Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mail Bag

Being my birthday a few weeks back, I got some new books. Some I ordered for myself (with birthday $ and Amazon cards) an one as a present (though plucked from my utterly-forgotten-by-me Amazon wishlist). 

From the first story I read by Raphael Ordoñez , "The Goblin King's Concubine", I was hooked by his writing and the rotting, Antellus (no longer called that for reasons you can read here) It combined pulp elements with compelling prose, and told a very good story. Last year, he published his first novel, the absolutely wonderful Dragonfly. Now, more than a year later, the sequel's appeared. Like its predecessor, the cover, painted by Ordoñez, is as wondrously strange as the story.

The grimdark books to shame all other grimdark books, is how I've referred to Bakker's Second Apocalypse series. If you think you have a high tolerance for violence and despair, these books might test you. Now, five years after the last book, The White Luck Warrior, a sequel has appeared. Originally, Bakker planned on a single concluding volume,  but the publisher decided two books were better. Then he wrote more material to make this better able to stand on its own. Whatever, as long as The Great Ordeal is here.

Matt Hughes' Raffalon adventures are the finest Jack Vance-inspired stories around. When I learned he'd done a Cugel the Clever pastiche for Paizo I bought it at once. I've already started Song of the Serpent (and will review it at Black Gate next week) and, so far, it's a hoot. 

Not only did I buy Matt Hughes' Paizo book, I bought the second of Howard Andrew Jones'. I'm one of those readers who look more than a little askance at game tie-ins. Perhaps it was the horrible experience of reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight and Dragons of Winter Night. I'm not sure, but game-based novels never sat right with me. Following Jones' posts while he wrote Stalking the Beast and its follow-ups convinced me, maybe it was time to the format another go, I mean, heck, it's been over thirty years. Seriously, though, Jones is good, Golarion looks like a fun setting, and I love the cover. NOTE: I originally wrote this was his first. I was wrong, and rectified that by also buying the first, Plague of Shadows.

I have high hopes for Skelos. I just got the mobi file and the trade paper copy showed up in the mailbox this morning. High hopes, people, high hopes. 
I have never read McDowell, but his reputation is high and this looked good. Haunted house stories are a weakness for me, but too often they stink. Actually, it's more that they rarely compare favorably to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House or Anne River Siddon's The House Next Door. The Elementals might have the mettle to pass the test.
I totally forgot I put this on my wishlist last year. My sister-in-law didn't though, and got me it for my birthday. Campbell's early HPL-pastiches are some of the most fun fan fiction I've ever read. Unlike Lin Carter's weak undertakings, these, silly as they can be, are animated by a love and joy for the material coupled with an inherent talent that would surface in his original works a few years later. This edition of The Inhabitant of the Lake includes early drafts and facsimiles of Campbell's correspondence with Arkham House.


  1. Also Kickstarted Skelos. Very high hopes. And so far enjoying the first couple reads.

  2. Good to hear. I'm looking to start it in the next week or so

  3. Hope you enjoy my book...and the others, of course.

  4. I Skelos e-book for sale somewhere? Or is it only given out to kickstarters?

  5. Sorry, but it looks like kickstarters only right now.