True Review
Current Issue Number 79 Vol. 22 January 2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Blood and other Cravings

BLOOD AND OTHER CRAVINGS:

BLOOD AND OTHER CRAVINGS, ed. by Ellen Datlow. TOR (www.tor-forge.com), 2011, 317 pp., $25.99. ISBN 978-0-7653-2828-1

You can be assured the title of this book is deceiving. Are you looking for the predictable vampire tale? Wait a minute -- you have another thing coming in BLOOD AND OTHER CRAVINGS.

Notice, with an Ellen Datlow collection, nothing – I mean nothing – is predictable. These tales will be edgy. There will be no prisoners. There will be little warning of the twists and turns. And the tales will twist and turn you. You may wonder what just hit you. Datlow publishes many “first” authors in this one, from many unknowns – at least up until this point.

Keep in mind the word “Cravings” and you will see how different this anthology is.

In “All You Can Do is Breathe” by Kaaron Warren, a man rescued from a mine collapse wonders about his own fortunate rescue in the light of his increasing visions of the “long man,” a visit from an entity that strives to remove him from life. The rescued man also has to deal with the strange fame that surrounds him since the rescue, and a morose, almost sinking feeling that he should never have made it back to the real world.


In “Needles” by Elizabeth Bear, vampires visit Needles, Nevada, and in particular one place to get a tattoo – until they are met by vampire hunters. Who wins THIS battle?

In “Baskerville’s Midgets” by Reggie Oliver, the landlady of the Stage Door boarding house is fascinated by one recent visit by the Baskerville Midgets (named after their manager, Mr. Leo Baskerville), telling the tale to one actor who comes to stay. Finally the landlady, Mrs. Ruby Baker, is visited by the midgets again – but the midgets get into a world of a mess (making it also uncomfortable for the actor who needs a place to sleep). For the midgets, there is not going to be a good ending – but for the landlady, there is always a special place in her heart for them, no matter their fate.

In “Keeping Corky” by Melanie Tem, a mentally challenged woman dreams of being with her son, Corky, given to adoptive parents. Once a month she calls the Agency to speak to a woman who writes a letter on the mother’s behalf for Corky – but Corky’s mother has enough problems on top of the mental. In fact, she has telekinesis, the ability to move objects, to make things happen, and is determined, as never before, to have her son back.

In “Shelf-Life” by Lisa Tuttle, a woman’s obsession with a childhood doll house is almost transferred to her own daughter, with disturbing results.

Bill Pronzini and Barry N. Malzberg bring us “Caius,” about a radio DJ personality who has listeners in his enthrall, knowing his power is as vast as some of the most powerful prophets of ages gone by.

Barbara Roden’s “Sweet Sorrow” centers on the mysterious disappearance of a little girl a long time ago, which is at the forefront of one man’s mind, and his investigations hit too close to home, to neighbors he knew, or at least THOUGHT he knew.

In “Mrs. Jones” by Carol Emshwiller, Cora and Janice are sisters who live in the orchard farmhouse, hoping to see better days. They both yearn to be normal: having husbands, good families, all the good things in life. Until a strange visitor comes to eek out a life in the orchard, and Cora befriends it and makes it part of the family, her own, without letting Janice know.

In John Langan’s “The Third Always Beside You,” a daughter searches for the other woman, a mistress of her father’s, and believes she has found her. Yet she has more to learn about her parents and their adapting to the fantastic than she realizes.

Andrew Andrews

 

In This Issue

SUPERVOLCANO ERUPTION FLASHBACK Click on book cover for review. The Astounding, The Amazing, By Malmont FUTURE MEDIA

Urban Fantasy Blood and Other Cravings The Haunting of 20th Century America Ghosts by Gaslight A Pleasure to Burn

The Gift A Dublin Student Doctor   The Price of Civilization The Deception at Lyme

Next Time In True Review
Realms of Fantasy - Aug. 2011

REALMS OF FANTASY:

REALMS OF FANTASY, August 2011. Damnation Books (www.rofmag.com), $5.99.

There’s a great essay in here about “Women in Fantasy: The Images, the Artists” with illustrations of some of the best. The essay looks into the “urban fantasy babe” and her predecessor, the “woman warrior.” A sexist image? Some of the best illustrators are included, with Virginia Lee and Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.

Andrew M. Andrews
Realms of Fantasy - Oct. 2011

REALMS OF FANTASY:

REALMS OF FANTASY, October 2011. Damnation Books (www.rofmag.com), $5.99.

Another great illustrator interview with (and profusely illustrated by) Ruth Sanderson, conducted by Karen Haber. Check this out!

Andrew M. Andrews
Deed To Death - cover

SAINTS ASTRAY:

SAINTS ASTRAY, by Jacqueline Carey. Grand Central Publishing (www.HachetteBookGroup.com), 2011, 356 pp., $14.99. ISBN 978-0-446-57142-5

Loup and girlfriend Pilar escape from military custody to be high-priced bodyguards for a British rock band. But they can’t leave their past behind – including their chance to stay in Outpost 12, a Texas border town, and bring out those they have abandoned.

Andrew M. Andrews
No Rest for The Dead - cover

THE PENGUIN BOOK OF VICTORIAN WOMEN IN CRIME:

THE PENGUIN BOOK OF VICTORIAN WOMEN IN CRIME, ed. by Michael Sims. Penguin (us.penguingroup.com), 2011, 340 pp., $16.00. ISBN 978-0-14-310621-0

Michael Sims, editor of the PENGUIN BOOK OF GASLIGHT CRIME, brings together a wealth of authors to showcase the work of some great crime-fighters that could compete with Holmes and other classic sleuths.

Andrew M. Andrews
Promises To Keep - cover

MIRROR MAZE:

MIRROR MAZE, by Michaele Jordan. Pyr/Prometheus (www.pyrsf.com), 2011, 368 pp., $16.00. ISBN 978-1-61614-529-3

Jacob Aldridge is the victim of a curse, beginning with the death of his fiancée, encountering her doppelganger, all the while a demon stalks him, and draws others close to him into the dangers that await.

Andrew M. Andrews
Eyes to See

EYES TO SEE:

EYES TO SEE, by Joseph Nassise. Tor (www.tor-forge.com), 2011, 319 pp., $22.99. ISBN 978-0-7653-2718-5

The story of a classics professor who, desperate to find out why his young daughter disappears, performs an arcane ritual that robs him of his eyesight in order to “see that which is unseen.” His new powers allow him to do some great things for people but also send him up against a terrible force that could cost him his own life, as well as that of others.

Andrew M. Andrews
Thomas World

THOMAS WORLD:

THOMAS WORLD, by Richard Cox. Night Shade Books (www.nightshadebooks.com), 2011, 396 pp., $14.99. ISBN 978-1-59780-308-3

Almost Philip K. Dick-like, the protagonist in this book, Thomas, sees his life spinning out of control. He believes that his life has been scripted, perhaps by his own doppelganger-like soul, watching him . . . why?

Andrew M. Andrews

Next Time In True Review

THE MAGNIFICIENT MEDILLS, by Megan McKinney. HarperCollins (www.harpercollins.com), 2011, 456 pp., $27.99. ISBN 978-0-06-178223-7

NEWSPAPER TITAN: THE INFAMOUS LIFE AND MONUMENTAL TIMES OF CISSY PATTERSON, by Amanda Smith. Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf (www.aaknopf.com),
2011, 716 pp., $37.50.

KAFKAESQUE, Stories Inspired by Franz Kafka, ed. by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly. Tachyon (www.tachyonpublications.com), 2011, 284 pp., $15.95.
ISBN 978-1-61696-049-0