetery Dance and Phantom Drift both experienced production delays, with their single issues delayed till early And we won the Locus Award for best magazine! We were thrilled to see a fantastic piece from E. Covers were handsome original art.

Average monthly uniques was 8,, and about 1, ebook subscribers. Pay rates jumped from three cents to six cents for the next two years…. Steve Davidson, who acquired the lapsed trademark in , was publisher, and Ira Nayman was editor-in-chief. Payrate was We were also nominated for a Locus Award in the Magazine category. It's a dark space opera that takes you into the void where humanity is human and the nasty and cruel rules the day.

You won't read another science fiction as dark and depressing as Gap. The best reason to read this series is because it's a good story, well told with a brilliant dark edge. Oh, did I mention its dark? You've been warned! The Uplift. No science fiction list would be complete without the inclusion of a science fiction mystery that morphs into an action adventure.

Most series teach you how to read them during the process of reading them. Brin elected to use the mystery format as a vehicle to launch his Uplift Saga. This worked well in the first book but required Brin to move to an action adventure style for later books. Familiar themes in Brin's series include ecology, genetic diversity, slavery and issues with religion that result in genocide. There are six novels in the Uplift Universe with the author stating there will be at least one more. You should read Brin as a continuum of the works of earlier writers who challenge moral and legal constructs.

Escape your slacker tendencies and get busy reading. Book 4 is the start of another sequel trilogy. The Night's Dawn. Are you frustrated when a series book is too short? A quickie can certainly be produced faster and reach the shelves sooner but a lot of fans experience a lack of satisfaction in this trend. Don't worry. Hamilton delivers. He is the author of the Night's Dawn Trilogy. Hamilton writes epic space opera -- the science fiction version of epic fat fantasy. There's a large cast of characters, interplanetary warfare, politics, love, treachery and an inimical force that threatens the universe itself.

There's a lot of action, suspense, love, violence and sex in this series so be prepared for a thrill ride -- you won't be bored. If one series on this list gets my vote for 'most entertaining', Night's Dawn trilogy get that vote. It might lack the grand ideas, scientific depth, or social critiques of some of the other books, but it more than makes up in epicness and thrills.

The series is set in a somewhat dystopic future and it explores themes of telepathy and sentient starships in conflict with conventional humans using nanotechnology and mechanical enhancements. There are continuing undertones of religious ideologies and numerous space battles complicated by three different aliens. This series keeps its science in the middle so that even if you failed your high-school biology class you can probably read through without feeling like a dumb ass.

Hamilton compensates by creating complex plot lines and a very detailed world. Bring snacks, you won't finish any of his books in one sitting. Hainish Cycle. This series is old school done so right it remains near the top of most science fiction book lists, including this one. That's easy. LeGuin is a renowned science fiction author associated with the era of Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke. You can't really judge any series by its placement on a list. That would be like trying to opera music to hip hop.

In reality LeGuin is at the top of her genre. She is regarded as the first major writer of feminist science fiction. Her novel is regularly taught at both the high school and university levels. The series is called the Hainish Cycle. The series includes seven novels and some shorter works. Her works are considered to be soft science fiction with anthropological and sociological features.

As you can see, being well read in terms of science fiction series, means you must throw yourself into every genre and read the best of the best. It's the fan thing to do. What you will start to discover is that all of the books on this list are part of a single cloth. They are related and interwoven all at the same time. Starts with Downbelow Station. The aliens are coming. The aliens are coming! Until you read Cherryh you haven't really read good aliens.

She's got this peculiar gift for summoning aliens to life as distinct from humans - lots of aliens. This gives her series a unique flavor, once tasted, never forgotten. Cherryh is one of the most prolific science fiction writers. Her book Downbelow Station won the Hugo in This book is part of Cherryh's Alliance Union universe. She has 27 novels, a host of short stories and several other series all within this particular universe. Her novels and series in this universe are categorized as: space opera, militaristic and hard science fiction depending on which series you are reading at the moment.

She explores life extension, human cloning, subliminal conditioning, advanced propulsion and species interactions giving insight into probable issues humans are likely to face when we encounter other sentient species. You know that movie-version space-station bar filled with aliens? Draw up your bar stool and get ready for a ruckus, a few dented skulls, tentacles and the ever-wonderful Hani cats. You could easily swap Alliance-Union with Cherryh's Foreigner series, which is probably the best series about the intricacies of human-alien relations. The Alliance-Union series is more expansive with more books and a more developed overall world hence it's a better 'series' , but for focused characters and characterization, Foreigner wins.

Oxford Time Travel. If you haven't read any Willis, you are a total fail at science fiction street cred. Willis has won more major awards than any other science fiction writer ever! She has won 11 Hugos and 8 Nebulas. Her short story Fire Watch is also part of this series. She's kind of mean in the sense that she likes to pop reader's bubbles.

This series features history students at the University of Oxford, England, time traveling to critical points in history. In fact, her mastery of history coupled to science will smack you around like she's the cat and you are the bell in the little plastic ball. Give me more, I hate you. Don't just take my word for it. Read the books! Mars Trilogy. We have a rover there right now cruising around sampling things.

Let's talk relevance. There's an offer to transport volunteers to live on Mars. The future is now! Mars Trilogy explores the terraforming and settlement of Mars by long-lived humans.

The novels follow the familiar theme of ecological destruction, powerful corporations, and overpopulation on Earth in contrast to the development of Mars, it's egalitarian society and the promise of a future beyond the disasters on Earth. This is a near-future dystopic science fiction series. We don't have to look far to see our own greedy corporations, overpopulation and ecological destruction. Are you ready to lift off? Lord Valentine.

At the core of all the best science fiction series is good story telling in one form or the other. I mean, who wants to read only about novel ideas and grand concepts if there isn't anything outside of that -- you might as well just read a science manual! What drives this series is consistent excellent story telling with wonderful characters and a plot that delivers. There's mystery, action, adventure, romance, and a wonderfully fascinating world that keeps you captivated the whole way through.

And plot twists? It has those too. And while huge ideas and concepts are not explored as in some of the other great works of science fiction, the awesome story, mystery, and great characters more than make up for it. If you are looking for a great series that will actually keep you enthralled, this series is your fix -- especially if you like those vagabond-becomes-hero type of stories. We would expect nothing less from a Science Fiction Grand Master.

This series is like eating meat and potatoes after several days of dieting. Eat up, there is no shortage of stories to dine on. His Majipoor Series were published beginning in There are eight novels in the series. In addition Silverberg has more than 67 other novels and he has won Hugos and Nebula awards.

Now that we've relieved you of the insane notion that all science fiction must be based in credible science, now's the time to hold you down and torture you with comedic science fiction. I didn't just make up the genre. Science fiction can be quite funny. And, funny science fiction is perhaps the most popular weird science fiction genre of all. Published in , this comic science fiction novel has been adapted to radio, stage, film, comic books and television series.

There are five or six official sequels depending on how you count them and many confusing adaptations for specific venues. At the center of all of this is Arthur Dent a hapless Englishman who gets involved with a peculiar array of aliens, robots and other beings immediately before the destruction of Earth. It's important to know that in every version of the many versions and adaptations of this novel one thing always stays the same, they end with the destruction of Earth.

Gothic Themes, Settings, and Figures |

How's that funny? It just is. Stop asking dumb questions and read it for yourself. Old Man's War. Got popularity? I don't know if you can find a more popular science fiction writer right now. He's socially astute, spot on with his commentary and is nearly too cool to maintain his geek cred. You've heard of Old Man's War, it's well on its way to becoming a Paramount block-buster movie. For some really good reasons too. Scalzi gives us something unique, an older protagonist meshed with a militaristic science fiction future, sort of.

He gives the old man a young body with all kinds of special abilities but the character maintains an older mentality. His universe includes nano-technology, consciousness transfers and body mod. This series offers an updated take on familiar military-oriented science fiction although it retains many of the tropes of earlier works in the same sub-genre, taking some of the best from Starship Troopers and The Forever War both considered great science fiction works. There are six books in the series with more possible. Now truth be told, it's the first book with the most shebang with the sequels never quite living up to the initial greatness.

But the world and ideas presented do make for a hell of a ride throughout the whole series. Other science fiction might be more cerebral or philosophical inducing, but these books are sure as hell fun to read. The Old Man's War was nominated for the Hugo but then - well, someone else won.

Year-in-Review: 2018 Magazine Summary

One of the great lessons of science fiction is that the fans often drive the future. Read Scalzi because he's dope. If you don't know who he is or what he writes you're a putz. Erasmus is a Fraa - one of the few great thinkers held in a world that prevents them from using any technology more complex than pen and paper due to a thousand year old decision made to save the race from extinction.

The world on which he lives - called Arbre, is home to many such concents of Fraa and their female counterparts, called Suur, as well as people of the pale - called collectively the Seacular, and governed by the inquisition The Fraa and Suur live in stable, slow changing societies while the Seacular live in a more familiar fast paced technologically legal society, the Seacular referring to the Concents for new ideas and tech developed by the intellectuals, though they may not use it themselves.

There is little contact between the two societies on the planet aside from what is officially permitted, and then only in controlled fashion. Then there appears an alien spacecraft orbiting the planet - and it soon becomes an open secret. But then it seems that there is more to this ship than any would suppose, and perhaps they are not from this reality at all, perhaps reality is not what we think it is Neal put some pretty heavy-duty scientific theory into this alternate universe story: specifically his major themes revolve around the 'many-worlds interpretation' of quantum mechanics the one that deals with waveforms and multiple universe theory and the conflict between 'formalism' and 'Platonic Realism', which is a form of 'Ethical Realism'.

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The story is intricate, convoluted, well thought out and alive. There is enough depth to drown in if you feel the need, and some understanding of the theories and themes contained can be gained from reading it. Space Odyssey. A series that's leaked into the collective imagination of man. The whole idea of an A. The first book A Space Odyssey is one of the best contact novels ever written.

It's a tour de force of not only ideas but of the human soul.