The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
Joe R. Lansdale (photo: Karen Lansdale), Ellen Datlow, Nancy Kress, and Rick Klaw (Brandy Whitten)
If Frank Dobie is the Lone Star State’s Homer, if Larry McMurtry is the Texas equivalent of Henry James, then Joe R. Lansdale has to be the Mark Twain behind the pine curtain. No other writer—in Texas or any other state in the union—can switch between gut-bursting humor and nail-biting suspense with as much heart and grace as Lansdale. His newest book is billed as a companion piece to the television show HAP AND LEONARD, which is based on the author’s bestselling series of novels involving (white, liberal, and straight) Hap and (black, conservative, and gay) Leonard. Of course one does not need to have seen the show or even have read the previous thrillers to enjoy this fantastic book. Rather than a singular narrative, BLOOD AND LEMONADE is more a collection of short stories about Hap’s youth and his first run-ins and adventures with Leonard. Though crime and criminals appear throughout, the stories are more about growing up—specifically growing up in the ’50s and ’60s in East Texas during segregation and the civil rights movement. The tales are linked via memory of the characters, but each story is able to stand on its own as a flash of passing innocence or as a lesson in well-intentioned cynicism.
The main ingredient that makes BLOOD AND LEMONADE stand out is that these bits and pieces reflect the racially charged violence that plagued East Texas (and the rest of America) for so long. Recently, there has been such a rise of hate crimes that it is difficult to read these passages without reflecting more on the present instead of the past. But because of recent events, these stories are more important than ever since they serve to remind us of how ugly and brutish things were not that long ago and how quickly we could fall back into such behavior if we allow it.
By combining elements of crime genre with layered characters in a world where race and sexuality are never whitewashed, BLOOD AND LEMONADE is a must-have for just about everyone. Joe R. Lansdale is one of the best writers to come out of Texas. Whatever he writes, I’ll read.
The reigning sovereign of horror editing is Ellen Datlow, who is an acknowledged master of identifying and amassing the very best frights. Case in point is NIGHTMARES: A NEW DECADE OF MODERN HORROR (Tachyon. 2016. ISBN 9781616962326. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616962333). Beginning where her essential DARKNESS: TWO DECADES OF MODERN HORROR ends and spanning up to 2015, Datlow has compiled 24 of the finest stories written over the last ten years. By arranging them in chronological order, she illustrates the evolution and breadth of the genre, while spotlighting its brilliant new voices. Read this to see what you have been missing and to identify important titles to add to your collection before Halloween hits.
Several months previously, an alien ship landed in New York Harbor. They suddenly really want to talk to Dr Marianne Jenner, author of a scientific paper all about mitochondria. They tell Jenner, and the UN Secretary General, some really interesting things. The aliens (humanity calls them “Denebs” even though they aren’t from the star Deneb) and humanity are almost genetically identical. Also, very bad things are going to happen to Earth in less than one year.
This book easily gets five stars. It is full of ideas on a variety of topics, it is really easy to read and the hard science is kept to a “reasonable’ level. Will there be a sequel? I hope so
On THE GEEK CURMUDGEON, Rick Klaw shares his essay “The Steam-Driven Time Machine:A Pop Culture Survey” that originally appeared in Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s STEAMPUNK.
As revealed in my previous post, I’m moderating the Steampunk panel at this weekend’s Comicpalooza. Newer folks may wonder why I’m moderating such a panel. (Or not, but I’m going to share this with you anyway).
Way back in 2008, I produced this little essay for Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s bestselling, seminal anthology STEAMPUNK. The magnificent book came out just at the beginnings of the latest Steampunk craze. After nine printings, one could argue it helped fan the flames of the movement.
When I was a child in the seventies, it seemed like the 1961 Ray Harryhausen special effects-laden The Mysterious Island played constantly on the TV. Not that I minded. Michael Craig leads a crew of Confederate P.O.W. escapees as they pilot a hot air balloon toward points unknown. Crash landing on an apparently deserted island, the castaways encounter giant animals: a crab, a flightless bird, bees and an cephalopod, all presented in Harryhausen’s dynamic stop motion animation. The group discovers the presumed dead Captain Nemo, who had mutated the animals as part of an experiment. Throw in the pirates that attack the island and you have the recipe for a near-perfect movie. By nine years old, after many repeated viewings the film entered my personal zeitgeist, informing my later tastes and many of my creative decisions.
Mysterious Island was my first exposure to steampunk, long before K. W. Jeter coined the word in the late 1980s.
Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for [Tim] Powers, [James] Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of the era; like “steampunks,” perhaps… (Locus, #315 April 1987)
For more info on HAP AND LEONARD: BLOOD AND LEMONADE, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Elizabeth Story
For more info on NIGHTMARES: A NEW DECADE OF MODERN HORROR, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Nihil
Design by Elizabeth Story
For more info on DARKNESS: TWO DECADES OF MODERN HORROR, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Ann Monn
For more info on YESTERDAY’S KIN, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Thomas Canty
For more info on STEAMPUNK, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Ann Monn