Tag Archives: Christopher Fowler

The Monstrous edited by Ellen Datlow

Overview
Image result for the monstrous ellen datlow book cover

Title: The Monstrous
Author: Ellen Datlow, Jeffrey Ford, Peter Straub, Dale Bailey, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Gemma Files, Livia Llewellyn, Adam-Troy Castro, Kim Newman, Jack Dann, Gardner Dozois, Carole Johnstone, Brian Hodge, Stephen Graham Jones, Adam L. G. Nevill, Sofia Samatar, Terry Dowling, Glen Hirshberg, A.C. Wise, Steve Rasnic Tem, Christopher Fowler & John Langan
In: The Monstrous (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Horror, Short story collections
Dates read: 8th January – 3rd June 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Tachyon
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: “I supppose I do,” I reply.

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Synopsis

Horror’s most acclaimed editor reveals twenty riveting tales of the Other gone wrong. Monsters who suffer from heartbreak, betrayal, ungrateful kids, and unpaid overtime. Creatures of darkness that struggle to adapt to modern living. Ordinary folks who find themselves inexplicably transformed. 88 But if you dare, come a bit closer and discover the most terrifying of beings – those who are living under your own skin and peering out from behind your eyes.

Thoughts

This collection is brilliant. It is dark, creepy and intense. It is fun. It gave me goose bumps. And it is filled with monsters who come in ALL shapes and sizes. And I mean ALL. A wonderful, fantastic and seriously enjoyable collection filled with the things that go bump in the night. The things that you really hope aren’t hiding under your bed.

Although this anthology sits in my horror shelf, it isn’t really all that scary. Sure, there are multiple moments of discomfort throughout. But they’re that, you have to think a little too much, or consider the many moments of confusion throughout this story that you really don’t necessarily want to think too much about. And, honestly, it’s not the things that jump out and yell BOO that make me love horror. It’s that underlying discomfort that makes you look at your own life that I am quickly becoming obsessed with.

I absolutely adored this collection. It was filled with some familiar names and new ones. Each and every story made me stop and really think about what the storyline was saying. And even now, when I have still finished the whole collection… I am still thinking about some of the stories that I read.

<- Run, Rabbit, RunA Natural History of Autumn ->

Image source: Amazon

Piano Man by Christopher Fowler

Overview
Image result for the monstrous ellen datlow book cover

Title: Piano Man
Author: Christopher Fowler
In: The Monstrous (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Horror
Dates read: 2nd June 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tachyon
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: Then I heard it again, closer this time, a sound like a harpsichord being dropped on its side, discordant high notes and bass echoes that underscored the movement of something shifting hesitantly outside the walls.

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Synopsis

A renovation involving an antique piano takes a sinister turn. One that will shock and surprise you.

Thoughts

This is a really disjointed short story. It wasn’t even remotely what I expected. But it was also really good. However, the disjointed nature did mean that it took me a little while to catch up with what was going on… maybe what the author had in mind when he wrote this?

There was / is something about Piano Man that I can’t quite seem to get out of my head. Something powerful that lingers and haunts. And just in general captivates. There’s the setting and the characters and the mystery. There’s the supernatural and the mundane. It all works together to create this great, kind of unforgettable story that left me with, well, not a smile, because it was a dark story, but left me happy that I had read this story.

I don’t fully understand the supernatural element in this story. I think that I would have to reread it to find the hints about this element that I had kind of missed. But, overall, I did really enjoy reading this tale. And experiencing such a great, intense, impossible to forget tale. Seriously enjoyable.

<- The Monster MakersCorpsemouth ->

Image source: Amazon

Naked City edited by Ellen Datlow

Overview
naked-city

Title: Naked City
Author: Ellen Datlow, Jim Butcher, Delia Sherman, Richard Bowes, Ellen Kushner, Christopher Fowler, Patricia Briggs, Pat Cadigan, Peter S. Beagle, Naomi Novik, Matthew Kressel, Kit Reed, Lavie Tidhar, Nathan Ballingrud, Melissa Marr, John Crowley, Holly Black, Jeffrey Ford, Lucius Shepard, Caitlin R. Kiernan & Elizabeth Bear
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 28th June – 26th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Out in Brooklyn in a couple of spots you can walk down a street and almost think it’s a hundred and twenty-five years ago.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

In this thrilling collection of original stories, some of today’s hottest paranormal authors delight, thrill, and captivate readers with otherworldly tales of magic and mischief. In Jim Butcher’s “Curses”, Harry Dresden investigates how to lift a curse laid by the Fair Folk on the Chicago Cubs. In Patricia Briggs’s “Fairy Gifts”, a vampire is called home by magic to save the Fae who freed him from a dark curse. In Melissa Marr’s “Guns for the Dead”, the newly dead Frankie Lee seeks a job in the afterlife on the wrong side of the law. In Holly Black’s “Noble Rot”, a dying rock star discovers that the young woman who brings him food every day has some strange appetites of her own.

Featuring original stories from twenty authors, this dark, captivating, fabulous, and fantastical collection is not to be missed!

Thoughts

This is a seriously diverse collection of urban fantasy short stories. Not to mention fun and engaging. Probably moving right to the top of my list if I’m being honest. Normally my purview of urban fantasy is kind of small. But the breadth and width of these stories and the style in which they’re written… just wow.

I loved the fact that most of these short stories were standalones. I used to really enjoy finding new series through short stories and novellas. But, I have so many now that sometimes just reading a standalone without having to hunt out more of that world (I’m obsessive, I do this EVERY time) was kind of nice. I got a great taste of the imaginations and storytelling talents of a variety of authors, without actually feeling the need to buy more, more, more. Honestly, there is nothing worse than finding myself a new series to obsess over and then realising that I have a whole slew of new books to buy…

Although this is an urban fantasy collection, it does have a darker twist to it than usual. Every single one of these stories is a little bit dark, a lot bit fun and most don’t have a happy ending. Which, I tend to love, because I get a bit over all the happily ever afters… but it’s definitely something to keep in mind as you rip through the stories.

<- CorpsemouthCurses ->

Image source: Patricia Briggs

Oblivion by Calvin Klein by Christopher Fowler

Overview
naked-city

Title: Oblivion by Calvin Klein
Author: Christopher Fowler
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Urban fantasy
Dates read: 13th July 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Helen really wanted a cigarette.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Helen just wants to find the oblivion of consumerism that her marriage has led her to crave. But, when she finds out that she might not be able to get her fix, she decides to something a little bit drastic…

Thoughts

I always like to say that I’m not that materialistic. But then you walk into my house and see the walls of books, and it becomes obvious that in some ways, I am incredibly materialistic. Which meant that this story was not only a really fun read, but also a somewhat uncomfortable one. It spoke to trends in society and what we perceive as needs and how they could be our eventual downfall. As I said, very uncomfortable.

This story quickly went from kind of amusing, to kind of uncomfortable, to completely horrifying in very quick order. At the beginning, it is obvious that Helen has a bit of an issue and needs to deal with her own personal life. Quickly it becomes apparent that it’s more than a little issue and the woman is getting desperate. And then she does the desperate thing. Which makes you wonder how far we would go for our materialistic / capitalist fix…

Although this story made me kind of question many of my own motives and decisions, it was still fun. And the ending provided a glimmer of hope to the story as Helen trots off towards a new future, with a new hope and understanding of just what true happiness and need are all about.

 <- The Duke of Riverside ReviewFairy Gifts Review ->
Image source: Patricia Briggs