Wednesday, July 17, 2024

SSW: DARK AT HEART edited by Karen and Joe R. Lansdale (Dark Harvest 1992); LORD JOHN TEN edited by Dennis Etchison (Lord John Press 1988); STALKERS edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg (Roc/New American Library 1993)




Two gray books. Or, at least, two 
gray jackets. 





Lord John Ten ed. Dennis Etchison (Lord John Press 0-935716-43-2, 1988, $25.00, 240pp, hc) Largely original anthology of 35 stories, poems, articles, and other items, celebrating the publisher's tenth anniversary.

Dark at Heart ed. Joe R. & Karen Lansdale (Dark Harvest 0-913165-64-6, Apr ’92 [Mar ’92], $21.95, 307pp, hc, cover by Peter Scanlan) An original anthology of 20 crime and suspense stories, many by writers also of fantasy and horror fiction.

And another in mostly darker tones:

Stalkers ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg (Penguin/Roc 0-451-45048-5, Dec ’90 [Nov ’90], $9.95, 386pp, tp) Reprint (Dark Harvest 1989) original anthology of 19 horror stories. This edition adds a story by Barry N. Malzberg.
  • 1 · Introduction · Ed Gorman · in Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 2 · Trapped · Dean R. Koontz · na Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 59 · Flight · John Coyne · nv Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 99 · A Day in the Life · F. Paul Wilson · nv Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 145 · Lizardman · Robert R. McCammon · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 158 · Pilots · Joe R. Lansdale & Dan Lowry · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 175 · Stalker · Ed Gorman · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 193 · Getting the Job Done · Rick Hautala · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 209 · Children of Cain · Al Sarrantonio · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 229 · A Matter of Principal [Quarry] · Max Allan Collins · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 242 · Miss December · Rex Miller · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 264 · A Matter of Firing · John Maclay · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 271 · The Sacred Fire [Newford] · Charles de Lint · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 285 · The Stalker of Souls · Edward D. Hoch · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 306 · Darwinian Facts · Barry N. Malzberg · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Penguin/Roc, 1990
  • 321 · The Hunt · Richard Laymon · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 340 · Mother Tucker · James Kisner · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 350 · Jezebel · J. N. Williamson · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 361 · What Chelsea Said · Michael Seidman · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
  • 375 · Rivereños · Trish Janeshutz · ss Stalkers, ed. Ed Gorman & Martin H. Greenberg, Arlington Heights, IL: Dark Harvest, 1989
































This is a trio of impressive volumes that I've been meaning to review in depth for several years, now, and perhaps with this posting, I will compel myself to get off the starting point. I hope that you're already familiar with all three, but suspect that's least likely in the case of Etchison's Lord John Ten...but they are all worth the effort to find. (I have a number of relatively ambitious multi-item reviews as yet unfinished, but several of them are at least a bit further along than this one...but not yet enough to justify the posting.)

For more of today's short-story posts, please see Patti Abbott's blog.



Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Short Story Wednesday: WEIRD TALES, March 1943, edited by Dorothy McIlwraith: 20th Anniversary issue, featuring stories by Robert Arthur, Robert Bloch and Ray Bradbury

A while back, I did a quick survey of the two U. S. newsstand fantasy fiction magazines, F&SF and Fantastic, that had produced 20th Anniversary issues in 1969 and 1972, respectively.  Both magazines made a bit of a fuss, as well they might, for as I realized as I thought about it that only one other primarily fantasy newsstand magazine in English, Weird Tales, had managed to get that far along...not even such notable colleagues as Famous Fantastic Mysteries, nor the little magazine Weirdbook, nor the UK's Science Fantasy had lasted two decades (one could suggest that Fantastic Adventures, which had been folded into its sibling Fantastic in 1954, after a couple of years of simultaneous publication, could count, but only by stretching the point).

The cover painting for this issue is definitely not among WT's best.

This issue can be read here.

The ISFDB index:

Cover art supplied by Galactic Central

Contents 

Weird Tales has few rivals in its influence among fantasy-fiction magazines. and those cited above might be most of that crew, if we add reference to Unknown Fantasy Fiction, Whispers and Famous Fantastic Mysteries and perhaps Beyond, Twilight Zone, Realms of Fantasy and Cemetery Dance, among a very few others.  And the periodical book series, such as Shadows...Gerald W. Page's volumes of the DAW Books annual The Year's Best Horror Stories were also notable for publishing some first-publication fiction of note.

But editor Dorothy McIwraith, and the publishers of WT, did nothing to commemorate the 20th anniversary, at least not in an advertised, formal way. But they did feature fiction, as in many issues, from several of the most popular of their regular contributors, among them here Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury and Robert Arthur (among others, but I've just read or reread their contributions to the issue), and none of them are the regulars' best work for the magazine...even given that Bradbury's story, "The Wind", is one of his better-known works of the era. However, as urgently as the story tries to get across the cosmic uncanniness of a seemingly malevolent spirit of Wind pursuing the protagonist, the haunting is a bit more clumsily over the top than persuasive, as presented. Likewise, Bloch's "A Bottle of Gin" (where the bottle in question actually contains a djinn, or "genie") is more frantic than genuinely witty, striving too hard for comic effect and the effort distracts. Arthur's "The Book and the Beast" is a bit more sure-footed than his colleagues' contributions, but is also straining for effect, and slight...I seem to remember from reading it elsewhere that the Henry Kuttner novelet, at least, is a slightly better showing, but I'll check back in about that...Bloch, Bradbury and Arthur at their best are brilliant. They are close to their worst with these stories, thus still readable but uncompelling, despite the reputation "The Wind" had at one point (Arthur even included it in one of his Alfred Hitchcock Presents: anthologies in the '60s, where I first read it decades back).

For more of today's short fiction, please see Patti Abbott's blog.



Friday, June 21, 2024

Short Story Wednesday +: Links to the reviews and more: Juneteenth 2024

Patricia Abbott's regular weekly links

Ambrose Bierce: "A Baffled Ambuscade" and "Two Military Excursions"

Ben Boulden: Three Strikes--You're Dead!: 14 Great Sports Mysteries edited by Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, and Marcia Talley; The Stark House Anthology edited by Rick Ollerman and Greg Shepard

Brad Bigelow: Knopf's "Borzoi puppies"

Bob Byrne: "The Mother of Invention" by Rex Stout, The Black Cat, August 1913, edited by Herman Umbstaetter

Eric Compton and Tom Simon/Paperback Warrior: "The Dead Remember" by Robert E. Howard, Argosy August 1936, edited by William Dewart

Samuel Delany and Gordon Van Gelder: Science Fiction and the Milford Conferences (discussion begins at ~6:20)

Scott Edelman: Elwin Colman and his collection Dance on Saturday

Martin Edwards on his new anthology, Lessons in Crime: Academic Mysteries

Elizabeth Foxwell: Turning the Tables: The Short Fiction of Helen Nielsen edited by Bill Kelly, Stark House Press 2024; Pulp Champagne: The Short Fiction of Lorenz Heller, Stark House 2024; The Killer Everyone Knew and Other Captain Leopold Stories by Edward D. Hoch, Stark House 2024, and more

Jerry House: "In the Heart of Fire" by Dean R. Koontz, Amazon Original Stories electronic chapbook, 2019

Kate Jackson: Bodies from the Library 2024 

George Kelley: Neither Man Nor Dog by Gerald Kersh; Logical Fantasy: The Many Worlds of John Wyndham by John Wyndham (John Benyon Harris), edited by David Date

Kate Laity: Muriel Spark

Steve Lewis: Bright New Universe by Jack Williamson

Robert Lopresti: "And Now, an Inspiring Story of Tragedy Overcome" by Joseph S. Walker, Three Strikes--You're Dead!: 14 Great Sports Mysteries edited by Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, and Marcia Talley 

Todd Mason: Collecting Myself: The Uncollected Stories of Barry N. Malzberg by Barry N. Malzberg, edited by Robert Friedman & Greg Shepard; Cream of the Crop: Best Mystery & Suspense Stories of Bill Pronzini (both Stark House, 2024) [forthcoming, once I shake my current malady.]

Jeffrey Meyers: Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene (courtesy Paul DiFilippo)

J. Kingston Pierce: Bishop Rider Lives: An Anthology of Retribution, edited by Hector Acosta and Beau Johnson, among other summer books

John O'Neill: Ragged Maps: Stories by Ian R. MacCleod

James Reasoner: "Big Shots Die Young!" (the Manville Moon series) by Richard Deming, Black Mask, July 1940; "Rawhide Bound" by "Peter Howard Morland" (aka "Max Brand" and actually Frederick Faust), Street And Smith's Western Story Magazine, 23 April 1932

Judy Penz Sheluk: editing anthologies

Steven H. Silver: "The Butcher of Darkside Hover" by Jonathan Sean Lyster, Analog: Science Fiction and Fact, October 2022, edited by Trevor Quachri

William Stoddard: The Day's Work by Rudyard Kipling

Kevin Tipple: Mystery Magazine, June 2024, edited by Kerry Carter

"TomCat": "The Sweating Stone" by Edward D. Hoch

Henry Wessells: The influence of Moby Dick upon H. P. Lovecraft, among others.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

SSW: "The Widow's Tale" by Richard Bausch, PLOUGHSHARES, Winter 2023-24, edited by Ladette Randolph and (poetry editor) John Skoyles: Short Story Wednesday

"The Widow's Tale" by Richard Bausch is a borderline horror story; one could choose to see nothing supernatural in it, despite such components as the characters' discussion of , and reflections on, afterlife as reality or metaphor, mediums of the spiritual sort, seance and the possibly illusory...or not...spotting by the titular widow of her late husband's shade, or at very least likeness, at a reading given by an acquaintance.




































A not quite Chaucerian title (and one not too uncommon among stories and novels), it also hearkens back to Bausch's first contribution to Ploughshares, "The Wife's Tale", in the Winter 1978 issue, which I have not yet read.

It deftly describes the plight of widow Susan Bridge, whose sister Moira reports to her Moira's recurring dream of Susan's late husband Victor trying to tell Moira a message to pass along to Susan, a year after his faral single-car accident. Bridge and her family and friends are largely literary and other sorts of humanities scholars and artists, a milieu Bausch is very much a part of (Susan is a retired history professor, as an example), and Moira's concern that there might be more to her dreams than simple melancholy sparks the events of the story, a witty, humane and verisimilitudinous account of how grief, and the often baffled compassion of those around the bereaved, can and will express themselves, as well as how one takes on the nature (and arguably possible supernature) of existence while coping with mortality and its eventualities.  

It's worth a look.

Most weeks, Patti Abbott gathers the links to this roundelay of reviews; I might gather them, as I occasionally do, this week while she's on vacation.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Short Story Wednesday +: the links to the reviews, 12 June 2024

Patricia Abbott's regular weekly links

Frank Babics: "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce, The San Francisco Examiner, 13 July 1890

Tony Baer: various forms of The Bridge in the Jungle by B. Traven

Brad Bigelow: five short novels/long novellas about the collapse of England

John Boston: Amazing Stories, July 1969, edited by Ted White

Curtis Evans: adaptations of Cornell Woolrich's fiction

Paul Fraser: An Interview with David Redd (1946-2024); "The Man Who Came Early" by Poul Anderson, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, June 1956, edited by "Anthony Boucher"

Michael A. Gonzales: 1980s NYC bookstore culture and its environs

Rich Horton: First Person Peculiar and other writings by T. L. Sherred; "Inside Man" by K. J. Parker; "The Tusks of Extinction" by Ray Nayler

Jerry House: "You Were Perfectly Fine" by Dorothy Parker, The New Yorker, 23 February 1929, edited by Harold Ross

Kate Jackson: "The Way Up to Heaven" by Roald Dahl, The New Yorker, 27 February 1954, edited by Harold Ross; Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, October 1951, edited by Frederic Dannay

Tracy K: stories from Crime Hits Home, edited by S. J. Rozan

George Kelley: The Gist Hunter and Other Stories by Matthew Hughes

James Queally: Thuglit, the hardboiled little magazine edited and published by Todd Robinson and Allison Glasgow

James Reasoner: Casinos, Motels, Gators: Stories by Ben Boulden; Texas Rangers, June 1945, edited by ?G. B. Farnum

Steve Lewis: Spaceman! (aka Galactic Odyssey) by Keith Laumer, as serialized in Worlds of If, May, June and July 1967, edited by Frederik Pohl

Todd Mason: "The Widow's Tale" by Richard Bausch, Ploughshares, Winter 2023-24, edited by Ladette Randolph

Jack Seabrook: "Lonely Place" by C. B. Gilford (as by Douglas Farr), Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, February 1960, edited by William Manners (index) 

Victoria Silverwolf: Fantastic, June 1969, edited by Ted White

Kevin Tipple: Moon Shot: Murder And Mayhem On The Edge Of Space, edited by J. Alan Hartman

"TomCat": three "crossover" stories by Edward D. Hoch

Morgan Wallace: Round Up Magazine and the (Scottish) Fiction Magazine Group


Saturday, May 25, 2024

Short Story Wednesday entries for this week, with supplements:

(see Jerry House's review)

Patricia Abbott: THE NIGHT IN QUESTION by Tobias Wolff


George Kelley: HOOK, LINE AND SINKER: MYSTERIES TO REEL YOU IN edited by T. Jefferson Parker

and