Jazz Giants

Apex Magazine's Latest

Apex Magazine issue 32 includes my story "The Prowl", as well as fiction from Cat Rambo and Sarah Dalton, and an extraordinary essay by Jim C. Hines.

On sale at the bargain price of $2.99 in the Kindle store, the nook store, Smashwords, Drive Thru Fiction, directly from Apex, and eventually the iBookstore.
Subscriptions can be bought from Apex, Weightless, or the Kindle store for 19.95 a year (12 issues).
Read Away!

Lord Tophet


Magic4Terri, the benefit on behalf of ailing fantasy author, editor, artist Terri Windling, has gone live.  
Get yourself tuckerized in a Jeff Ford story, or claim a rare piece of art by the great Alan Lee.  
Whatever you do, you'll be helping out one of the best and most influential people ever to have graced the fantastique with her presence.

Lucky Cat

Delia at Maido

A terrific afternoon today, spent in the company of the ever-magnificent Delia Sherman, who'd come into Philadelphia for a reading at The Big Blue Marble from her newest book, The Freedom Maze.  Good lunch at Maido in Narberth, PA, followed by time spent over cups of tea, while we discussed the state of bookstores, publishing, the teaching of writing, truly wretched novels we have known, on- and off-Broadway plays, conventions, and talked travel (and the occasional trash, too).  Nothing better than a fall afternoon in such good company.



StarShip Sofa 3 is Out!

StarShip Sofa has just released their third anthology of stories, edited by the inimitable Tony Smith, and including my rarely seen novelette, "That Blissful Height," in the company of brilliant authors and friends Joe Haldeman, Karen Joy Fowler, James Patrick Kelly, and Jack McDevitt to name just a few.   You want one.

Star Ship Sofa 3
Lord Tophet

Locus Loves "Supernatural Noir"

 ...but never mind that...Locus loves my story, "The Dingus" (emphasis mine):

August issue
Review by Richard Horton

Supernatural Noir, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Dark Horse 978-1595825469, $19.99, 336pp, tp) June 2011.

The dominant form of fantastical fiction on bookshelves currently is surely ‘‘urban fantasy,’’ a subgenre that includes the nearly ubiquitous contemporary thrillers about sexy werewolves and vampires and such, as well as the subcategory of the romance genre called ‘‘paranormal,’’ as well as much horror. As such it seems interesting to consider together three new anthologies from Ellen Datlow, the leading anthology editor in the fields of fantasy and horror. These books include one that seems to fit near to the center of the current urban fantasy field (Naked City), another that covers much the same ground with a considerably starker focus on horror (Supernatural Noir), and a third (Teeth) that is more narrowly focused in a couple of ways: it is all about vampires, and it is a young adult book, but the stories qualify as urban fantasy. Teeth of course is different for another reason; it is co-edited with Terri Windling and, as such, perhaps is more directly in a line of descent with their earlier YA anthologies such as 2010’s The Beastly Bride.

One easy thing to look for is Datlow’s ‘‘regulars’’ – Lucius Shepard and Jeffrey Ford appear in all three books, while Richard Bowes, Delia Sherman, Melissa Marr, Ellen Kushner, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Peter S. Beagle, Holly Black, and Nathan Ballingrud each appear twice. You have to admit, if you’re going to have a ‘‘stable’’ of authors, that’s a nice group to start with! Doubtless that’s one secret of Datlow’s success (and Windling’s too): a group of writers distinguished by the ability to respond with fresh work on a wide variety of themes, year after year.

As I’ve confessed before, horror isn’t usually my thing, and to be honest, Supernatural Noir doesn’t at first blush present itself as horror. Datlow’s introduction quotes Paul Duncan on noir: ‘‘used to describe any work, usually involving crime that is notably dark, brooding, cynical, complex, and pessimistic.’’ She does de-emphasize the common association with detective fiction, though there are a few of those here. So, noir stories with a supernatural element? No necessity of ‘‘horror’’ here, but by the end, that’s how it felt to me. For instance, there's the opening story, one of the best in the book, ‘‘The Dingus’’ by Gregory Frost. Noir? Definitely: it concerns an old boxing trainer investigating the horrible killing of one of his old fighters, who had been working for a mobster, and there’s plenty of mean streets and prostitutes and cynical cops, etc., to go around. But it’s definitely horror, as the protagonist ends up finding a quite terrifying creature behind the killings. Don’t get me wrong, though – this is a fine dark story.  Other stories from Supernatural Noir that stuck with me include Melanie Tem’s ‘‘Little Shit’’, about a little person with telepathic powers who impersonates children in order to track down pedophiles, and who finds one that hits her rather too close to home. Also Jeffrey Ford’s ‘‘The Last Triangle’’, in which a drug addict is ‘‘saved’’ by an old woman, but she has uses for him involving her magical abilities and those of a dangerous wizard. It's warmer than most of the rest of the book, noir in many particulars, it seems to me, but not in feel. And Brian Evenson’s ‘‘The Absent Eye’’ is an effective pure horror story, with a nice slant detective aspect growing out of it, about a boy who loses an eye and learns to see different things in its absence. Finally, Caitlín R. Kiernan’s ‘‘The Maltese Unicorn’’, which is as stylishly noir as any story here, is about a used bookstore owner who is friendly with a mysterious brothel owner, and thus ends up trying to track down a strange object – a dildo – for her, and gets involved, to her distress, with a beautiful and untrustworthy woman mixed up in the whole business. I thought this the best story in the book, and the story that most perfectly, to my taste, matched the theme.

So: three anthologies in the general area of urban fantasy (though Teeth of course is often rural); three quite different books in feel, from the same editor (or editors); and all well worth reading. Naked City is probably the most satisfying overall, though Teeth offers the best single story, and horror readers will probably prefer Supernatural Noir.