Tag Archives: Jack Dann

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

Down Among the Dead Men by Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois

Overview
Image result for the monstrous ellen datlow book cover

Title: Down Among the Dead Men
Author: Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois
In: The Monstrous (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Horror, War
Dates read: 20th April 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tachyon
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: He fingered the spoon compulsively, turning it over and over; it was hard and smooth and cold, and he clenched it as tightly as he could, trying to ignore the fine tremouring of his hands.

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Synopsis

He always thought that they were friends. That he was their saviour. But, then he realises that they’re all dead here. Just some are a little more dead than others.

Thoughts

There seem to be a few Jewish / war / prisoner of war stories popping up in my reading at the moment. And although they’re completely heart-wrenching, kind of devastating and seriously intense… they’re also kind of completely amazing. And I am definitely in love with them. What I didn’t expect was to find one such story in a collection of monstrous fantasy stories…

At the beginning of this story, I figured it was going to be dark. After all, it starts with the moment that the narrator first realises that his friend is a vampire. But, then I thought he was going to be a nice vampire… there were so many justifications for his actions. And then things got dark again. Which to me, is the mark of a great story – one which takes you through ups and downs and makes you constantly question your assumptions. The fact that it was done in only a very few pages just made it all the more impressive.

This short story had a much darker, more twisty ending than what I had expected. Which, of course, is kind of why I loved it. There is something fantastic about a dark ending that leaves you disquieted and uncomfortable.

<- The Chill Clutch of the UnseenCatching Flies ->

Image source: Amazon

Snow White, Blood Red edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for snow white, blood red book cover

Title: Snow White, Blood Red
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Susan Wade, Charles de Lint, Gahan Wilson, Nancy Kress, Tanith Lee, Wendy Wheeler, Kathe Koja, Gregory Frost, Elizabeth A. Lynn, Harvey Jacobs, Steve Rasnic Tem, Melanie Tem, Caroline Stevermer, Ryan Edmonds, Neil Gaiman, Leonard Rysdyk, Esther M. Friesner, Jack Dann, Jane Yolen, Patricia A. McKillip & Lisa Goldstein
Series: Adult Fairy Tales #1
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Retellings,Short story collections
Dates read: 17th December 2018 – 12th April 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: It’ll still mean that I’m willing to let someone die, just so I can have my own way.

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Synopsis

Snow White, Blood Red is a brand new collection of fairy tales. But be warned. It is not a collection for the faint-hearted. Or even one to lull the innocent towards the sleeping realms of dreams. For Snow White, Blood Red is a modern book of wonders: a boundless expanse of nightmares, lusts and fables for the grown-up child in us all.

Through richly imaginative retellings of existing fairy tales, twenty-one of the world’s top fantasy authors recreate the full mythical, magical, mind-bending power of humankind’s oldest fables. Prepare to be seduced by stories that bite – stories that are frightening, erotic, dark and compelling. Because as Terri Windling reminds us in the introduction: ‘Something still stirs inside us when we hear those old, evocative words: Once upon a time.’ Only this time, in this world, there is no happy ending…

Thoughts

I’ve had this book on my wish list for a very, very long time. So, when I finally managed to find a second hand copy and get it delivered to my door, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it. After all, I love fairy tales, I like stories with a dark twist, and I’m fascinated by retellings and the ways in which people are able to twist and turn classic themes to fit a more contemporary or recognisable setting. Which makes this kind of the perfect short story collection to sit on my shelves.

Some of the stories in this collection are kind of dark and twisted. Some are incredibly sexual. And some are just a great, contemporary retelling that makes childish fairy tales far more relatable. I got goosebumps reading some of these stories. While others left a smile on my face. You know it’s a fantastic collection when it takes you through the rollercoaster of emotions and leaves you feeling incredibly happy at the close of the last page.

Anybody who loves fantasy, horror or fairy tales, this is a great collection to add to your shelves. It is one that I won’t be getting out of my head anytime soon, that’s for sure…

<- Taking LoupLike a Red, Red Rose ->

Image source: Amazon

The Glass Casket by Jack Dann

Overview
Image result for snow white, blood red book cover

Title: The Glass Casket
Author: Jack Dann
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fairy tales, Romance
Dates read: 1st April 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: Before him a huge black bull and a red stag were charging at each other.

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Synopsis

A Renaissance Italy retelling of a classic Brothers Grimm fairytale. One that doesn’t have a happy ending, but a beautiful bittersweet one.

Thoughts

This short story had an incredibly bittersweet ending. One that I enjoyed thoroughly. It wasn’t sad, it wasn’t happy, mostly it was just incredibly lonely. A tale that makes you think about the things that you could have had, if only you stopped wishing for something just over the horizon.

The wording of this tale and the setting were kind of a nice, romanticised version of Renaissance Italy. Unlike some of the other preceding stories in this collection, there wasn’t a heavily sexual component, there were hints, but it was kind of a floating hint. Something that you can see and find, but you have to actually concentrate and look for it.

This was one of those fairy tales that made me content reading it. There was no intensity and chaos, but it was just an easy, happy and comfortable read. One that I will probably pick up again and again.

 <- Puss ReviewKnives Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Legends of Australian Fantasy edited by Jack Dann and Jonathan Strahan

Overview

Legends of Australian FantasyTitle: Legends of Australian Fantasy
Editors: Jack Dann & Jonathan Strahan
Authors: Garth Nix, Trudi Canavan, Juliet Marillier, Isobelle Carmody, Kim Wilkins, Sean Williams, D.M. Cornish, Ian Irvine, John Birmingham, Jennifer Fallon & Cecilia Dart-Thornton
In: Legends of Australian Fantasy (Jack Dann & Jonathan Strahan)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Fantasy, Short story collections
Pace: Fast
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘And… and from the Charter, milady.’

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Synopsis

From two of the best editors working today … These are the legends of Australian fantasy – eleven of Australia’s best-loved and most widely read writers … Gathered together by equally legendary editors Jack Dann and Jonathan Strahan to produce an entirely original compilation … Celebrate the legends of Australian fantasy. Extraordinary voices … extraordinary worlds. Come to Erith, to a faerie tale with a sting, or to Obernewtyn, long before the Seeker was born. Revisit a dark pocket of history for the Magician’s Guild or get caught up in the confusion of an endlessly repeating day in the Citadel. Cross the wall, where Charter magic is all that lies between you and death. A trip with a graverobber can be gruesome, and it’s hard to share the fear of a woman who must kill her husband if her child is to rule … A mysterious tale plays out in Sevenwaters. Catch up with Ros and Adi as they prepare for the greatest change of all. Other twists in these fabulous tales bring us to demonic destiny and an alternate WWII.

Thoughts

I love pursuing Australian authors – after all, I would love to be one one day, and they are my people. So, discovering that there is a book that features not one, not two, but nine of these phenomenal people made me break out in a huge grin. And I wasn’t disappointed. Actually, the main disappointment came when I finished the last novella and had to find a new anthology to go and read.

The pace of each of these nine novellas was entirely unique and, in most cases, quite unexpected. The only tie that they had to one another was that they are all fantasy stories, and they tied into a series or world created by the author. Which, ultimately means that I have another seven series to go out and buy (I already owned two). Sometimes, this kind of variety doesn’t really work. The stories don’t flow well and it is really just feels haphazard in how they’re collected. But, the short author introduction at the beginning of each story and the rationale behind the story worked brilliantly and made it a cohesive whole.

If you want a taste of the brilliance that some of Australia’s finest fantasy authors have to offer, I’d definitely recommend that you buy this book. Or borrow it, whatever tickles your fantasy. It was a fantastic welcome to a few new worlds and I’ve got a couple of new books to add to my shelves now.

 <- The Enchanted Review To Hold the Bridge Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Australia