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Reviewer: Emera
Date read: 3.13.2016
Book from: Personal collection

Elephantasm is a violent, brooding, erotic fantasy of revenge against imperialism and patriarchy: Tanith Lee takes on Heart of Darkness, by way of colonial India. Elephants, monsoons, open wounds, whips, trauma survivors, immolation. Lush madness and harsh justice prevail against the privileged and callous. Lee’s usual interest in tough, quiet, street-bred, canny/uncanny heroines is in evidence.

More unusual is the sense of social and emotional reality around the secondary characters, especially the villains, who tend to be brutish to the point of caricature in Lee’s work. Here, she builds up thoughtful layers of pathos and longing around the Gormenghastly members of the Smolte household, as despicable as they are. This makes the book more interesting – earthier, more human – at the same time that it sharpens the implacable moral judgment that eventually arrives. Structurally, Lee also does some good work with the interleaved perspectives and flashbacks; Elephantasm had more of a sense of being a constructed novel than many of her works, which often register as simply a bewildering outpouring of strange events.

The obsession with the physical whiteness of the heroic characters is troubling, but unsurprising given Lee’s vampiric tastes in human beauty. It is meant to mirror the importance of ivory and bone in the plot, and Lee also consciously works against the ‘white savior’ narrative by positioning her heroine as a conduit, not an incarnation, of the Hindu gods. Nonetheless, it’s an off note, and undermines the book’s desired radical message.

One of the odder elements of the book is the character of Elizabeth Willow, the Smoltes’ deranged cat-daughter, who maybe crept in from a story of her own, or arrived (now that I think of it) as a weird domestic inverse of The Jungle Book‘s Mowgli. I mention her a) because the proliferative violence of Tanith Lee’s imagination never fails to amuse me – that, having established a grotesque household of sexually obsessive parvenu malcontents, she just had to stuff in one more oddity; and b) because the predatory girl-child is one of my favorite figures (see also Merricat Blackwood), and I’m always happy to see her. I hope Elizabeth Willow had an interesting, if likely not long, life after the main events of the novel blew by.

Go to:
Tanith Lee: bio and works reviewed
The Book of the Damned, by Tanith Lee (1988): review by Emera
Madame Two Swords, by Tanith Lee (1988): review by Emera
Louisa the Poisoner, by Tanith Lee (1995): review by Emera

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Reviewer: Emera
Date read: 11.2.2013
Book from: Personal collection

Louisa the Poisoner: cover

‘There are three things that grow in March Mire,’ said the aunt, in a silly sing-song voice, her eyes half closed, ‘and that grow nowhere else together, and seldom anywhere. Find them in one spot, take them and make them up. From them comes this dew. Oh Louisa. Listen carefully. This stuff grants the gift of death.’
Louisa widened her eyes but she was not actually impressed. Death was everywhere in the mire and especially often in her aunt’s nasty bottles.
‘Listen,’ said the aunt again, ‘the poison in this bottle leaves no trace as it kills. In the world beyond the mire this can mean much. I’ve told you, there are towns along the moors, and great houses piled up with money and jewels. If every cobweb on that ceiling was changed to bank notes it would be nothing to them … We’ll seek for just such a rich place. Then I’ll know how to go on. You shall pretend to be a lost lady, as I’ve trained you. You’ll do as I say, and our fortunes will be made.’
‘But how, Aunt?’
‘They’ll fall in love, and make over their goods through wills, which I’ve told you of. And then I’ll see them off …’

This standalone Tanith Lee novella from Wildside Press is quite as wicked and frivolous as it sounds. There’re vile aristocrats, bloody deaths, and incidental madmen and ghost horses; there’s brooding architecture (a manor called Maskullance!) and one of Lee’s trademark canny and uncanny heroines – those women who enter into society at an angle, slice their way in quietly. Also, George Barr provides some beautifully pulpy illustrations; his Louisa has a great Vivian Leigh-ish thing going on:

Unfortunately, the prose isn’t quite as effortless as it so often is in Lee’s work – the little twists of syntax often feel worked over, rather than sinuous and startling, and the dialogue frequently falls short of wittiness. And I think the story would have worked better at shorter length, given that a reading a detailed accounting of the sequential deaths of a bunch of boorish aristocrats entails spending a depressing amount of time with those aristocrats.

Still, the last few pages work up to a tremor of dreadful sublimity, and feature one of the best descriptions of hell I’ve ever read. If not one of Lee’s strongest works, this is nonetheless a fun treat for a cloudy autumn afternoon.

Louisa the Poisoner - Illustration by George Barr

Go to:
Tanith Lee: bio and works reviewed


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Date read: 8.1.11
Book from: Personal collection
Reviewer: Emera

This is one of my most treasured finds from Readercon, picked up from the fantastic Somewhere in Time Books: Tanith Lee‘s 1988 limited-edition novella, with illustrations by Tom Canty. From the title and pastel cover I expected a tale of genteel swashbuckling, possibly YA; should have remembered that Lee never goes in for gentility. Elegance, yes – Lee is manically elegant – but never gentility.

Madame Two Swords starts in a familiar place for Lee: a sensitive, fearful, recently orphaned young woman in an early 20th-century alternate France is treated cruelly by both circumstances and humanity; her only spiritual sustainment comes from a book of poetry discovered in a secondhand shop:

“The blue cloth binding was quite pristine under its dust. It was a slender book, without lettering. I opened it out of curiosity.”

“The book was my talisman. Other girls wore crosses or medallions.”

The narrator is unemployed and evicted, and finds herself in dire straits, chased from one end of the socioeconomic spectrum to the other: too middle-class for hard labor, too unskilled to be a seamstress, too unwilling to accede to customers’ advances to be a waitress in the seedier cafés. At the extremity of her despair – enter Madame Two Swords, a black-eyed old woman of terrifying intensity, in whose museum-like house the narrator comes to some strange realizations.

In this France, the Revolution was sparked by the poet-demagogue Lucien de Ceppays in the city of Troies. This Revolution culminated in the execution of the original revolutionaries, including de Ceppays, by the fickle mob, and the occupation of France by a fearful British monarchy. Inhabitants now speak “Frenish” as often as French, and labor in a depressed economy overseen by a puppet government. The narrator’s talisman-book is, of course, a volume of de Ceppays’ work, and contains besides a haunting watercolor portrait of him. The story quickly sees her devotion to his image and memory moving beyond girlish fantasy.

The final supernatural twist, when it comes, is powerful in effect, in large part because of the supreme delicacy with which Lee constructs the fleeting image central to the revelation. There’s an also-delicate but definite touch of gender-bending, which I wish I could discuss in more detail without being spoilery, but suffice it to say that I liked how Lee addressed its implications, a lot. This is a story that makes use of deeply Gothic-Romantic tropes (duh, Tanith Lee) yet resists being just romantic; it’s fierce and intelligent and ultimately insists on the dignity of all of its characters.

And so my love affair with Tanith Lee continues! If you like Revolutionary France and cross-lingual puns and intelligent Gothic fantasy, if you love Tanith Lee and beautiful books, you might consider treating yourself to a copy of Madame Two Swords.

Two more photos (can’t help showing it off!) under the cut:
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Tanith Lee

Vital Links Official website and blog
Daughter of the Night: An excellent and exhaustive fan-maintained annotated bibliography
On Wikipedia
“Delirium’s Mistress:” An overview of much of Lee’s more Gothic fiction, including synopses and thematic observations.
Desultorily aggregated interviews: Innsmouth Free Press (2009) | Realms of Fantasy Magazine (2011) | SFF Chronicles (2012) | By Storm Constantine (2012)

Last updated: May 2013

Reviewed Works

Night’s Master (1978) [K|E]
Electric Forest (1979) [E]
Sabella (1980) [E]
The Silver Metal Lover (1981) [K|E]
Red as Blood (1983) [E]
The Book of the Damned (1988) [K|E]
The Book of the Beast (1988) [K|E]
Madame Two Swords (1988) [E]
“Venus Rising on Water” (1991) [E]
The Book of the Dead (1991) [K|E]
The Book of the Mad (1993) [E]
Metallic Love (2005) [K|E]

Date read: 11.1.07; reread once or twice since
Book from: Library originally; now personal collection
Reviewer: Emera

(There is nothing about this cover that does not amuse and please me. Consider it an honorary Bad Book Cover Friday?)

Tanith Lee‘s The Secret Books of Paradys are among the most exquisitely aestheticized and unabashedly Gothic works I’ve ever read, which means of course that I’m obsessed with them. The series is set in a parallel-universe version of Paris, known variously as Paradys, Paradis, Par Dis, and Paradise. (Lee has also written a more recent series about a para-Venice, The Secret Books of Venus, though I’ve yet to read them.) Each of the four volumes comprises interweaving, thematically unified stories. The books stand alone well, though they’re seeded with references to a few recurring elements within the universe – locations, names, a certain poet – and the fourth volume has a climactic finality to it. Each of the books is further themed by color (see what I mean about aestheticized?), frequently embodied in significant pieces of jewelry and, in The Book of the Damned, stained-glass windows. (Always makes me think of “The Masque of the Red Death.”)

The Book of the Damned takes as its themes sexual transgression and ambiguities of sex, gender, and identity, considered in three novellas. The first, “Stained with Crimson,” follows an ill-fated poet, Andre St. Jean, on a journey of sexual obsession in 19th-century Paradys. St. Jean is given a ruby scarab ring by a dying man on the hills of the Temple Church; soon after, he is introduced to the ring’s owner, the ineffably unobtainable Antonina von Aaron. Cue a game of predator and prey in which role reversals are linked with a cycle of death, rebirth, and sex changes. Oh yes, and vampires. I mean, obviously. This is perhaps my favorite out of all the Paradys tales, both for its sentimental associations, as it launched my Tanith Lee obsession, and for its no-holds-barred Gothstravaganza, ladled out in the most sonorous, decadent, purple-saturated language imaginable. Further layers of allegorical imagery incorporate Greek mythology (a Pan symbol, a trip down a deathly river) and the elements, the latter perhaps complementing the book’s primary-color triad.

“Malice in Saffron,” though little less wrought and hectic, takes a much grimmer turn. As with many of Lee’s works, its events are incited by sexual violence and abuse of women. The protagonist, Jehanine, is assaulted by her stepfather and rejected by her beloved brother. After fleeing the countryside, she finds shelter within a nunnery in medieval Paradys, but by night transforms herself into capricious, murderous Jehan, who roams the backstreets of Paradys with a gang of thieves. Like many of Lee’s vengeful heroines, Jehanine nears the brink of being consumed by her own desire for destruction, but ultimately finds peace and redemption. Jehanine, I suspect, is a distant Paradysian extrapolation of Joan of Arc/Jeanne d’Arc; her story also heavily references Cathar beliefs.

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Reviewer: Emera
Date read: 2.23.2017
Book from: Personal collection

Cover art by the wonderfully named Gray Morrow

“Some seventeen notable empires rose in the Middle Period of Earth. These were the Afternoon Cultures. All but one are unimportant to this narrative, and there is little need to speak of them save to say that none of them lasted for less than a millennium, none for more than ten; that each extracted such secrets and obtained such comforts as its nature (and the nature of the Universe) enabled it to find; and that each fell back from the Universe in confusion, dwindled, and died …

tegeus-Cromis, sometime soldier and sophisticate of Viriconium, the Pastel City, who now dwelt quite alone in a tower by the sea and imagined himself a better poet than swordsman, stood at early morning on the sand-dunes that lay between his tall home and the gray line of the surf. Like swift and tattered scraps of rag, black gulls sped and fought over his downcast head. It was a catastrophe that had driven him from his tower, something that he had witnessed from its topmost room during the night.”

Such mixed feelings I have about this direst and 70’s-est of fantasy novels! On the one hand, who am I to say no to prose that is that dire, and that arch. (see: my obsession with Tanith Lee) Also on that hand, M. John Harrison’s blog is one of my favorites; I’m fascinated by his intellect and sensibilities. On the other hand, this is almost 50 years distant, the plot and characters are so silly and derivative (battles for the fate of an empire, the reassembly of a band of elite warriors in order to defend a beloved queen), and there are giant sloths that are meant to be taken seriously as noble and tragic creatures. I’m not sure even 12-year-old me could have managed that sentiment successfully.

Politically, this has a provocative flavor: anti-capitalist, anti-industrialist. The conceit of the setting is that numerous high-technological societies have ravaged the earth’s resources, and fallen, leaving crumbling medieval cities that harvest glowing, deadly technology from wastelands to wage intermittent wars. Remaining civilizations, namely Viriconium, are burdened by a sense of their own impending failure; entropy is the order of the day. Jack Vance’s Dying Earth is an obvious influence, and I assume there’s a lot of Moorcock in there too, but I still have yet to read any of his work. There’s also a lot of T. S. Eliot, sometimes pastiched very directly via the not-great poetry of tegeus-Cromis. (Sorry, Cromis.)

Aesthetically, let’s just say it: this book is fucking nuts. The main appeal of the book for me is really just Harrison’s visionary, desolate, cavernous nature-writing, which could so easily be translated to some kind of 2-hour-long Pink Floyd music video, and I wish somebody would. Here’s tegeus-Cromis, he of the nameless sword, traversing the rocky hills:

“In a day, he came to the bleak hills of Monar that lay between Viriconium and Duirinish, where the wind lamented considerably some gigantic sorrow it was unable to put into words. He trembled the high paths that wound over slopes of shale and between cold still lochans in empty corries. No birds lived there. Once he saw a crystal launch drift overhead, a dark smoke seeping from its hull.”

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Reviewer: Emera
Dates read: The very end of December 2011
Read from: Vampire Stories by Women, ed. by Stephen Jones (2001).

“Venus Rising on Water” (1991), by Tanith Lee:

“Like long hair, the weeds grew down the façades of the city, over shutters and leaden doors, into the pale green silk of the lagoon. Ten hundred ancient mansions crumbled. Sometimes a flight of birds was exhaled from their crowded mass, or a thread of smoke was drawn up into the sky. Day long a mist bloomed on the water, out of which distant towers rose like snakes of deadly gold. Once in every month a boat passed, carving the lagoon that had seemed thickened beyond movement. Far less often, here and there, a shutter cracked open and the weed hair broke, a stream of plaster fell like a blue ray. Then, some faint face peered out, probably eclipsed by a mask. It was a place of veils. Visitors were occasional…”

Tanith Lee, you’re my favorite. Lee frames this story as a “clash between the future and the past” – I read it as something approaching cosmic horror, although here the cosmic is actually subsumed by more domestic monsters. Either way, Lee writes a humanity under threat.

A plucky girl reporter with the wonderfully foolishly exuberant name of Jonquil Hare goes exploring in a decaying future Venice, haunted by white rats, holograms of inhabitants past, and an ancient astronomer’s painting of a blue-skinned woman. (Lunar/aquatic blue-green, blue-yellow is the story’s sickly, unearthly color theme.) This not being the comfortingly rational universe of Tintin or Holmes, the irrational and unearthly win out, resoundingly declaring both their supremacy over and indifference to humanity. Jonquil is left in a destabilized reality. Sexual unease and gender ambiguity amplify the sense of murkiness, clammy fever dreams.


Another excellent name: Gala Blau’s 2001 “Outfangthief” takes its title from a Middle English term meaning “the right of a lord to pursue a thief outside the lord’s own jurisdiction.” This is the first splatterpunk – horror driven by extremity of violence, physical violence as emotional climax – I’ve read in a long while, and the effect does seem dated to me now. The villain’s cartoonish perversion takes away from the tragedy of the protagonist: a mother on the run from debts, who sees her teenage daughter drifting, and eventually, taken away from her.

Still, I was taken with Blau’s smoky, dire prose (“…Laura’s hand was splayed against the window, spreading mist from the star her fingers made. She was watching the obliteration of her view intently”) and Gothily surreal vampires (“The women were hunched on the back fence, regarding her with owlish eyes. They didn’t speak. Maybe they couldn’t”). I’ll be keeping an eye out for more of her work.


I saved Caitlín Kiernan‘s “So Runs the World Away” (2001) for nearly last because, as with Lee, I admire and enjoy just about every one of her works. “So Runs…” introduces us to Dead Girl and Bobby, whom I first met (achronologically) in the collection Alabaster. As in “Les Fleurs Empoisonnées” in that collection, cruel, eccentric, clannish undead who dabble in taxidermy make an appearance; the emotional center is the kernel of less-dysfunctional family formed by Dead Girl and Bobby, and Dead Girl’s subaqueous stream-of-consciousness as she fumbles to distinguish her memories from those of her victims.

“And at the muddy bottom of the Seekonk River, in the lee of the Henderson Bridge, Dead Girl’s eyelids flutter as she stirs uneasily, frightening fish, fighting sleep and her dreams. But the night is still hours away, waiting on the far side of the scalding day, and so she holds Bobby tighter and he sighs and makes a small, lost sound that the river snatches and drags away towards the sea.”

The story ultimately hinges on Dead Girl’s choice to separate herself, and her chosen family: to cut them loose from paralyzing and toxic influences. Ultimately, she declares herself distinct, individual (though not solitary), and therefore valuable. Like many of Kiernan’s stories, then, “So Runs…” can be read as being about the negotiation of an abusive relationship.

– E

Go to:

Tanith Lee: bio and works reviewed
Caitlín R. Kiernan: bio and works reviewed

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Seek Books
1747 Centre Street, Boston, West Roxbury, MA, 02132

Seek Books storefront

Seek deserves to be called something really grandiose, like “a repository of pulp splendor.” Seriously, if you’re an sff fan (especially if you’re the kind who has slightly off tastes and whose favorite authors are generally out of print… not that I’d know anything about this) and ever in the Boston area, don’t miss it. Seek has character.

Old posters and figurines and ’90’s boardgames abound; it smells like the kind of paperbacks that have banana-yellow edges; many of the books are battered within an inch of their lives (and rightly so, since Seek specializes in pre-1970’s fiction). The owners are as much curators as booksellers: series are carefully sorted out of the morass and shelved together, books with particularly loved cover art are wrapped in plastic.

The smiley-face-sticker pricing system is fun (and yes, the prices are ridiculously good), though sometimes the stickers do end up pulling off bits of binding off the spine. (Kakaner & I were also a little alarmed that sorted series are sometimes rubber-banded together, which means that spines and covers inevitably get bent.)

That aside, I don’t know too many other places where I could come away with a stack of eighteen or so Tanith Lee novels (I exaggerate, but not significantly) in one trip. Kakaner and I have been here twice so far, and each time we always end up finding way more things that we’d like to buy than we thought we were actually looking for – odd editions of favorite children’s books, copies of classics with actually frightening cover art (that Zelazny novel… SHUDDER)…

Some more photos under the cut, including some unbelievable monuments of SFF publishing history/nerd conversation pieces:

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Review Index

All books indexed alphabetically by author’s last name, then chronologically by publishing date. “E” indicates that the book has been read by Emera, “K” indicates that it has been read by Kakaner, and a link indicates that a review is available. Author’s pages include brief profiles, links of interest, and a full list of both short stories and books that have been read and/or reviewed by us.


Abnett, Dan.

The New Deadwardians (2012) Art by I. N. J. Culbard. [E]

Albom, Mitch.

Tuesdays with Morrie (1994) [K]
The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2004) [K]

Asimov, Isaac.

Robot Dreams (1986) [K]


Baker, Kage.

The Women of Nell Gwynne’s (2009) [E]

Beagle, Peter S.

The Innkeeper’s Song (1993) [E]
The Unicorn Sonata (1996) [E]
The Last Unicorn comic #1 (2010) Art by Renae de Liz and Ray Dillon. [E]
The Last Unicorn comic #2 (2010) Art by Renae de Liz and Ray Dillon. [E]

Billingsley, Franny.

The Folk Keeper (1999) [K|E]

Bishop, K. J.

The Etched City (2003) [K|E]

Black, Holly.

White Cat (2010) [E]

Bock, Charles.

Beautiful Children (2008) [K]

Brooks, Max.

World War Z (2006) [E]

Brosgol, Vera.

Anya’s Ghost (2011) [E]

Butcher, Jim.

Welcome to the Jungle (2003) Art by Ardian Syaf. [E]
Changes (2010) [E]


Card, Orson Scott.

Shadow Puppets (2002) [K|E]
Shadow of the Giant (2005) [K|E]
Ender in Exile (2008) [K]

Carey, Jacqueline.

Kushiel’s Dart (2001) [E]

Carter, Angela.

Wayward Girls and Wicked Women (1986) (ed.) [E]

Chevalier, Tracy.

The Virgin Blue (1997) [K|E]
Girl with a Pearl Earring (1999) [K|E]
Falling Angels (2001) [K]
The Lady and the Unicorn ( 2003) [K|E]
Burning Bright (2007) [K]
Remarkable Creatures (2009) [K]

Clarke, Arthur C.

Childhood’s End (1953) [K|E]
Rendezvous with Rama (1972) [K]

Coelho, Paulo.

The Alchemist (1988) [E]

Constantine, Storm.

Stalking Tender Prey (1995) [K]

Cushman, Karen.

The Midwife’s Apprentice (1995) [K|E]


Dart-Thornton, Cecilia.

The Ill-Made Mute (2002) [E]

Datlow, Ellen (ed.).

The Faery Reel (2004) Ed. with Terri Windling. [E]

DeFilippis, Nunzio.

New X-Men: Hellions (2005). With Christina Weir. [E]

DeLano, Jamie.

Hellblazer vol. 1: Original Sins (1987-8). Art by John Ridgway and Alfredo Alcala. [E]

Dini, Paul.

Harley and Ivy (2007). With Judd Winick, art by Bruce Timms, Joe Chiodo, Shane Glines. [K|E]

Du Maurier, Daphne.

Rebecca (1938) [E]

Dubner, Stephen & Levitt, Steven.

Freakonomics (2005) [K]

Dunant, Sarah.

In the Company of the Courtesan (2006) [K]

Duncan, Glen.

I, Lucifer (2002) [E]

DuPrau, Jeanne.

The City of Ember (2003) [K|E]


Ellis, Warren.

FreakAngels (2008-200*). Art by Paul Duffield, et al. [E]

Ennis, Garth.

Just a Pilgrim: Garden of Eden (2001). Art by Carlos Ezquerra. [E]
The Boys (2006-200*). Art by Darick Robertson. [E]


Feiffer, Jules.

The Man In the Ceiling (1995) [K]

Fletcher, Susan.

Flight of the Dragon Kyn (1993) [E]

Fitzgerald, F. Scott.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (1921) [K]


Gaiman, Neil.

Violent Cases (1987) [K|E]
Black Orchid (1988) [K|E]
Sandman (1989 – 1996) [K|E]
Signal to Noise (1992) [K]
Death: The High Cost of Living (1994) [K|E]
The Last Temptation (1994) [K]
The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch (1994) [K|E]
Good Omens (1990) [K|E]
Neverwhere (1996) [K|E]
Death: The Time of Your Life (1997) [K|E]
Sandman: The Dream Hunters (1999) [K|E]
Stardust (1999) [K|E]
Smoke and Mirrors (2000) [K|E]
American Gods (2001) [K|E]
Coraline (2002) [K|E]
Murder Mysteries (2002) [K|E]
The Wolves in the Walls (2003) [K|E]
Marvel 1602 (2003) [K|E]
Endless Nights (2003) [K|E]
Anansi Boys (2005) [K|E]
Eternals (2006) [K]
Fragile Things (2007) [K]
M is for Magic (2007) [K]
InterWorld (2008) [K]
The Graveyard Book (2008) [K|E]
Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader (2009) [K]
Odd and the Frost Giants (2009) [E]

Gee, Sophie.

The Scandal of the Season (2007) [E]

Gladwell, Malcolm.

The Tipping Point (2000) [K]

Green, Simon R.

The Man with the Golden Torc (2008) [E]

Gruen, Sara.

Water for Elephants (2006) [K|E]

Gullo, Lawrence.

Vampire Deluxe! (2009) With David Ryder Prangley. [E]


Harris, Robert.

Pompeii (2003) [E]

Hill, Joe.

20th Century Ghosts (2005) [E]
Locke & Key Volume 1 (2009) Art by Gabriel Rodriguez. [K|E]

Hill, Susan.

The Woman in Black (1983) [E]

Hobb, Robin.

Assassin’s Apprentice (1995) [E]

Hornby, Nick.

Slam (2008) [K]


Ishiguro, Kazuo.

The Remains of the Day (1989) [E]


Jackson, Shirley.

The Haunting of Hill House (1959) [E]
We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962) [E]
The Magic of Shirley Jackson (1966) ed. Stanley Hyman [E]

Jones, Stephen (ed.)

Vampire Stories by Women (2001) [E]
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 15 (2004) [E]
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 16 (2005) [E]


Kiernan, Caitlín R.

Alabaster (2006) [K|E]
A is for Alien (2009) [E]
The Red Tree (2009) [K|E]
The Ammonite Violin (2010) [E]
The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (2012) [E]

As Kathleen Tierney:

Blood Oranges (2013) [E]

Kincaid, Jamaica.

Lucy (1990) [K]

Kindl, Patrice.

The Woman in the Wall (1998) [K|E]

King, Stephen.

Everything’s Eventual (2002) [E]

Koike, Mariko.

The Cat in the Coffin (2009) [K]

Kostova, Elizabeth.

The Historian (2005) [E]

Kyogoku, Natsuhiko.

The Summer of the Ubume (1994) Trans. Alexander O. Smith & Elye J. Alexander [E]


Layman, John.

Chew vols. 1-3 (2009-10) Art by Rob Guillory. [K|E]

Lee, Tanith.

Night’s Master (1978) [K|E]
Electric Forest (1979) [E]
Sabella (1980) [E]
The Silver Metal Lover (1981) [K|E]
Red as Blood (1983) [E]
The Book of the Damned (1988) [K|E]
The Book of the Beast (1988) [K|E]
Madame Two Swords (1988) [E]
The Book of the Dead (1991) [K|E]
The Book of the Mad (1993) [E]
Metallic Love (2005) [K|E]

Levitt, Steven & Dubner, Stephen.

Freakonomics (2005) [K]

Ligotti, Thomas.

Songs of a Dead Dreamer (1986, definitive edition 2010) [E]

Lin, Grace.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2009) [K|E]
The Year of the Dog (2005) [E]

Lindqvist, John Ajvide.

Let the Right One In (2004) Trans. Ebba Segerberg. [E]

Lindsay, Jeff.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004) [K|E]

Lorenz, Konrad.

King Solomon’s Ring (1949) [E]


MacDonald, George.

The Golden Key (1867) [E]

Marion, Isaac.

Anna (2008) [K|E]
The Inside (2008) [K|E]
Warm Bodies (2009) [K|E]

McCaffrey, Anne.

Crystal Singer (1982) [K|E]

McCarthy, Cormac.

The Road (2006) [K]

McKillip, Patricia A.

The Bell at Sealey Head (2008) [E]

McKinley, Robin.

Beauty (1976) [E]
Deerskin (1993) [K|E]
Chalice (2008) [E]

Miéville, China.

King Rat (1998) [K|E]
Perdido Street Station (2000) [K|E]
The Scar (2002) [K|E]
Iron Council (2004) [K|E]
Looking for Jake (2005)[K|E]
Un Lun Dun(2007) [K|E]
The City & The City(2009) [K|E]

Mignola, Mike.

Hellboy, Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction (1994) [E]
B.P.R.D.: Hollow Earth & Other Stories (1998-2003) [E]
The Amazing Screw-on Head (2002) [K]


Niffenegger, Audrey.

The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003) [K|E]


O’Neill, Katie.

Princess Princess (2012) [E]

Oyeyemi, Helen.

The Icarus Girl (2006) [K|E]
White is for Witching (2009) [E]


Palahniuk, Chuck.

Fight Club (1996) [K]
Survivor (1999) [K]
Choke (2001) [K]
Lullaby(2002) [K]
Diary (2003) [K|E]
Haunted (2005) [K]

Patchett, Ann.

Bel Canto (2001) [E]

Petersen, David.

Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 (2007) [K|E]
Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 (2009) [K|E]

Pierce, Meredith Ann.

The Woman Who Loved Reindeer (1985) [E]



Rogers, Cameron.

The Music of Razors (2007) [K|E]


See, Lisa.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005) [K]

Selby, Hubert.

Requiem for a Dream (1978) [K|E]

Shinn, Sharon.

The Shape-Changer’s Wife (1995) [E]
Archangel (1997) [E]
Jovah’s Angel (1998) [E]
The Alleluia Files (1999) [E]

Sierra, Javier.

The Secret Supper (2004) [K]

Sinclair, Upton.

The Millenium (1924) [K]

Skal, David J.

Antibodies (1988) [K]

Spinelli, Jerry.

Wringer (1997) [E]

Stevermer, Caroline.

Sorcery and Cecelia (1988) With Patricia C. Wrede. [E]
The Grand Tour (2004) With Patricia C. Wrede. [E]

Stewart, Trenton Lee.

The Mysterious Benedict Society (2007) [K]

Stone, Robert.

Bear and His Daughter (1997) [E]


Tezuka, Osamu.

Princess Knight (1953-6) [E]
MW (1976-1978) [E]



Valente, Catherynne M.

The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden (2006) [K|E]

Vaughan, Brian K.

Saga, vol. 1 (2012) Art by Fiona Stapes. [K|E]

Verne, Jules.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870) [K|E]

Vernon, Ursula.

Nurk(2008) [K|E]


Waters, Sarah.

Tipping the Velvet (1998) [K|E]
Affinity (1999) [K|E]
Fingersmith (2002) [K|E]
The Night Watch (2006) [K|E]
The Little Stranger (2009) [K]

Way, Gerard and Gabriel Bá.

The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite (2008) [K|E]
The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 2: Dallas (2009) [K|E]

Weinberg, Robert (ed.).

100 Vicious Little Vampire Stories (1995) Ed. with Stefan Dziemianowicz & Martin Greenberg. [E]

Weeks, Brent.

The Way of Shadows (2008)[E]

Weir, Christina.

New X-Men: Hellions (2005). With Nunzio deFilippis. [E]

Wheeler, Thomas.

The Arcanum (2004) [E]

WHIRR WHIRR WHIRR (comics collective)

Mythology Anthology: Katabasis/Anabsis (2010) [K|E]

Wrede, Patricia C.

Talking to Dragons (1985) [K|E]
Dealing with Dragons (1990) [K|E]
Sorcery and Cecelia (1988) With Caroline Stevermer. [E]
The Grand Tour (2004) With Caroline Stevermer. [E]
Thirteenth Child (2009) [K]




Date read: 3.23.08
Read from: Public library
Reviewer: Emera

The Faery Reel is a collection of “tales from the twilight realm” by 25 notable authors of fantasy, including Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint, Holly Black, Tanith Lee, Gregory Maguire, and Patricia McKillip.

I picked this out not actually expecting to be all that impressed, since Datlow/Windling collections aren’t always uniformly strong, despite their typically high-powered author selection. But here, at least, my expectations were far surpassed; this is a remarkably beautiful, moving, and varied collection. I found only two or three stories less than strongly written, and they still had concepts that were fun or clever or fresh – which is saying a lot when you’re going for a topic as well-worn as fairy stories. (As a note, authors in the collection keep to the spelling convention of faerie = race, Faery = place, so I’ll follow that convention below.)

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