Category Archives: Dark Fantasy

Dark Screams 3: The Screaming Continues

Dark Screams 3Dark Screams 3
Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar, ed.
ebook only, $2.99

The screaming in this case being more screams of enthusiasm. It’s starting to look like editors Freeman and Chizmar have a solid anthology series on their hands. I’d like to thank Mr. Freeman for putting me on the list to receive review copies.

Dark Screams Volume 3 hit digital shelves a week ago, but with final exams to grade and other end of the semester tasks, I only finished it this evening. It’s another solid installment in this series. Here’s what you get. Continue reading

More Bookstore Closing Acquisitions

I posted recently about one of the local used bookstores (currently there are 4: 2 good, 1 decent, 1 not worth bothering with) closing and some of the titles I picked up.

You know I went back.  The store will be open for a little while yet.  Here’s what I picked up this time.

More AcquisitionsI couldn’t resist the cover of the Howard pastiche by Offutt, even though I doubt I’ll read it.  The People of the Mist is an upgrade of my existing copy.  The Starfollowers of Coramonde is a later edition, but the Darrell K. Sweet cover matches the one on the first novel in the series.

I loved Sean Stewart’s Galveston some years back, but I haven’t read any of his other books.  The Tanith Lee speaks for itself.  The third row contains the first 3 of 4 in Lawrence Watt-Evans Lords of Dus series.

The last row is a reading copy of one of Evangeline Walton’s books that was part of the BAF series.  The Zahn is part of a series that looks like a lot of fun.  And the Paul Preuss because I wanted some solid science fiction in the old style.

But the gem of this little collection is the volume in the upper left of the picture.  It’s Whispers, edited by Stuart David Schiff.  It’s a collection of stories published in his groundbreaking small press magazine of the same title.  I’ve got a copy of this already, but I couldn’t pass this one up.  The contents include “Sticks” by Karl Edward Wagner, “The Barrow Troll” by David Drake, “The Dakwa” by Manly Wade Wellman, plus stories by Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, William F. Nolan, Hugh B. Cave, Dennis Etchison, Joseph Payne Brennan, Ramsey Campbell, Richard Christian Matheson, Brian Lumley, and many others.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go reread “Sticks”.

A Review of Winter Be My Shield

Winter Be My ShieldWinter Be my Shield
Jo Spurrier
Harper Voyager

This is going to be a review of one of the best books you probably won’t be able to read (at least if you live in the US) by an author you’ve probably not heard of. The reason is that the book is by an Australian writer and published by an Australian publisher. At the moment it hasn’t been published in the US. Hopefully that will change, but the vagaries of publishing aren’t rational.

Winter Be my Shield is the debut novel by Jo Spurrier.  (I love that title.)  Aside from a tendency in the first 50 pages to give infodumps, you can’t tell it’s a first novel. I found this novel to be a fresh, original, and dark read. I’m looking forward to the sequel.

The story is set in the land of Ricalan, which has been settled by the kingdom of Mesentreia. Ricalan was inhabited before the settlers arrived, and there’s quite a bit of tension. At the moment, Ricalani and Mesentreians have a common enemy. They’re being invaded from the west by the Akharian Empire. The Empire has an economy built on slavery, and to keep it running they need a fresh supply of slaves.

The story revolves around Sierra, a Ricalani who is a mage. A century before, a Ricalani queen destroyed all the mages as revenge for her daughter’s death in a mage war. Since then, mages have been feared and hated, none more so than those of Sierra’s ability. She draws her power from the suffering of others. There’s a death sentence hanging over her head just because she exists. Continue reading