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Great to see someone on here reading Laird's stuff. The guy is the real deal and has become quite collectible. When you hear of a new Barron book coming out, order without delay or it will be sold out and you'll have to spend a fortune to acquire a copy. What Laird does better than anyone else not named Caitlin R. Kiernan is to convey the sense of a "wrongness" intruding into our mundane world. This is the "cosmic horror" that Lovecraft and many others tried to convey, but rarely did so successfully. Among the top tier of authors attempting this would be:Hodgson, Donald Wandrei, Machen, and Lovecraft. As for contemporary authors, you have Thomas Ligotti, Matt Cardin, Ramsey Campbell, Simon Clark, Stephen Laws, and Scott Nicolay to name but a few

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Has anyone read  Stephen King's Revival?

 

I did. I thought it was pretty good and that it probably had the best ending he's written in a while.

 

Good to hear. I'll check it out. Anyone read Mr. Mercedes?

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Great to see someone on here reading Laird's stuff. The guy is the real deal and has become quite collectible. When you hear of a new Barron book coming out, order without delay or it will be sold out and you'll have to spend a fortune to acquire a copy. What Laird does better than anyone else not named Caitlin R. Kiernan is to convey the sense of a "wrongness" intruding into our mundane world. This is the "cosmic horror" that Lovecraft and many others tried to convey, but rarely did so successfully. Among the top tier of authors attempting this would be:Hodgson, Donald Wandrei, Machen, and Lovecraft. As for contemporary authors, you have Thomas Ligotti, Matt Cardin, Ramsey Campbell, Simon Clark, Stephen Laws, and Scott Nicolay to name but a few

 

It's thanks to you that I know of Laird. I've been hopping between books, but I just finished the third short story in the collection. I definitely love his writing. In a way, it reminds me of Lovecraft, but with a more 'modern' style of writing that's snappy and engaging as well as mysterious and eerie. I'll be buying his other books in the near future, I don't doubt.

 

I'll have to check into all of those contemporary authors you mentioned. I've read one Ramsey Campbell short stories collection years ago, but I can't remember anything. Apart from him, I've heard amazing things about Thomas Ligotti, but I've never read anything by him. And the others... completely unknowns. I'm a big fan of Hodgson, Machen and Lovecraft, though, (and I would add Blackwood to that list). Thanks for the suggestions. If you have any good starting points, I'd love to hear them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Roman:

 

Sorry for the slow response, been sick and not on line the last few days. Keeping in mind that I'm a bibliophile and will always go for hardcover first editions, I've listed good starting points for the following authors:

 

Caitlin Kiernan - To Charles Fort, With Love or The Ape's Wife. You can't really go wrong with any Kiernan collection.

Ramsey Campbell - Alone With the Horrors - Really solid selections from his first twenty or thirty years. If you don't dig this, then Campbell's not your guy.

Matt Cardin - Best to find his short fiction in various anthologies. Read Ligotti first, if you like Ligotti, you'll like Cardin; if not, you won't.

Thomas Ligotti - Damn, there's a cottage industry in repackaging his books sort of like they used to do with Billie Holliday albums (you only have so many songs to work with, see how many different orders you can put them in to make more albums.) If you can find Songs of a Dead Dreamer or Noctuary, those are good places to start.

Simon Clark - Any collection, or start at the beginning with Nailed by the Heart. I do have copies of the trade paperback of Salt Snake & Other Bloody Cuts for twenty bucks postpaid. Great collection and it was enough to get him his US deal with Leisure Books.

Stephen Laws - As above, primarily a novelist and they are ALL good, but he's written an excellent volume of short stories, The Midnight Man, which by fortuitous coincidence I also happen to have for the ever-popular twenty bucks postpaid, ;-)

Scott Nicolay - Ana Kai Tangata, if you like Laird's or even my stuff, you will really dig Scott. Just the one book thus far, but he's going to be huge. In interest of full disclosure, he's one of my best friends so I'm predisposed to think well of his work, but he's asked me as a reader to be brutal in editorial suggestions and over a book's worth of stories I found very little to quibble about and I'm known for being a hardass on this stuff.

Donald Wandrei - He was the heir apparent to HPL. Whatever his experiences in WWII were,, they pulled the plug in his fiction writing career. All of his work has been collected in two volumes by Fedogan & Bremer. Well worth checking out if you like the old Weird Tales stuff. Wandrei was really on his way to being a major figure as was his brother Howard. Howard drank himself to death and Donald was pretty much off the deep end for most of his life, filing frivolous lawsuits and in general acting like an old crank. A shame, as he could have had a career to rival Jack Williamson in terms of longevity. His first sales were in the 1920s and he was still active in fandom in the 1980s.

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I keep meaning to order The Circle (and the remaining Little titles I need, now that Cemetery Dance is issuing a bunch of his stuff in matching format), and keep forgetting to do so. Just saw that a new novel is coming our way in the fall, The Consultant... Bentley doing workplace satire, that's gonna be sweet... BTW: Have I mentioned that his "The Woods Be Dark" is about the most unsettling thing that I've read in the last twenty years? And what's interesting since this is a writer known for being graphic, what makes the story so effective is not what he shows, but what he doesn't show...

Just finished reading "The Influence" by Bentley Little. Pretty much standard fare from him, but still a decent read. Ending kind of petered out. Has anyone read The Haunted or The Circle? 

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Roman:

 

Sorry for the slow response, been sick and not on line the last few days. Keeping in mind that I'm a bibliophile and will always go for hardcover first editions, I've listed good starting points for the following authors:

 

<snip>

 

Thank you very much, OSJ. I'll be looking into all of the titles and authors you mentioned as soon as I can. Over the last couple of months, I've been having more time to read so I hope to get around to a good chunk of your recommendations in the near future as well. Alone With the Horrors is the Campbell book I have. I didn't finish it, if I recall correctly, because I wasn't into the stories and... I don't know. It's been a long time ago, though, so I'll definitely go back to it and give the collection another go.

 

I hope you're feeling better, and thanks again!

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Gene Wolfe stuff? Sad to say, I haven't been involved with producing any Gene Wolfe stuff (though he is one of my favorites). Anyway, the only Wolfe stuff I have are my collection copies. Most of the stuff in my collection is for sale at the right price, but not the Gene Wolfe material. Now that Vance is no longer with us, Gene probably gets the nod as best prose stylist in the field.

 

BTW: Just because I don't have something on hand doesn't mean that I can't get it. Thirty years of part-time bookselling has provided loads of connections, so if there is something you're looking for, just ask, I'll see what I can do.

 

Hey OSJ, since you brought up Cemetery Dance stuff, do you have any extra copies of the Gene Wolfe stuff you guys did? If so, PM me. Or just post it in here, it doesn't much matter.

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It's absolutely outstanding! A top five collection from last year and last year had a plethora of top-notch collections. Did I know who Nathan Ballingrud was? Nope, hadn't a clue... That's why I get catalogs from the Ziesings... After thirty years I know where our tastes line up and where they diverge and in the case of this book it sounded like the sort of thing that we would both like, so I bought one. Another thing I do when funds permit is buy a book from the Ziesings by someone I'm totally unfamiliar with that they're pushing hard. Thus far I haven't been disappointed... I think the first author I discovered this way was this guy name of Cormac McCarthy... The second was Harry Crews... Pretty much sold on the concept after that.  ;-)

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Damn, I missed this, you must think me quite rude...

 

Top 5 collections for last year:

 

The Ape's Wife - Caitlin Kiernan

Ana Kai Tangata - Scott Nicolay

North American Lake Monsters - Nathan Balingrud

Masters of the Weird Tale: Fred Chappell

Food for the Fungus Lady - Ralston Shields (In the interest of fair play and full disclosure, I should admit that I edited and introduced this last one. That said, no one in the pulp era was better than this guy. He only wrote a dozen stories and all but one are total knockouts. One other was a straight jungle adventure yarn, so it ain't  in the book, but what's here is the very best of the weird menace genre. No one does a femme fatale quite as well as Shields, just amazing.

 

Oh, and let me supply a helpful link, you can find the Ralston Shields book in the Dancing Tuatara Press section. Once again, in the interest of fair play, I admit that I am the editor, introducer and Grand Poobah of Dancing Tuatara Press, but check 'em out anyway, lots of pulpy fun. www.ramblehouse.com

 

What else was in your top five? 

 

Also, I had never heard of Zieslings. So thanks for that.

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Skin Medicine.  Okay now this started out with some good shit but then near the end it got super dumb.  There's all

this seemingly well researched Civil War shit but then you get this stupid fucking throwaway Jack the Ripper thing

that had my ass audibly groaning.  Unfocused and a hundred pages too long.  Lotta shit just kinda goes unused.  The

Cajun psychic guy just seemed to exist solely for exposition, you see him 3 times and then he plays no part in taking

down the bad guys.  Graybrow is killed "off-camera" with no real closure.  The part where all the sudden the dude

realizes that "iron is the devil's weakness"?  So lame.  I already mentioned that idiotic Jack the Ripper part but

Jesus was that ever fucking awful.  Postbellum old west witches and werewolves with Jack the ripper for no reason.  

Let me just ask again, why was Jack the Ripper in this book where fucking demonic werewolves with dusters and

shotguns killed entire towns?  Why?  Woof.

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Whoa! Hadn't seen this until today. Tim Curran is an author whose praises I generally sing... I'll admit that I haven't read Skin Medicine yet, (Tim's also rather prolific, and I've got about four of his books to get to before this one). I'm surprised as historical stuff is usually his sweet spot, The Corpse King was just brilliant. One possible problem is that a lot of Tim's work is published by very small presses who don't do anything beyond the simplest line editing. I've been doing this professionally for a long time and I always want an editor to look over my work and make suggestions as to what works and what doesn't. If you want to see the result of not having an editor, read the expanded version of The Stand or Heinlein's last few novels (shudders).

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Hey folks! A discovery... I'm late to the table on this, but I recently discovered the work of Christopher Conlon. This guy is the goods! Through a weird chain of circumstances, (he's having a book collecting two novellas published through Surinam Turtle Press (a division of Ramble House and sister company to my own Dancing Tuatara Press). Anyway, the editor of Surinam Turtle, Richard A Lupoff (someone else you should read), asked me for some help with a contract and marketing and what have you and to make a long story short I wound up getting invited to write the introduction... I knew of Chris as the editor of Poe's Lighthouse and He Is Legend: A Tribute to Richard Matheson, but I hadn't read much of his fiction until now... Holy shit! This guy is the goods! There's a great collection of six longish stories out there titled The Oblivion Room: Stories of Violation and it is incredible. Thus far, all of his books have been trade paperbacks so they are easy to find and inexpensive. He's had high praise from William F. Nolan (Logan's Run) and George Clayton Johnson (The Twilight Zone) as well from several modern colleagues. My suggestion is to get all of his stuff now while it's still readily available. I'll keep y'all posted on the progress of his new book (which will come out in three different editions: trade paperback, hardcover, and signed, limited hardcover). The latter will be signed by the author as well as by editor Richard A. Lupoff, the introducer (me), and cover artist Gavin O'Keefe. Priced at a mere $45 that's quite a bargain as signed, limited editions go. You have the artist who doesn't go to conventions, the editor, who at eighty years of age doesn't travel out of the Bay Area, and myself, who doesn't travel at all, leaving Chris, who lives in Maryland as perhaps the easiest signature to get out of the four. I don't like to pitch any book as an investment, but all my book collector instincts are screaming that this is one to get. I don't know if it will be his next novel that goes to a major publisher or the one after that, but soon, very soon he's going to breakout, and when he does, y'all will be glad that you bought his early work while it was still cheap.

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Whoa! Have we all been asleep at the wheel? I think it safe to say "yes". I was just turned on to Adam LG Nevill (yes, he spells  it that way without the period or spaces, what can I say, he's from Birmingham like Roy Wood and those folks are a funny bunch). Anyway, drop what you are doing and go to http://www.adamlgnevill.com/ and get a free book. Yes, he has a free book for y'all to check out before you buy his other stuff. Fortunately, I get a bunch of money tomorrow (royalties from a bunch of countries I've never been to), so I will be on his site spending like a drunken sailor. 

Roman mentioned the phenomenal Richard Gavin, awhile back, he's the goods as well, but somehow Nevill has been at it for ten years and I've just sort of missed him, something I aim to correct posthaste. criesfromthecryptpackshot-e1467705010108.png

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Halfway through Nevill's short story collection and am just blown away by the guy's ability to shift from one style to another. He does the nastiest M.R. James pastiche of anyone I've ever read and then turns around and offers a totally modern urban horror story. The only caveat, Nevill's idea of what constitutes a signed edition and mine are two different things, he seems to feel that a signed postcard in an envelope is the same as signing the book. No, it certainly as fuck isn't. Were it not such a good book, I'd be a bit miffed, but he gets a pass. (I've seen worse, the good folks at Nonstop Press had Carol Emshwiler sign strips of adhesive tape that were then affixed to the title page). Okay, getting an author in her 90s to sign books at all is commendable, this just looks a bit cheesy in a $100 book.

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