It's no secret that October is my favorite month of the year. The leaves start to turn, pumpkin pops up in just about everything sweet and savory, and Halloween caps everything off. This year things are even better, with the release of the newest entry of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, and it starts the month off with wonder and magic. Looking for something to amaze, thrill, or scare you? Chances are it's in here. -- Excerpted from Denise Dutton's review of the very last YBFH
Candlemas, or Gwyl Fair if you prefer the much older Welsh name, has come and gone which means spring is coming but there's lots of these cold winter nights are sill left so may I recommend you read our story below about the Year's Best Fantasy & Horror anthology for a look at a source of fine reading for those nights? If you're looking for something more meaty than short fiction, more novels than I care to think about get reviewed this edition by our staff!
For your reading pleasure, we should also remind you about our special editions which are our way of looking at specific writers and other subjects worthy of exploring in-depth. Of course, we've done several editions on master storyteller Peter S. Beagle which you can find thisaway and over 'ere.
Needless to say, we're very proud of the great edition on Charles de Lint we did. We did one on the ever fascinating trio of Brian, Toby, and Wendy Froud; naturally we did one on master storyteller J.R.R. Tolkien who is much loved by our staff; not to mention ones on Catherynne M. Valente, Patricia McKillip, and Elizabeth Bear Oh, do check out our edition devoted to the Best of 2008!
The death rattle has sounded in the throat of a dear friend to many here at Green Man, and in the tradition of Nine-Nights the wake has commenced at the Green Man estate.
Yes, we're holding a wake right now for the passing of a legendary series, Year's Best Fantasy & Horror, in the fashion we always do 'ere -- by celebrating its creators and all they did to enrich our lives. It's indeed true that it had a long life unlike, say, the Year's Best Fantasy anthology, which as a printed entity was cruelly strangled in its sleep at a mere eight years of age and lives on only in digital form. But still, YBFH should've gone on for decades more.
This is a farewell to the series in its current incarnation, with its hauntingly gorgeous Thomas Canty covers, its collaboration of Datlow, of Windling, of Link and of Grant. You were scarce twenty, dear YBFH, and yet in terms of your kind that makes you a virtual Methuselah.
Though Green Man couldn't in any way be called home to our fallen friend, we certainly played host upon occasion. Other friends and admirers have come from far and from wide (wider than we had hitherto realized!) to share condolences for the loss, to swap favorite tales of our departed friend and eat good food and drink good rum. Candles light a Library shelf devoted solely to all the works of the series we mourn, and the Neverending session has moved to the Library's Great Room. Never have we seen so many new faces sitting in, nor heard so many new instruments joining the thread of our playing.
We've just begun our Nine Nights, and we'll drink and sing hard until the last night and the final service. As Iain Nicholas Mackenzie, the Green Man Librarian, said as we started the wake, 'Now consider this as we raise our glasses -- Twenty-one years by Ellen Datlow, Gavin Grant, Kelly Link, and Terri Windling of choosing the very best in fantasy and horror short fiction and poetry, all written for our reading pleasure. And a hundred or so pages of noted writers picking the best of the year in books, films, and so forth. Consider further the myriad anthologies ranging from mediocre to superb published every year, each attempting the same task achieved by Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. That YBFH is by far the best of the lot is quite a feat. So drink deep in honour of what was created, as we'll not see its kind ever again!'
If you know your way here and have the means to find us, you're invited to join anytime up to the great dinner we'll cook on that ninth and final night. Bring your drums and your whistles, your bottles of rum and your playing cards and sets of dominoes. We should note that death is not the end of all good as things, as Ellen Datlow will be editing Best Horror of the Year for Nightshade. As she told us earlier in our Pub this evening, 'It's a continuation in the tradition of twenty-one years of my taste in horror.'
So come; come take a turn at our Neverending reading, in which everyone reads favorite tales of fantasy or horror from the over two decades-worth of pages of YBFH. No matter how late you get here, we promise never to be too tired to hear just one more.
(Join us in the morning for a Welsh fry-up of sausage, bacon, mushrooms, hash browns, not to mention black and white puddings. And lots of tea.)
Kathleen Bartholomew offers a glimpse at a Cherie Priest's novel which is just out in trade paper, Dreadful Skin. which she considers 'oddly flawed. . . . The cover and blurb suggested a splendidly immersive read, steeped in mist, tragedy and Spanish moss draped over cypress boughs in the moonlight. Alas, this doesn't happen.' Read her Excellence in Writing Award-winning review to find out what did happen.
Green Man Review is dedicated to examining the roots of our culture. Some of those roots go very deep, others are just starting to dig down into the soil of the world around us. Wander through the main library here, and you'll find some great classic folk albums full of songs the youngest of which are three hundred or so years old, shelved right next to some great music from only a decade or so ago. Sure, we'll joke around in the break room about how something that's younger than most of us (and we're not that long in the tooth!) can be a 'classic', but there are some truly classic songs that are within the reach of most of our lives. David Kidney reviews a number of recent classics this issue, but perhaps foremost of those is his review of Collector's Choice/Rhino Records' recent 40 Years: The Complete Singles Collection, 1966-2006 by Tommy James and the Shondells. David has only to give us a few of the track titles for us to know we're in classics territory: 'Crimson and Clover', 'Mony Mony', 'I Think We're Alone Now'. Even though some of them are old enough to be recorded in mono, David tells us that, 'They sound great in the car!' David gets an Excellence in Writing Award for this great review of excellent music!
It's the beginning of a new year, which means it's time for Mike Wilson to head back up to Glasgow to spend a few days at Celtic Connections, and subsequently provide us with this edition's featured live review. Mike was lucky enough to catch up with some traditional Irish and Scottish music from Kathleen Boyle, some country sounds from Kathy Mattea, and the inimitable songs of Dougie MacLean, amongst others. 'Celtic Connections is without doubt one of the premier events on the European festival calendar. Festival director Donald Shaw and his team work tirelessly to put on a festival that continually manages to innovate and excite, across a broad range of musical genres that complement the native traditions... a fantastic event, of which Glasgow can be justifiably proud.' You can read Mike's full review right 'ere!
Hi, there -- Robert here, and we've got books this time, many, many books of many, many kinds, so let's get right to it and see what our reviewers have to say about them.
A new Billy Boyle mystery from James R. Benn was a welcome encounter for Donna Bird. 'I read and enjoyed the first two installments in James Benn's Billy Boyle World War II mystery series. I had learned a while ago from Benn himself that he was at work on a third book, so I've been on the lookout for it. I read it almost as soon as I got my hands on a copy. And I was definitely not disappointed!'
Donna had some reservations about Paul Friedlander's Rock & Roll -- A Social History -- 'Apart from its obvious use as a textbook for undergraduate courses on rock and roll music, I am not sure there's a significant market for Rock & Roll -- A Social History ($42 suggested retail in trade paper, by the way). I don't see that most of us old-timers who lived through the period of interest would find it terribly enlightening. I wouldn't consider giving it to my 22 year-old friend to read, even though he loves rock and roll music. He would rather just listen to the songs than be told how to analyze them. As I typically announce on the first day of any class I teach, most people just don't read textbooks unless they have to.'
Faith J. Cormier takes a look at a collection of graphic novels tied to the history of Alyss, rightful Queen of Wonderland. 'Hatter Madigan was roaming the rest of the world looking for her and dealing with deadly manifestations of Dark Imagination. His thirteen-year search is told in a series of graphic novels. Hatter M -- The Looking Glass Wars, Volume One brings together four of them, based on work by the Hatter M Institute for Paranormal Travel, which exists to uncover and document information on Hatter M's time on Earth.' But is it all wonderful? You'll have to look here to see.
In a slightly different vein -- but still English, mind you -- Faith gives us some thoughts on Julianne Lee's A Question of Guilt -- 'Mary, Queen of Scots, has just been executed for plotting against her cousin Elizabeth I of England. All London is talking about it, and debating her guilt. Janet Douglas de Ros, a Scotswoman married to an English merchant, just has to know whether Mary was guilty or not, both of plotting and of the murder of her husband Henry Darnley some years before. Over the protests of her husband and of all Clan Douglas, she sets off to investigate.' Sounds like it has some possibilities, doesn't it? See what Faith has to say.
Seems to be English across the board for Faith this time. The first volume of Michael E. Spradlin's The Youngest Templar pleased her no end -- 'So basically Keeper of the Grail has promising ingredients for a rousing good adventure story, and it follows through on its promise... All in all, I'll be glad to see the next installment." See her review for the skinny on the Templars, the Holy Grail, and the Crusades in this story.
Richard Dansky has found something interesting -- 'The best horror is always about something else. Carrie is grounded firmly in the real horrors of adolescence. Scratch Lovecraft lightly and you find the fear of the other made manifest in a thousand different wriggling, tentacled forms. Dracula is about hairy-scary sex, and what happens when something from outside our tightly controlled world encourages us to lose control. And then we have Strangewood, for my money the best thing Christopher Golden has written thus far.'
Richard also had some thoughts on a book by Micah Harris and Michael Gaydos -- 'In Heaven's War, a bunch of tweedy academics who happen to write fantasy novels get together to save the world. This may sound like a recipe for a bad Mary Sue stew, but it? actually a good deal more interesting... The threat they save the world from is that of the self-proclaimed Wickedest Man in the World, Aleister Crowley. And the means by which they do so involves time travel, the mysteries of Rennes le Chateau, two-fisted theological argument, and a fair bit of kinky sex.' To find out who these heroes are -- and whether it worked -- see Richard's review.
And Richard has high praise for Paizo Planet Stories on their reissue of a pulp classic by Otis Adelbert Kline -- 'Make no mistake about it, The Swordsman of Mars is some of the good stuff, as Michael Moorcock attests in his foreword. While the setup may be a little dodgy -- depressed socialite Harry Thorne is kidnapped by a mysterious professor and offered the choice of either body-switching with a Martian or death -- once the action gets to Kline? mythical Mars, it never lets up.' Sound like fun to me.
Brush With Passion -- The Art and Life of Dave Stevens, edited by Arnie Fenner and Cathy Fenner, put Richard in a reflective mood. '[It's] an utterly gorgeous book. It's also a terribly sad one... It's not until the very end of his life that Stevens seemingly figured out what he was, or more importantly, what he could be, and the fact that this was never given time to blossom is perhaps the saddest thing of all. But if there is sadness here, there is also beauty and joy.' See Richard's review for what prompted these thoughts.
From promises to consequences -- Richard next looks at a new installment in the Batman mythos from Jeph Loeb, Jim Lee and Scott Williams. 'Instead of dealing with the origins of the Batman mythology, Hush picks up years later, when Batman, his protagonists and his nemeses are well-established. It's about consequences, not beginnings, and as such is a very different sort of book.' And were the consequences worth it?
I guess it's Batman time for Richard, but it's not all roses -- 'The problem with a story arc like Gotham Underground is that, by itself, it doesn't really get to go anywhere. Instead, it's tied into and supports the continuity of a larger limited series/crossover event/superhero throw down, and as such what happens in it isn't as important as the fact that it moves the continuity from point A to point B. In this case, the continuity in question relates to the Infinite Crisis and Fifty Two crossovers, leaving Gotham Underground essentially caught in the middle.' You'll have to see Richard's review to see if there's any light down there at all.
We get a take on the third volume of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle from Denise Dutton, who says 'Brisingr, along with Eragon, has a lot of ground to cover and you can either stop to smell the roses or jet off to the end wondering how you got there. This novel takes its time and though some of the meandering was awfully frustrating in parts, ultimately the tale in its entirety will be the better for it.'
Some thoughts on an English-language manga from April Gutierrez, who says Erin Hunter's Escape from the Forest 'is aimed at readers age 10 and up, but could probably be enjoyed by younger readers... the language and story are easy enough to follow. The artwork is similarly simple, but works just fine. It's worth noting that thankfully the cats look like actual cats, even if Sasha's internal monologue is very human-seeming.' If your toddler's not quite ready for it, maybe you could read it to your cat.
April also had this to say about Jim Butcher's new addition to the Codex Alera, Captain's Fury -- ' There's action aplenty across all three threads -- battles both physical and fury-crafted, on land and at sea, and one very important one-on-one fight between Tavi and an assassin on which all his plans hinge. Balancing the brawn is solid character development -- Tavi, Isana, Amara and others grow through joy, pain and disappointment alike.' Looks like I need to do some catching up here.
April found this collection . . . well, let her tell it -- 'The press release included with Koren Shadmi's graphic (as in illustrated) story collection In the Flesh -- Stories states that the collection 'feels like a collaboration between David Cronenberg and Ghost World's Daniel Clowes.' And indeed, the ten stories included are subtly dark and disturbing, filled with people isolated from one another by choice, circumstance or fate. Their worlds are uncertain, with no easy answers and few resolutions.' Mmm -- worth a shiver, I think.
April also took a look at two installments in the ongoing Fables series. Sons of Empire, say April, delivers 'solid character development and intriguing plot in spades. A mix of multi-part and one-shot stories, Sons of Empire introduces new characters and provides insight into the lives of others while driving the over-arching story forward.' And The Good Prince -- well, 'When a series is as consistently excellent as Fables, it can be extremely difficult to decide which is the finest issue or volume. However, The Good Prince, the tenth volume, certainly makes a strong case for itself as the best of the best.' Sigh. Looks like I've got even more catching up to do.
Michael Jones was delighted by Jim C. Hines' The Stepsister Scheme. 'Jim Hines brilliantly remixes and reimagines three of the most popular fairy tale heroines of all time, recasting them as action heroines and secret agents in a world of magic, treachery, intrigue and adventure. These aren't damsels in distress by any means, but strong-willed, competent, self-sufficient women capable of overcoming all sorts of problems.' Check his Excellence in Award-winning review out.
Mike also took a good look at Roby James' Warrior Wisewoman, 'Meant in part as a science fiction companion to the long-running (and recently-resurrected) fantasy anthology series Sword and Sorceress, Warrior Wisewoman is . . . well, a complex creature, if one reads the note of explanation in the back." But is it really that complicated? You'll have to read Mike's review to find out.
And lucky Mike got dibs on the beginning of what looks to be a terrific new fantasy series, Brent Weeks' The Way of Shadows says Mike, 'Weeks has done a superb job in crafting a fascinating new world, populating it with memorable characters, and setting up a compelling epic tale of heroism, vengeance, and magic. It's been a while since such a grandiose, far-reaching fantasy novel has caught my attention, and I'll be waiting for the rest in the series eagerly.'
What's this? Mike, again? This time, he's talking about a new book by David Devereux. 'David Devereux, a self-proclaimed paranormal expert and exorcist, certainly imbues this story with a dark sort of passion and energy, granting Hunter's Moon a morbidly compelling appeal. It's dark and unrelenting, and more than a little disturbing in places. It's well-written and fast-paced, a hell of a story in its own right, but it definitely draws from a different set of inspirations and tones than your average urban fantasy.' Read his review here.
Jane Lindskold is an author who has done some adventurous things with urban fantasy. Mike got hold of a copy of her new effort -- Breaking the Wall, the first book in Lindskold's ambitious new urban fantasy series about the Thirteen Orphans, is one of the best things I've seen from her in quite a while. Drawing from Chinese history, mythology, and astrology, she's created a fascinating new setting, one that straddles two very different worlds.' Sounds good to me.
David Kidney pops up with a book that sobered him quite a bit -- Crosby, Stills & Nash -- 40th Anniversary Edition by Dave Zimmer and Henry Diltz. Wait a minute, says David -- 'Can it be? Can a book about Crosby, Stills & Nash be 40 years old? That would mean that CSN themselves have been around for . . . more than 40 years! HOW OLD AM I?' Makes you think, doesn't it?
Mia Nutick was bemused when Holly Black and Ted Naifeh's The Good Neighbors, Book One -- Kin arrived. ' I'm not a huge fan of graphic novels and rarely read them, so theoretically I wouldn't have been the best audience for this work. As usual, however, Holly Black goes above and beyond my expectations with a really beautiful effort.' See what changed her mind here.
Mia also had some thoughts on the new installment in Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi's second Spiderwick series, Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles Two: A Giant Problem. Says Mia, 'Both creators of this series are talented contributors to the world of children's fantasy fiction, and my quibbles aside, I always look forward to their offerings... Black and DiTerlizzi have a way of keeping their readers on edge and ready for more.' But wait -- what's this about quibbles? You'll have to see Mia's review for that.
Speaking of manga, Robert M. Tilendis brings us some thoughts on a couple of BL manga a cut above the average. Of the first, Satoru Ishihara's Kimi Shiruya -- Dost Thou Know?, he says 'this is not a straightforward romance. The story is built on a series of metaphors, starting with the central one -- this courtship is a duel from the beginning... The two young men are described over and over again in metaphors, as well... And of course, there is the recurring motif of the last two chapters from which the book takes its title -- "Dost thou know my heart?" "Do thou knowest the tropic land within my heart?" A land of eternal summer, this land of the heart, which is when most of the story takes place.' There's more -- just take a moment to see how deeply Robert scratched the surface.
In Momoko Tenzen's Seven, Robert found a work much less romantic on the surface, but ultimately just as poetic -- 'The delicacy of the drawings -- and they are very delicate, rendered in fine lines that seem barely to intrude on the page -- is only heightened by the use of a brighter paper than is usual for Juné -- each page is luminous... These are understated stories that have some real power... [they] are, ultimately, stories about finding the courage to step away from the safety of the pain you know and to face the risks of happiness.'
Lory Widmer was absorbed (her word) by Jules Watson's The Swan Maiden -- 'What can a novel bring to this tale that almost demands a dramatic treatment? Jules Watson has kept faithfully to the grand, tragic outline of the story, while seeking to fill in many details of the characters' lives, both outer and inner, as only a novelist can.' Lory earns herself an Excellence in Writing Award for this review.
Matthew Scott Winslow has hopes for the urban fantasy genre, which was looking, in his words, "dull and boring" -- 'But if the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare is any indication, the subgenre has not become moribund. With the second installment, City of Ashes, Clare has shown that the first volume of this series, City of Bones, was not a flash in the pan, but the beginning of a strong and powerful series.' See why he thinks so in his Excellence in Writing Award-winning review here.
That's it for this time. Hope you've assembled a nice reading list for the rest of the winter. If you haven't, you weren't paying attention.
Denise Dutton has two DVD reviews for us this edition! Recently she reviewed the television series based on Swamp Thing -- this time she brings us a look at the film version of the DC Comics hero. She very much liked the 1982 offering now on DVD. Read her very entertaining review of Swamp Thing to find out why she says 'The only way this film could have been any better is if it had been in Aroma-Vison.'
She also gets an Excellence in Writing Award for her extremely thorough and detailed review of HBO's first season of the vampire-fest True Blood. Denise liked the show overall. She says 'Alan Ball's real gift is pulling viewers so into the story he's telling...After Six Feet Under, I figured he could do spooky well enough, but he brings the same type of flawed, captivating characters to this show. That turns what could have easily been a corny unintentionally funny show into a high-powered drama that just happens to have vampires in it.' To be fair, she had some quibbles. Read her review to find out what she didn't love as well as what she did.
David Kidney paid a visit to Daniel Lanois' Grant Avenue Studio in Hamilton, Ontario, to hear bluegrass duo, Joe Clark & Don Rigsby, for whom David had nothing but the highest praise. 'What a concert! Two fifty-minute sets which wandered through the whole history of bluegrass. Joe and Don traded lead vocals, they harmonized with that high lonesome sound that identifies bluegrass. Then they traded solos. Don on mandolin, then Joe on guitar, maybe Don would take two verses, or Joe would, but somehow, magically they ended together with a flourish.' David's review can be found here!
Scott Gianelli opens up our reviews this issue with a review of Enya's latest, And Winter Came. 'The best and worst thing you can say about any Enya recording is that if you're already familiar with her music, then you know exactly what to expect.' But there are a few surprises... but you'll have to read Scott's review to find out!
Just as our featured review looked at more recent classics, Scott brings us news about some much more 'seasoned' classics by Swedish roots band Svanevit. As Scott tells us, Svanevit's 'playing is heavily influenced by Renaissance and Baroque styles that pre-date most of the tunes in the Swedish folk canon. For their latest album Rikedom och Gavor (Wealth and Gifts), Svanevit perform material collected by the fiddler John Enninger, who passed away in 1908.' Read Scott's review to learn more.
David Kidney has been busy this past holiday season listening to a lot of new discs of both classic and new music. He's written a lot of reviews for us this issue. He starts with Kate Campbell's latest album, Save the Day. 'I have to admit that I've been a big Kate Campbell fan ever since I heard her fifth album, 2001's Wandering Strange which simple captivated me for about two months', David relates. Kate's newest is no exception. 'All I can say about this latest Kate Campbell album is...I love it. Why isn't she better known?' David asks.
Next, David brings to our attention two new blues albums. First there's You Don't Know Your Mind by David Egan. Kidney reports that 'when the album ends, all you'll want to do is start it over at track one.' Well, you would if it weren't for another good blues album; in this case, My Mind Gets to Ramblin' by Steve Howell, 'a guitar album from start to finish'. Included on the album is a cover of Muddy Waters' 'I Can't Be Satisfied'. David tells us that 'This has to be one of this reviewer's personal favourite blues songs. Muddy's version might be the first real blues track I ever heard, and I've been trying to capture that feel for the past 40 years. Howell has it in spades.' Read David's review to learn more!
Looking just a little into the past, David brings us a review of two recent releases that bring together nearly four complete vinyl albums by Ike and Tina Turner. First up is Sing the Blues which contains The Hunter and Outa Season from 1969. 'It's really basic blues,' David writes, '12 bars, chooglin' beats, and Tina singing great. Ike's guitar is featured and it deserves to be. It seemed to get lost in the horns and glitz of later stardom.'
Next is Nutbush City Limits/Feel So Good, from 1972 and '73. On it we get renditions of 'River Deep, Mountain High' and 'You Are My Sunshine'. Of this latter, David tells us that, 'You have to hear what Tina does with "You Are My Sunshine" to believe it. Who knew it could be so sexy?' What other surprises are in store? Read David's review to find out.
Here's an interesting new country album, reviewed by David Kidney: Randy Weeks' Going My Way. David writes, 'Wow, I can't believe what I just heard! I slipped this new CD into the player, and it started with a beat, some guitars and then ... that voice. That voice! I know that voice. It's Lou Reed! I mean it, it sounds like Lou doing country music.' Intrigued? We sure were when we first read David's review!
Finally, David gives us not one, but two omnibus reviews of bluegrass music. First up is acoustic bluegrass. Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver's Just Over in Heaven is full of songs that 'form a litany of songs testifying to God's all-reaching power over the lives of these five men. As strong as their faith is, so too is their skill as musicians and singers.' In a similar vein, The Lonesome River Band's latest, Talkin' to Myself ' shows a strong gospel influence but includes enough dirty-dealin' lyrics for the non-sanctified fan to feel at home.' Last in this omnibus review is Ronnie McCoury's Heartbreak Town. David lets collaborator Steve Earle sum up Ronnie as 'one of the finest musical minds I have encountered in my travels. A mind that is always searching, asking questions, seeking out unexplored territory.'
And in his final review for us this issue, David looks at four bluegrass albums put out by Sugar Hill back in 1999 -- Common Ground by Blue Ridge, Meet Me by the Moonlight by Dudley Connell and Dong Rigsby, Winding Through Life by Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and The Grass Is Blue by Dolly Parton. Shifting gears back to traditional Celtic music, Peter Massey brings us a review of fiddler Alasdair Fraser's latest duo effort with Natalie Haas, In the Moment Peter reports that 'on this album you will find some nice fiddle tunes, mostly traditional and contemporary works complemented by one or two original pieces written by Alasdair and Natalie. All in all, it is very tastefully presented.' Go to Peter's review to see what else is in store.
Speaking of traditional Celtic music, our editor-in-chief recently asked what is Steeleye Span's best boxed set? Peter responded with Original Masters and got the assignment of reviewing why it's the best! 'Ask any of the staff at GMR who is their favourite folk rock band and 10 out 10 will answer Fairport Convention, me included,' Peter tells us. 'However, there is a distinct difference between Fairport and Steeleye. Fairport Convention is a "rock" band playing folk music, whereas Steeleye Span is a "folk" band using rock band instruments and principles.' Intrigued? Read on for more!
Some of our favorite authors here at Green Man Review -- like Charles de Lint and Emma Bull -- are also talented musicians. Reviewer Robert M. Tilendis brings to our attention another author/musician, Caiseal Mor. Robert describes Mor's music as 'cinematic -- strongly evocative, almost imagistic, a slow, majestic theme played on what sounds like low strings', a mixture of many different world sources. Robert looks at two of Mor's recent CDs, Divine Passion, Vol. 1 -- Rain Water and Beautiful Hands.
Robert also brings to our attention superband Capercaillie's latest effort, Roses and Tears. 'The magic persists,' Robert happily reports. 'All in all, it's an appealing collection... a nice interlude from things that may demand your attention more strenuously.' Read the rest of Robert's review to find out what Capercaillie has in store for us this time.
Capercaillie has had some very strongly world-influenced albums in the past, so it's no surprise to see Robert also bringing to us a review of Cokekan: Javanese Chamber Music by Suppanggah Rahayu and Garasi Seni Benawa. 'The selections make use of the traditional gamelan in either slendro (five-tone) or pelog (seven-tone) tuning, and range from works usually performed to open a shadow-puppet performance to components of Javanese dance-dramas,' Robert writes. Sounds interesting!
Our final music review for this issue is another omnibus, this time from Gary Whitehouse, looking at four alt-country bands: Magnolia Summer's Lines From The Frame, Have Gun, Will Travel's Casting Shadows Tall As Giants, Navasota by Will Quinlan and the Diviners, and Don't Be a Stranger by The Moondoggies. Gary tells us that these are 'four albums by for very different bands, all playing various forms of Americana-influenced rock. Call it what you will, even though it's not trendy any more, it's still alive and kicking from one end of the country to the other.' Read Gary's review for more.
With the passing of the Year's Best Fantasy & Horror anthology, we would very much like to bring to your attention one of the leaves of the Great Tree worth checking out. -- Book View Cafe which is a collective of 25 published authors who are sharing their work with readers online. Currently all offerings on the site are free. They say they will soon provide premium subscription reads for payment. Authors in the collective include Amy Sterling, Anne Harris, Brenda Clough, Christie Golden, Darcy Pattison, Jennifer Stevenson, Jessica Freely, Kate Daniel, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, Laura Anne Gilman, Madeleine Robins, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Nancy Jane Moore, Pati Nagle, Irene Radford, Rebecca Lickiss, Sarah Zettel, Sue Lange, Susan Wright, Sylvia Kelso, Ursula K. Leguin, and Vonda N. McIntyre. New reads come online every day, most of them unavailable anywhere else, despite the fact that these are all well-credentialed authors.
For our main page, please go here; to search the roots, branches, and leaves of This Tree, use the Google search engine; every past edition of our fortnightly What's New can be found here; for a detailed look at Green Man Review, go thisaway; and lastly, you report errors over here.
Still have questions? Email our Editor here. Provided he's not in the Green Man Pub savouring a properly poured pint of Guinness while listening to Roger Zelazny tell a tale, he'll try to answer your question!
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