I love the idea of anthologies–getting them for one author and discovering others–but what inevitably happens is I wait for the starring author to publish their contribution separately as a Kindle Single or go to a Barnes and Noble and read through the stories I’m actually interested in, skipping everything else. But every once in a while an anthology comes out that’s pure magic cover to cover, and all it took was George R.R. Martin on the editing team.
Songs of Love and Death: All-Original Tales of Star-Crossed Love includes Jim Butcher’s “Love Hurts,” a short story from the Dresden Universe that promises to solve at least some of Harry and Karen’s UST, and Neil Gaiman’s creepily mind-blowing imaginary girlfriend story, “The Thing About Cassandra,” both totally worth the anthology’s negligible Kindle price. However, also worth reading are M.N.L. Hanover’s haunted house story, which brings some genuine chills, and a sci-fi classic about a middle-aged man and his alien love, reinvented with use of the internet, by Peter S. Gould. And of course, the pièce de résistance, a snippet from the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon rounds off this anthology’s offerings of bittersweet romance.
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Friday, May 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
I don’t know why radioplays haven’t really caught on in the States, but rest assured BBC Radio’s got us covered with an amazing adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.
Unlike my previous Audible recs, Neverwhere utilizes a full cast to great effect. James McAvoy plays the incredulous Richard Mayhew, using his actual Scottish accent rather than the phony English one he usually adopts when on screen, and Margaery Tyrell, aka Natalie Dormer, plays the intrepid Door.
This is a bedtime story done by professionals as other imminent British favorites, like Sir Christopher Lee and Benedict Cumberbatch, also appear in the cast. There’s quality acting here. At one point during the blooper reel, it was revealed that Anthony Head nearly choked on some marbles trying to imitate the sound of Mr. Croup chomping down on a porcelain figurine.
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Wednesday, April 8th, 2015||No Comments »|
In the wake of the death of acclaimed author Terry Pratchett, bookworms everywhere have been celebrating his life and his accomplishments, but one of his most beloved novels is Good Omens, the hysterical satire that he co-authored with Neil Gaiman.
Part of the reason why the novel is such a hit is because both men take all the lore surrounding the Apocalypse and turn it on its head. For example, the Anti-Christ is a young boy named Adam who has a pet hellhound that takes the form of a tiny mutt named Dog. Both Gaiman and Pratchett also gleefully poke fun at monotheistic religion with the figures of Aziraphale, a stuffy, book-loving Angel of the Lord, and his friend, a demon named Crawley, who did not so much fall as he “sauntered vaguely down to Earth.” While the two Otherworldly beings try to stop the End Times from occurring, in the end, the authors note that humans are fully capable of saving themselves from destruction.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, March 18th, 2015||No Comments »|
The master of mystery, magic, and horror is back with a new collection of short stories that ponders the masks we wear and our individual stories. Gaiman mixes the modern world with that of the fantastical in Trigger Warning. From re-visiting the world of his beloved novel American Gods in the short story “Black Dog,” in which the main character wanders alongside murder victims, to “Down a Sunless Sea,” where an old woman hides a dreadful secret, each story will have your hair standing on edge.
However, not all of his stories are out-and out creepy. In one tale, he has a wife spilling the secrets of her late husband to anyone who will listen in a spine-tingling metaphor for the onset of Alzheimer’s. While Gaiman’s monsters are scary, it’s the unveiling of the masks that we wear in our daily life that are the real horrors.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, March 4th, 2015||No Comments »|
Seven months ago, Talks at Google invited author Neil Gaiman to stop by to chat about his new novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Gaiman starts the interview by joking that he wrote Ocean “accidentally” and explains that the idea for the novel occurred when his wife Amanda Palmer had to go to Melbourne, Australia for work. While his wife was in another country recording an album, Gaiman admits that he missed her terribly and wanted to write her something.
“Sending her a short story seemed like a really good idea,” Gaiman quipped and went on to describe how he toned down the fantasy, which is his trademark, and instead put in elements that he knew Amanda, as a reader, would enjoy.
However, over the course of the writing process, Gaiman admits that it went from a short story to a novel. Once his wife returned and the couple went to Dallas on business, he emailed his editors to let them know how the work had progressed. Although in the past Gaiman mused that he’s written pieces that were autobiographical in nature, The Ocean At the End of the Lane is the first one that has made friends and family members cry.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Friday, February 7th, 2014||No Comments »|