Sunday, November 24, 2013

Noir is the Law

Magic is the Science and Art of causing change to occur in accordance with the Will - A Crowley.

- nobody ever lost money betting against the cops - Dawn Seliger

I'm opening this review with those two quotes and this section from the end of chapter one..,

But somebody killed my Bernstein, and ruined absolutely everything. But I am a fucking genius, and I was determined to find out who killed Bernstein and bring them to... No not Justice. To something else. - Dawn Seliger

Just like his protagonist in Love is the Law Nick Mamatas is determined to tell this story in all its in your face style and passion that only a disaffected teen punk girl can have and the primal scream on the cover is totally appropriate. Nick packed a whole lot into this brief novel including a great Scandinavianesque worthy detective story, political and philosophical rant that fits its right in with my memory of 1989, and that is fully prophetic of our own era nearly twent five years hence. Love is the Law is told through Dawn's jaundice coloured glasses in the wake of the latest tragedy in her life, the aparent suicide if her middle aged occult mentor and occasional lover Bernstein. The twisty turny investigation she starts takes her on a journey of discovery that links through her crack addicted father, her brilliant and now dead mentor to the comic shop , teen peers avant guarde basement shows and the rich white fucks in her Long Island town. Through Dawn Nick has a lot to say about the end of Eastern European communism, the philosophy and practice of Crowley-esque Satanism, the nature of family and the value of trusting others. Love is the Law is a rough bitter little pill of a noir novel as it sould be, borrowing from the tradition of Jim Thompson, Andrew Vacchs and Chandler Nick says a lot with his brutal brevity if your willing to listed to it. I will say this is not the book for the easily offended and it contains fucking harsh language, blatant and in your face sexual situations but its punk what do you want.

The story is told in the first person voice of punk rock girl Dawn, she spends almost no time thinking or talking about herself, her only description amounts to ' punk as fuck, studs and ripped everything, a bright orange Mohawk and I don't give a fuck about my "figure" '. What matters to her is her ability to be invisible to her fellow citizens, her interest in the occult, and like her mentor Trotskyist communism; (when we meet her achieving something other then Justice for her 'friend'.) Mixing Crowley occultism,and Communist philosophy Nick takes a new track on the urban fantasy train. The tale spins out from there introducing her dementia suffering grandmother who she lives with and reluctantly cares for, her crack addict of a loser father, the further subjects of her obsessive voyeurism and her absolute need to see someone suffer for the loss she now can't let go of. Nick started Dawn with little having taken her mother long before this story to cancer and her dad more recently to his various addictions; he continues to take away from her and test her resolve with each new thing she learns about the web of conspiracies and deceits that abound in this corner of whiteville. The triumphs of Nick's storytelling is his commitment to the voice Dawn tells her story in, sex is perfunctory lacking titillation, violence is equally perfunctory lacking aggrandizement all of it like the rest of the events in the story just are like punk anyone can do it. Nick's slim little murder myster is what all great noir novels are, a study of lead character and like the heroes of the above mentions classics Dawn takes it upon herself to right the wrongs around her and punish the apprently guilty revealing more about herself along the way they even she realizes.

I've been sitting on my feeling about this book for a week and I've come to love it more because of its complexity; Nick's stories always do that to me, give me more to think about. I know his noir heroine would spit on me for my thoughts of her as a heroine in the same vein as Lisbeth Salinder but its an apt comparison. Both woman are in a horrible place in the story, they are not the pretty heroine no matter ones screen portrayal. Dawn starts in her own urban fantasy here but it has none of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer nor even Harry Dresden glamour, its closer to the novels of Mark Teppo that I loved and his failed to gain aside fan base. This novel like most of the UF I love dredges the depths of the human soul where things are not shiny, pretty and safe. Nick is brutal, plain and blunt and that is why I enjoy his work. His characters wether they are brutal, stupid venal or just foolish they read as real to me. I was bullied for years and its great to see someone give as good as she gets. There is a brief episode of remorse when Dawn 'punches down' and it is telling that she realizes it; I like Dawn for her compassion or at least the compassion I see even if she would deny it.

This novel may not titillate you, it may not drive up your heart rate but it will give you lots of great story and things to think about. Love is the Law is a great murder mystery that has more to offer. It pulls on the occult and tarot tradition and communicated a useful message to me; The Tower is real because all things fall into chaos; the hedgemony of kings, the rise of the merchants, the time of capitalist corporate power and whatever come next all structures fall, everything changes, babalon always will fall, its just the nature of things. Survival is getting even. That's my takeaway, that is the hope offered hope to see you again Dawn. Looking forward to the next road story Nick or whatever come next Take care.... Excelsior ...

So if your local bookshops can't get it you can go to any of the following places to get this excellent tome I encourage you to bloody do so, but support your local stores if you can. Dawn rocks and so does Nick by association. Get in touch with your inner punk if you dare. At places that give stars I will be posting a five star review since I liked this book that much.

Nick Mamatas is know for his weird horror fiction tales that have connection to Lovecraftian mythos, the beats and to Hunter S Thompson among other things and edits the excellent line of SF&F translations for Haikasoru a division of Viz Comics. His fiction has also been published independently by Spectacular Fiction and by ChiZine one of my favorite small presses out of Canada.

LitReactor did an interview here

NPR review is here for your reading pleasure

Here is the link to the Dark Horse site

Barnes and Noble link here

Here is the link for Amazon and Besos supporters


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wanted Dispatch Nov 23 (

Happy Fiftieth Anniversary Doctor Who.....


Watcher of the Dark by Joseph Nassise

I missed mentioning this one last week. Joseph's urban fantasy series that began with Eyes to See a couple years ago and its great to see he's got three novels out of it and its so wrong that I will have to get the first as an eBook at this point. This one sounds like a descent into darkness with a protagonist that unintentially sells his ability to see in daylight to see all the things that really exist when the sun goes down. You can go here on to read an exerpt and take a look at the synopsis.

Jeremiah Hunt has learned a lot since his life was irrevocably hijacked by fate months ago. But when he performs an arcane ritual to reclaim the soul of the magically gifted, beautiful woman who once saved him, he must flee the law once again, to Los Angeles, city of angels, a temporary sanctuary.

In L.A., he has to contend with Carlos Fuentes, who sees in Hunt a means to obtain the mystical key that would open the gates of Hell. Fuentes knows Hunt’s weakness—his loyalty to the woman he loves, and to another “gifted” friend—and uses the real threat of torturing them as a way to get Hunt to help complete his dread quest.

End of the Road edited by Jonathan Oliver

As people who have read my blog for a while know I love themed and even un themed anthologies. The short story is an under appreciated art and I have hopes that Internet sites like Clarkesworld, Apex, Lightspeed and Nightmare magazines and collections like this can help spread the love. Solaris had done several science fiction and fantasy collections over the years and this is one I've been looking forward to for months since I saw the first cover sample... Here is the synopsis and gives little hint as to who in part of the contents but knowing the history of Solaris with these its likely to be awesome.... Here's the link to Solaris also

An incredible anthology of orginal short stories by an exciting list of writers including the bestselling author philip Reeve and the World Fantasy award-winning Lavie Tidhar.

Each step will lead you closer to your destination, but who, or what, can you expect to meet at journey’s end? Here are stories of misfits, spectral hitch-hikers, nightmare travel tales and the rogues, freaks and monsters to be found on the road. the critically acclaimed editor of Magic, End of The Line and House of Fear has brought together the contemporary masters and mistresses of the weird from around the globe in an anthology of travel tales like no other. Strap on your seatbelt, shoulder your backpack, or wait for that next ride... into darkness.

The Land Across by Gene Wolfe

So Gene Wolfe has been my favorite speculative fiction writer since early in 1980's when I first read the amazing red sun story Shadow of the Torturer and made long distant Jack Vance fantasies among my favorite stories. I'm willing to say anything Gene writes is worth reading and that's silly but this does sound good. You can get to an excerpt here and below find the synopsis.

An American writer of travel guides in need of a new location chooses to travel to a small and obscure Eastern European country. The moment Grafton crosses the border he is in trouble, much more than he could have imagined. His passport is taken by guards, and then he is detained for not having it. He is released into the custody of a family, but is again detained.

It becomes evident that there are supernatural agencies at work, but they are not in some ways as threatening as the brute forces of bureaucracy and corruption in that country. Is our hero in fact a spy for the CIA? Or is he an innocent citizen caught in a Kafkaesque trap?

Last to Rise by Francis Knight

I loved the urban fantasy introduction to this second fantasy world with the novel Fade to Black a some months ago and have been anxious for each subsequent volume. This dark fantasy that to me seemed equally influenced by my favorite sword and sorcery tales my love of the near future stories of 200AD, Judge Dredd and the grim future settings like 40k. Francis pulled from so many of her sports entertainment and fictional lives in crafting this world and its inhabitants; I for one hope this is not the last sojourn there and I hope she has more in store for us as a writer no matter what it is.

Here is a link to the except from the book and in the days to come i will link back to my previous posts and excerpts from this marvelous series...



Hope Doctor Who totally rocks....... I love them all even the ones I've seen so few of....

For honesties sake my first doctor who was the non canonical Peter Cushing... Followed by Tom Baker.. Sonic screwdriver for the win....


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wanted Dispatch Nov 17th...

Sorry for the days delay... Had to work yesterday she did not have the file ready to post...

Wild Fell by Michael Rowe

So Clive Barker has some really nice things to say about Michael Rowe's novel soon to be out from ChiZine Publications is enough to get me on board. I'm enclined towards this from it being ChiZine alone but if horror is your thing at all I thinkmthis will probably be right up your alley as it is mine....her is the synopsis on ChiZine for your perusal and a link to the post itself here...

The crumbling summerhouse called Wild Fell, soaring above the desolate shores of Blackmore Island, has weathered the violence of the seasons for more than a century. Built for his family by a 19th-century politician of impeccable rectitude, the house has kept its terrible secrets and its darkness sealed within its walls. For a hundred years, the townspeople of alvina have prayed that the darkness inside Wild Fell would stay there, locked away from the light.

Jameson Browning, a man well acquainted with suffering, has purchased Wild Fell with the intention of beginning a new life, of letting in the light. But what waits for him at the house is devoted to its darkness and guards it jealously. It has been waiting for Jameson his whole life . . . or even longer. and now, at long last, it has found him.


Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War by Richard Ellis Preston Jr.

As a fan of steampunk I'm anxious to read this series, it may get some very differing opinions over at goodreads but sometimes that is a good thing because it means he's touched a nerve with people. Its one of the few steampunk stories set in the west cosast of the US but that makes a good deal of sense given the realities of the mid 1800's. Here is the synopsis from the amazon publishing site...

The frozen wasteland of Snow World—known as Southern California before an alien invasion decimated civilization—is home to warring steampunk clans. Crankshafts, Imperials, Tinskins, Brineboilers, and many more all battle one another for precious supplies, against ravenous mutant beasts for basic survival, and with the mysterious Founders for their very freedom.

Through this ruined world soars the Pneumatic Zeppelin, captained by the daring Romulus Buckle. In the wake of a nearly suicidal assault on the Founders’ prison city to rescue key military leaders, both the steam-powered airship and its crew are bruised and battered. Yet there’s little time for rest or repairs: Founders raids threaten to shatter the fragile alliance Buckle has risked everything to forge among the clans.

Even as he musters what seems a futile defense in the face of inevitable war, Buckle learns that the most mysterious clan of all is holding his long-lost sister in a secret base—and that she holds the ultimate key to victory over the Founders. But rescuing her means abandoning his allies and praying they survive long enough for there to be an alliance to return to.

And that's all for now ... Next week I know is a bit bigger seeing as there were no new strait up fantasy or SF expected in the third week of the month...

Sorry for the tardiness of this post... I hope to get some comments in the comics controversy this last week and my thoughts and reactions to the matter. Take care....



Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wanted Dispatch Nov 9...

There are just a couple for this week...

The Waking that Kills by Stephen Gregory

Solaris along with Pyr, ChiZine and Angry Robot are the publishers I watch and visit constantly to see what great shiny new things are coming out. My attraction to these kinds of titles, supernatural horror or thriller, may have been triggered by just how great Nos4a2 by Joe Hill was and I'm searching for more no it may just be I'm in a horror kind of mood. The synopsis for this sounds pretty good and I'm general I'm always up for trying authors new to me... Here is a link to Solaris and a bit of the synopsis.

The ghosts that haunt us are not always strangers.

When his elderly father suffers a stroke, Christopher Beale returns to england. He has no home, no otherfamily. adrift, he answers an advert for a live-in tutor for a teenage boy. the boy is lawrence lundy, who possesses the spirit of his father, a military pilot – missing, presumed dead. unable to accept that his father is gone, lawrence keeps his presence alive, in the big old house, in the overgrown garden.

His mother, Juliet lundy, a fey, scatty widow living on her nerves, keeps the boy at home, away from other children,away from the world. and in the suffocating heat of a long summer, she too is infected by the madness of her son. Christopher Beale becomes entangled in the strange household... enmeshed in the oddness of the boy and his fragile mother. only by forcing the boy to release the spirit of his father can there be any escape from the haunting.a dark novel of possession.


Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest

Counting the novella Clementine Fiddlehead marks sixth excursion into her steampunk post civil war America in the Clockwork Century series. I'm a bit behind on this series but I'm willing to say that as with books by Catherynne M Valente, and Elizabeth Bear to name just a couple of my favorite authors I'm pretty much hooked into getting a copy ASAP. Here is the synopsis from the US publisher Tor's website and a link for you to follow

Young ex-slave Gideon Bardsley is a brilliant inventor, but the job is less glamorous than one might think, especially since the assassination attempts started. Worse yet, they're trying to destroy his greatest achievement: a calculating engine called Fiddlehead, which provides undeniable proof of something awful enough to destroy the world. Both man and machine are at risk from forces conspiring to keep the Civil War going and the money flowing.

Bardsley has no choice but to ask his patron, former president Abraham Lincoln, for help. Lincoln retired from leading the country after an attempt on his life, but is quite interested in Bardsley’s immense data-processing capacities, confident that if people have the facts, they'll see reason and urge the government to end the war. Lincoln must keep Bardsley safe until he can finish his research, so he calls on his old private security staff to protect Gideon and his data.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Wanted Dispatch Nov 2

So its November and for me that means its NaNoWriMo time. I don't know if any of my readers out there do it or know about it but I'd ask you to wish me luck. If your working away at you fifty k words to I wish you luck and I will not crow about my own only share that I have managed to write at least for the first two days so far and no I am not counting these words. I'm really enjoying this years attempt so far. If your doing it and want a nano buddy I'm glshade...on to this weeks shiny things...

Dance of Blades by David Dalglish

So last month I had the first of the books for this assassin centric sword and sorcery series on my blog and here is the second volume. David as I said before published this through a smaller publisher before and its great for him and since it is coming out monthly great for those of us who are looking for more good sw&s novels. So here is a link to Orbits website for a story excerpt. And if you just want a peek at the synopsis..


It's been five long years since the city learned to fear...

The war between the thief guilds and the powerful allegiance known as the Trifect has slowly dwindled. Now only the mysterious Haern is left to wage his private battle against the guilds in the guise of the Watcher - a vicious killer who knows no limits. But when the son of Alyssa Gemcroft, one of the three leaders of the Trifect, is believed murdered, the slaughter begins anew. Mercenaries flood the streets with one goal in mind: find and kill the Watcher.

Peace or destruction; every war must have its end.

Fantasy author David Dalglish spins a tale of retribution and darkness, and an underworld reaching for ultimate power

Swords are My Business Alex Bledsoe

This is a new one for me to point you all towards; This is a collection of the four Eddie Lacrosse Novels that mixed the tropes of sword and sorcery with noir crime novels and I think though popular really did not get the audience it could have. They have collected them into a single volume eBook and should absolutely be on your list if either genre is your thing. Alex is an excellent storyteller and this is a well worth a look if you have an e reader. The people at the website Dragonmount have a full description that you can go look at here

The God Tattoo by Tom Lloyd

This is a short story collection of stories set in the same world as the Twilight Reign series that started with Stormcaller and ended with The Ragged Man. Having read Stormcaller I can say this series tells a tale that to me felt somewhere between Game of Thrones and Malazan Book of the fallen. Tom Lloyd's story had much of the feeling of scope from GRRM's series and the totally crazy gonzo wild magic and tone from Steve Erikson and Ian Esselmont's series. Here is the synopsis and a link to Pry who are the publisher here in the US.

A collection of short stories, set in the world of the Twilight Reign series.

Eleven stories that add further colour and shape to the epic story of the Twilight Reign series - this is an essential volume for Tom Lloyd's many fans.

The history of the Land may remember the slaughter at Moorview or the horror of Scree's fall, but there were other casualties of the secret war against Azaer - more tales surrounding those bloody years that went unrecorded. In the shadow of memorials to the glorious dead, these ghosts lie quiet and forgotten by all but a few.

A companion collection to the Twilight Reign quintet, these 11 stories shine a rather different light on the Land. Look past the armies and politics of the Seven Tribes and you will find smaller moments that shaped the course of history in their own way. But even forgotten secrets can kill. Even shadows can have claws.

Starhawk by Jack McDevitt

And this weeks one non fantasy title is one what snuck up on me in an odd way. Penguin in the US sent me a review copy of this military space opera written by a former naval officer and one of the authors I've been wanting to read for several years now... here is the synopsis (this is the continuation of a series and will be another time I'm diving in mid story...)

Priscilla Hutchins has been through many experiences.

This is the story of her first unforgettable adventure…

Priscilla Hutch” Hutchins has finally realized her lifelong dream: She’s completed a nerve-bending qualification flight for a pilot’s license.

Her timing is far from optimal, however. Faster-than-light travel has only recently become a reality, and the World Space Authority is still learning how to manage long-range missions safely. To make matters worse, efforts to prepare two planets for colonization are killing off native life-forms, outraging people on Earth.

So there’s not a lot of demand for space pilots. Priscilla thinks her career may be over before it has begun. But her ambition won’t be denied, and soon she is on the bridge of an interstellar ship, working for the corporation that is responsible for the terraforming.

Her working conditions include bomb threats, sabotage, clashes with her employersand a mission to a world, adrift between the stars, that harbors a life-form unlike anything humanity has ever seen. Ultimately, she will be part of a life-and-death struggle that will test both her capabilities and her character...