"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.)
This week, TombRats, we’re surveying lush horror/fantasy and the autobiography of a postmodernist cyberpunk scientist and SF writer. Let’s rock!
SCROLLS: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF RUDOLF VON BITTER RUCKER by Rudy Rucker
I first encountered Rudy Rucker through his WARE TETROLOGY, a post-modernist, post-punk, down-and-dirty set piece of novels that blazed new ground in the Philip K. Dick tradition with tough, razor edged prose that rode hard science with gritty noir edge. This is his autobiography, and Rucker tells his story with the same edgy prose that catapulted his fiction into the SF stratosphere. As a boy, he imagined himself to be a beatnik, and cut his literary teeth on beat fiction. Throughout high school, his interest in punk rock and science, combined with his love of beat poetry, brought about a prose style influenced by his submersion in real science, culminated in a new literary form he created and calls “Transrealism.” Teaching science in Santa Cruz during the crux of the computer revolution, Rucker’s fiction encompasses a math-based hard edge that trips along the beating heart of character-driven action. Scientist, wild man, literary genius—Rudy Rucker has been willing to try anything and everything—drugs, alcohol, behavior—to drive his fiction forward. Entertaining, truthful and exceptionally well-written, NEST SCROLLS sheds light on the mostly isolated act of creating exceptional science fiction.
COMMEDEDIA DELLA MORTE by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Fans of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s exquisitely drawn vampire series featuring the deathless anti-hero, Count Saint-Germain, will be thrilled with Saint-Germain’s return to the very first novel in the series, 1979’S HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, which first introduced the sophisticated and world-wise Rakoczy Feransci, the inimitable Count Saint-Germain. Some twenty novels later, the vampire Count Saint-Germain is still stalking the world and, although, he has fallen in love with many living women during his vampiric reign, only one true love, Madelaine, has captured Saint-Germain’s heart and imagine throughout the centuries. Madelaine, who is now a vampire as well, has been arrested by France’s Revolutionary Tribunal, and has been sentenced to the infamous guillotine. In a frantic effort to save his one great love, Saint-Germain enters France on the sly and joins a troupe of actors to conceal his true nature. Arrested as a revolutionary, the Count soon finds himself in the exact predicament faced by Madelaine, and will soon lose his head (and his eternal life), unless he can come up with a plan. Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, named a Living Legend by the International Horror Guild, presents another brilliant novel in the Saint-Germain canon that will please fans both of vampire fiction and fans of historical fiction. For more about the exceptionally talented Ms Yarbro, please visit www.chelseaquinnyarbro.net.
We’re shaking it up in the Tomb this week with a fantastical work of fiction and an in-depth non-fiction book about one of my favorite television and film creators!
WHEDON: THE COMPLETE COMPANION published by PopMatters/Titan Books
One of the most influential television and film creators of the past twenty years must certainly be Joss Whedon. His “Whedonverse” contains Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Serenity, Doll House, Dr. Horrible, Astonishing X-Men, The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods and more! Do we love this stuff? Hell, yeah! My favorite sf television series and film are Firefly and Serenity, and I don’t know who doesn’t love Buffy and the rest. Come on! This guy has changed the world of entertainment! Want to know all about Joss Whedon, his processes and thoughts about his Whedonverse? It’s all here! Interviews with Whedon’s major collaborators Tim Minear and Jane Espenson are included along with essays and inside info about his many projects, the actors and the people who helped put together some of the most exciting entertainment in the form of TV shows, major motion pictures and comics. This volume really gets into it—female competition on Buffy the Vampire Slayer is investigated, the dystopian future of Joss Whedon’s imagination, the wild enthusiasm of his fans, everything you could possibly want to know about Joss Whedon’s empire of entertainment is here! Ever wonder about the significance of Buffy’s window? Want to know about Nathan Fillion’s misbehavior? The ethics of Mal Renolds? I stayed up all night reading this stuff! Believe me, this book is like a nearly bottomless bag of Cheetos—you just can’t stop reading. Whether you’re a casual fan or a serious student of Joss Whedon’s worlds, you will enjoy every page of this hefty volume. Go get it!
RANGE OF GHOSTS by Elizabeth Bear
Although I am not known as a huge fan of the fantasy genre, I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Bear’s fiction. Ms Bear is a true storyteller of amazing talents; she can write anything, be it science fiction, horror or fantasy. Everything she writes grabs me and will not let me go until I reach the final page. Her characters always ring true, her plots are sure-footed, and her writing dazzles. RANGE OF GHOSTS is the first book in a projected fantasy trilogy, and, whether you love fantasy or think you don’t, I believe you will adore this novel. The story opens with a lost battle, after which young Temur, rightful heir to a vast empire, turns his back on a burning city and walks away, because “…his good dun mare, with her coat that gleamed like gold-backed mirrors in the sun, had been cut from under him.” So begins Temur’s flight across the steppes to evade the hordes of his uncle Qori Buqa, whose attempts to assassinate Temur will end their family’s civil war. But Temur has the blood of his grandfather, the great Khagan, pulsing through his veins. Where once there were a hundred sons and grandsons of the Khagan, only a few remain, and they will battle to the death to claim the empire. During his flight, Temur falls in love with a tribeswoman, Edene, of the nomadic Tsareg clan that shelters him. Buqa dispatches a renegade sorcerer to kidnap Edene, and when Temur discovers that she has been taken, his passions to regain his love and his empire are set afire. What follows is a breathtaking quest that only Elizabeth Bear could have envisioned and created. I urge you to get started on what promises to be an epic fantasy trilogy. For more about the author, visit www.elizabethbear.com.
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!