Words: Stories and Scripts

I don’t really need to comment on our first offering as our reviewer did a far better job of doing so than I ever could. ‘I don’t think I’m alone in thinking of “dark fantasy” as a sort of combination of urban fantasy and horror: vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, and less pleasant creatures confronting more or less normal people who may have the resources, or just the dumb luck, to survive the encounter. Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2 is not that. True, the stories all have a dark edge, but there are only two tales of werewolves and one of vampires, none of which have any of the classic trappings to them. So, these stories are not “dark fantasy” in that sense. What we have here is a mixture of the surreal, the outre, the mordant, and sometimes the hallucinatory.’

That worked so well that I’ll do it again for our second offering. ‘Tim Powers’ first collection of short fiction in over half a decade, The Bible Repairman and Other Stories is a potent six-story collection that plays effortlessly with many of the author’s favorite themes. Zhlubby, burned-out protagonists, mysterious women, magical rituals that intrude on everyday life – these are familiar to anyone who’s read and enjoyed Last Call, or Earthquake Weather, or indeed most of Powers’ body of work. That doesn’t make the stories any less enjoyable or well-written; it merely places them squarely in the center of his wheelhouse, and ensures that those who’ve gone for his novels will be more than satisfied by the collection.’

Monsters done Hollywood style are what you like? If so, this anthology is not for you: ‘The stated intent of The Monster’s Corner: Stories Through Inhuman Eyes, the Christopher Golden-edited anthology, is nothing if not ambitious. The concept – a collection of stories that show monsters as sympathetic, not heroic — is tricky enough on its own, a long step into more mature territory than the too-prevalent vampiric moping that’s meant to let us know that bloodsuckers really aren’t such bad people. Then, throw in Golden’s restriction on the subject matter — no low-hanging fruit, i.e. no vampires or zombies – and things get really interesting.’

And finishing off this scrum are the scripts alluded to the the title of this post. ‘Shadows West is proof positive that you in fact get too much of a good thing. A collection of three unproduced screenplays by Bubba Ho-Tep scribe Joe R. Lansdale and his brother, comics writer John L. Lansdale, the book is set firmly in the “Weird West” setting that is Lansdale’s wheelhouse. The problem is, it’s all very much set in there, and even the most dedicated fans may detect a certain thematic sameness between the three.’

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