"Welcome to Count Gore De Vol's Tomb of Dark Delights. I'm J. L. Comeau, horror writer and resident Tomb Keeper. I have been charged with the daunting task of sorting and cataloging the Count's vast library of horror, science fiction and fantasy. Take a torch from the wall and follow me down the stone stairway into the darkness deep beneath the Dungeon. It's cold and damp down here--perfect for the kind of reading we're going to do. Never mind the shambling figures in the shadows, they're probably just some friends of ours looking for a good book. If you click on the cover, you'll be taken to a wonderful place where you can buy the book.
Now, let's reach into the musty stacks and see what we can find..."
(Clicking on the covers gives you more information and prices from Amazon.com and other outlets.)
How about some Old Guard science fiction this week? I have for you a pair
of novels from legends of the genre that prove that talent is ageless.
A BORROWED MAN by Gene Wolfe
One of genre fiction’s legendary giants, Gene Wolfe has, over the decades, received innumerable awards for his marvelous works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and his imagination still soars after, lo, these many years. In this, his newest work of staggering genius, Mr. Wolfe envisions a world both familiar and very strange, indeed. E. A. Smithe is not considered a man. He is a clone—a Professional Library Clone--into whose brain the personality and memories of famous deceased mystery writer has been uploaded. And so, E. A. Smithe sits in a library like a living book on a third floor shelf, available for checkout, collecting dust as he awaits an interested human. One day, Smithe’s long and lonely anticipation comes to an end. Colette Coldbrook arrives to collect Smithe because she believes that there is a clue in one of the novels written by the author uploaded into Smithe contains a clue that will unlock the mystery of her father’s death. Together, Smithe and Colette embark on a search for the answer who murdered the young woman’s father and why. This is a captivating story that is a delightful and engrossing science fiction noir mystery.
DEATH WAVE by Ben Bova
Six-time Hugo winner Ben Bova scores yet again with DEATH WAVE, a continuation of his previous novel, NEW EARTH, in which Jordan Kell made history when he led the first human mission beyond the boundaries of our solar system. Kell’s expedition to an Earth-like planet discovered intelligent life, but also found nothing but devastation—and one surviving alien AI who revealed to the Earth team that the black hole at the core of Earth’s galaxy is producing a wave of deadly radiation that, if not stopped, will destroy the entire Milky Way system. Although they race back to Earth in order to warn mankind, they return centuries later to find the world vastly altered by climate change, and the Greenhouse Effect has affected everything, including the culture. Now that they have returned, Kell and his team must convince Earth’s governments and people that the Death Wave is coming. Will their warning be ignored by the masses in the same way climate change was ignored? This time, no last-minute emergency rigging will save the world, and the entire galaxy is stake. Riveting and complex, Dr. Bova has created an important and entertaining tale of science fiction that is relevant and entirely credible.
I love Penguin Classics editions and two of their newest titles are right up my dark alley! Two of dark fantasy’s finest authors have been reissued, and they’re not to be missed! Enjoy!
CASE AGAINST SATAN by Ray Russell
Ah, Ray Russell! How exceedingly strange and wonderful that his graphic novel of satanic possession, A CASE AGAINT SATAN, should be issued as a Penguin Classic! I’m sure there are many readers out there who are unaware of this grand novel, and bask in the surety that William Blatty’s THE EXORCIST was the first novel that featured the Church against a possessed child. Wrong! THE CASE AGAINST SATAN preceded both THE EXORCIST and ROSEMARY’S BABY--in fact, one can look at Mr. Blatty’s bestselling novel as an, um, expansion of Ray Russell’s slim volume. Here are the stats: THE CASE AGAINST SATAN is about a young girl, Susan Garth, who transforms from a sweet-natured teen into a bile-spewing monster whose condition has not been remedied, but exacerbated, by medicine and psychiatry. Seeking the last possible avenue of relief, the church is brought in by way of Bishop Crimmings, an old guard cleric who recruits to help him a young, brash priest, Father Sargent, who has been wrestling with some demons of his own. Sound familiar? You bet. And the battle for Susan Garth’s soul commences…with scads of elemental gook, scary business, and some graphic deviltry. As Laird Barron points out in his astute Foreward to this edition, “Russell understood that fear and curiosity drive us.” And, oh, Mr. Russell certainly used that understanding to create a hellscape that hasn’t lost an ounce of potency with the passage of more than a half decade since its first publication. This is the good stuff. Click on the cover graphic and get some.
PERCHANCE TO DREAM by Charles Beaumont
A prolific writer of weird tales, Charles Beaumont died in his early thirties of what is now thought to have been early onset Alzheimer’s, unknown at the time. Probably most recognized for his amazing classic Twilight Zone teleplays (including “The Howling Man”, which Harlan Ellison once declared the finest story ever written), Mr. Beaumont created fiction in a breathtaking range of genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror, noir among some of them. PERCHANCE TO DREAM displays some of that range, from the graphically horrifying “The Jungle”, a prescient tale of a jungle pathogen reminiscent of the then-unheard-of Ebola, to the nerve-jangling and thoroughly strange tale of aural weirdness, “The Sound.” While he was often referred to as “the poor man’s Ray Bradbury”, nothing could be farther from the truth. Charles Beaumont wrote with a marvelous clear eye without ever slipping into the sentimentality that often fogged Bradbury’s fiction. Who can tell what wonders he might have written had been granted a full life span? In fact, Ray Bradbury provides the Foreward to this collection (written in 1982), and William Shatner closes shop with a thoughtful Afterword in which he discusses his starring role in The Intruder, an intense racial segregation drama written by Charles Beaumont and directed by Roger Corman. PERCHANCE TO DREAM contains unforgettable, haunting stories that seem as fresh today as when they were written back in the mid- to- late fifties. Beaumont was a man with a staggering talent and imagination whose work should never go out of print. The best!
To get even more information about these titles, including some of the best prices on the Internet, just click on each of the book covers and you'll be connected to
To visit the individual writer's website, just click on any underlined name.
About the Tomb Keeper (Or, who is this person of mystery)
J. L. (Judy) Comeau is an award winning short story writer whose work has appeared internationally in major horror and dark fantasy anthologies such as the Borderlands series, Best New Horror, The Years' Best Horror, the Hot Blood series, and the Dark Voices series in the UK. She is an active member of the Horror Writer's Association, and she lives in the Washington, DC area where she also teaches short story writing. Click on FIREBIRD to read one of her most anthologized stories.
To learn more about the Horror Writer's Association, just click on their logo!