Tag Archives: Steve Rasnic Tem

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

The Monster Makers by Steve Rasnic Tem

Overview
Image result for the monstrous ellen datlow book cover

Title: The Monster Makers
Author: Steve Rasnic Tem
In: The Monstrous (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Family, Horror
Dates read: 25th May 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tachyon
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: They kick and wave, thrilled.

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Synopsis

Have you ever wondered where little monsters come from? Are they born or are they made? And just who makes them?

Thoughts

I both thought that this story was kind of nice and really not pleasant. I mean, the grandfather obviously dotes upon his grandchildren. And his wife. And he spends the entirety of the story loving them all for exactly who they are. But then there’s the dark side…

And what a dark side it is… there is a weirdness in this constant idea of changing bodies and creatures. There is the loss of sanity and ambulatory skills in the grandparents. But most of all, there is the relationship between narrator (Grandfather) and son. It’s a little bit uncomfortable and upsetting.

Yet, it continues to get darker and darker. Once the bad thing to the son happens, then there is yet another not so good moment in which the grandchildren… well, I’m not really sure what they do. But I know that it’s creepy. You’ll just have to pick up this short story to find out what I’m talking about for yourself.

<- Chasing SunsetPiano Man ->

Image source: Amazon

The Mammoth Book of Dark Magic edited by Mike Ashley

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of dark magic book cover

Title: The Mammoth Book of Dark Magic
Author: Mike Ashley, Steve Rasnic Tem, Richard A. Lupoff, Doug Hornig, Tom Holt, Tim Pratt, Diana Wynne Jones, John Morressy, Clark Ashton Smith, Michael Kurland, Michael Moorcock, Robert Weinberg, Darrell Schweitzer, Ralph Adams Cram, Ursula K. Le Guin, A.C. Benson, Lawrence Schimel, Mike Resnick, Esther M. Friesner, Tim Lebbon, David Sandner, Marion Zimmer Bradley, James Bibby, Louise Cooper & Peter Crowther
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Dark Magic (Mike Ashley)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Magic, Short story collections
Dates read: 8th January – 7th May 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2004
5th sentence, 74th page: “I heard all you field hockey chicks are lesbians,” Curly said, still smiling.

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Synopsis

23 spellbinding tales of sorcery, wizardry and witchcraft.

From Gandalf to Harry Potter, sorcerers and wizards have always enthralled us. It is their power, above all, that we covet – the ultimate wish fulfilment of being able to do whatever we want – to fly, or make ourselves invisible, or to conjure something from nothing.

Here, from some of the most outstanding writers of fantasy, is a wonderfully varied collection of stories which explores the tensions and dilemmas in dealing with magic, from a child’s first struggle to control magical powers to epic clashes between the forces of good and evil.

Thoughts

It took me a little while to seriously get into this collection. But, once I did… I was completely hooked. I quite obviously love fantasy from the books that fill my shelves. But, as I’ve gotten older, I have found that I am drawn again and again to fantasy of a darker bent. Although not all of these short stories suited that desire, they just weren’t that dark… this collection was still seriously brilliant.

The stories in this collection just completely run the gamut. There are some serious, dark and twisted stories. Some that are fun and light. And a few that make you question the state of the world as we know it. All the stories were enjoyable in one way or another, although maybe not as memorable as some of the other short stories that I’ve read.

This is a great little collection. One that is interesting and fun. There was a lot surrounding ideas of chaos throughout, which makes it one of those collections that I’ll probably want to read again. There always seems to be this sense of confusion and intricacy about chaos stories that just makes me want to read them again and again.

<- The Mammoth Book of CthulhuTen Things I Know About the Wizard ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories edited by Maxim Jakubowski

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of jack the ripper stories book cover

Title: The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories
Author: Maxim Jakubowski, Barbara Nadel, Rhys Hughes, Columbkill Noonan, John Moralee, Martin Edwards, Paul A. Freeman, Vanessa de Sade, Josh Reynolds, M. Christian, Terry Davis, Patrick Jones, Michael Gregorio, Alex Howard, Stephen Dedman, Sarah Morrison, Martin Gately, Andrew Lane, Nic Martin, K.G. Anderson, Violet Addison, David N. Smith, Keith Moray, William Meikle, Cara Cooper, Brett McBean, Andrew Darlington, Betsy van Die, David Bishop, Nick Sweet, Steve Rasnic Tem, Erin N. Kennemer, Adrian Ludens, Catherine Lundoff, Martin Feekins, C.L. Raven, Nicky Peacock, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Sally Spedding & Adrian Cole
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories (Maxim Jakubowski)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Historical fictionShort story collections, Thriller
Dates read: 29th January – 30th December 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: She does not possess the sharpest mind, and it was not until long after the death of her friend Mary Jane that she began to make sense of what had happened.

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Synopsis

Jack the Ripper as he has never been seen before…

Countless theories have been put forward by Ripperologists as to the identity of the notorious Victorian serial killer, but in the absence of proof how can we hope ever to unearth his real identity? How many more plausible new theories based on known facts can the experts hope to come up with?

In this wonderful collection of newly commissioned stories, Jakubowski has compiled an extraordinary array of fresh explorations into the identity and activities of Jack the Ripper – this time unabashedly fictional, unrestrained by the facts of the case. Contributors include Vaanessa de Sade, Sarah Morrison, Betsy van Die, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro and Sally Spedding.

Cummulatively, they propose numerous possible identities, some already suggested by historians, others more speculative, including some famous names from history and fiction – even Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are on the case!

Thoughts

You know from the very beginning that this collection is going to be quite twisted. I mean, it’s a collection of 40 stories about Jack the Ripper. That is never going to be a nice collection. But it was an incredibly interesting one. One that I’m incredibly glad I read and found very difficult to put down.

I’m glad that I read The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper before reading this. It made a few things make a little more sense as I read these short stories. Plus, there were SO many different takes on the events of 1888. Or adaptations to modern day society. It filled my head with a lot of wonderful information.

After reading this, I know even more about Jack the Ripper. I’m not actually sure that this is such a good thing. Because wow. There’s a reason why he’s (or maybe she’s) such a notorious killer. There are just so many things that are known and not known…

 <- The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper ReviewBertie Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Monkeys by Steve Rasnic Tem

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of jack the ripper stories book cover

Title: Monkeys
Author: Steve Rasnic Tem
In: The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories (Maxim Jakubowski)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Historical fiction
Dates read: 22nd November 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: No, a monkey.

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Synopsis

Told entirely from the point of view of the victims – a different take on the Jack the Ripper murders.

Thoughts

I love the lower class register that is used in this story from the very beginning. It immediately highlights the fact that the victims of the Ripper were from a lower socio-economic group. Straight away I was drawn into their lives and tone of voice. Something difficult to remove from my brain.

This is one of those retellings that is incredibly disjointed. It works well due to the fact that there was a lot of confusion around the murders. The disjointed, incomplete feeling to this narrative highlights that fact. It kind of left me feeling a little lost and confused – which I think is the feeling that Tem was going for.

This short story wasn’t what I expected at all. I left it feeling kind of confused and a little bit hazy. But in the best way possible…

 <- They All Love Jack ReviewKnowledge of Medicine Review ->
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

Ten Things I Know About the Wizard by Steve Rasnic Tem

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of dark magic book cover

Title: Ten Things I Know About the Wizard
Author: Steve Rasnic Tem
In: The Mammoth Book of Dark Magic (Mike Ashley)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Easy reading, Wizards
Dates read: 13th March 2019
Pace: Slow,
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 1983
5th sentence, 74th page: The wizard was indeed isolated; there seemed to be no other dweelings as far as the eye could see.

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Synopsis

There are a lot of wizards in the world, but here are ten things that we know about this wizard in particular…

Thoughts

I read a lot of lists online, but this is the first time that I’ve read a short story that is in list form. And it worked kind of brilliantly. I wasn’t really sure how this format would work, or if it would really be a story. But it did work, and a great story unfolded.

Dark magic always seems to be about power, especially over others. And what can be a more potent power than that of a parent exerted over their child? Especially when they are the creator of the child (not in the sense you are thinking, but you’ll have to read this short story to figure out what I mean there).

This short story plays on the idea of power in a parent-child relationship and the ways in which a suitor can upset this. There is constant plays of power and battles of the will throughout the storyline. And although there seems to be a clear winner at the end, you still have to wonder if he did win in the end…

<- The Mammoth Book of Dark MagicVillaggio Sogno ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

Little Poucet by Steve Rasnic Tem

Overview
Image result for snow white, blood red book cover

Title: Little Poucet
Author: Steve Rasnic Tem
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fairy tales
Dates read: 19th February 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: A bit of thick, flour-based sauce had settled into the bottom of each one.

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Synopsis

A retelling of a kind of twisted and weirdly sexualised fairy tale.

Thoughts

This was the least disturbing short story I’ve read in the Snow White, Blood Red collection in a while. Don’t get me wrong, it was still kind of sexualised and disturbing. But a lot less so than the past few stories that I’ve read. They were just downright, destroy my love of fairy tales disturbing. This was just a slightly uncomfortable feeling of disturbing.

Poucet was an engaging and interesting lead. But, I think he was also kind of stupid. He trusted his brothers. When they are clearly morons. And that got them all in a lot more trouble. This is why I often yell at fairy tales to be fair… they always go into the dark forests alone, trust the wrong person, think that their siblings are lovely… all sorts of stupidity that always, always, always leads to way more complications than necessary. So, it kind of worked perfectly as a fairy tale.

I liked that the sexuality in this short story was far more obvious than some stories. But not in a way that made you turn up your nose completely. Just enough to be slightly disturbing. Slightly annoying and make you think that Poucet is stupid. And smart.

 <- Persimmon ReviewThe Changelings Review ->
Image source: Amazon