SF: Desper Hollow by Elizabeth Massie

Today over at Hillbilly Highways I review a zombie story set in backwoods Virginia.

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Just a couple of weeks ago I was talking about how a crime story fit uneasily into a second-world fantasy shell.  A country noir shell, on the other hand, is an excellent fit for any number of sorts of SF stories.  Including a zombie yarn.  Desper Hollow is just that: a country noir zombie fantasy set deep in the hollers of Virginia.

The framing that opens the book and slow reveals the zombie angle is a little weird and unwieldy, but it builds to an incredibly taut set piece in the final third of the book.

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Vintage Science Fiction Month: Science Fiction’s Family Tree

It is almost the most magical time of the year: Vintage Science Fiction Month!  By “almost,” I mean more than three months away, because January is Vintage Science Fiction Month, but it is never too early to start plotting what you will read and discuss.  Today I am pleased to facilitate thinking about Vintage Science Fiction Month by hosting a guest blog by Andrea from The Little Red Reviewer.  And I love this topic.

Have you ever asked your grandparents what their childhood was like?  What did they do for fun, what did they want to be when they grew up, how did people meet up back then, what did they think the future was going to be like?    Did they think we’d be vacationing on the moon in year 2020?  Did they think we’d all be living in arcologies?   Did they wonder when we’d finally meet aliens and talk to them?

It’s neat to see how much things have changed, hasn’t it?  We’re using dating apps, our grandparents went to dances to meet people.  We send texts, they sent letters.  How many web-enabled devices are in one room of your house?  How many families shared one phone line once upon a time?

Your favorite brand new science fiction and fantasy books have grandparents too.

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Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Spooky Country Noir Reads

Today’s Can’t-Wait Wednesday post over at Hillbilly Highways focuses on horror books that stand in the coverage overlap for Every Day Should Be Tuesday and Hillbilly Highways. Check out the post for the spooky country noir reading suggestions for this Halloween season.

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I did not move this far north to deal with near 90 degree temps in September.  I love the fall, and that means crisp temps, college football, and . . . Halloween.  And, for me, Halloween means reading.  Really, all of those things mean reading, because I really like reading.  Not reading horror, necessarily, but the Halloween season is an exception.  In the past I have focused on older horror at Every Day Should Be Tuesday, running a series of posts on Frankenstein and a series of posts on the horror of Robert E. Howard.  This year I am bringing it home to Hillbilly Highways.  Ghost stories are a rich part of my cultural heritage, and country noir offers plenty of spooky options.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings.

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The Harp of Kings is a character-driven, Celtic fantasy

“A person can never hear too many tales.  Tales are like honey cakes.  Once you have tasted one, you want another, and another, and always more.”

There is a rich vein of Celtic history and mythology that runs from The Harp of Kings and pre-Christian Ireland all the way to Alex Bledsoe’s Tufa novels and Appalachia.  The Harp of Kings benefits from that rich history, creating something with greater resonance than the pale imitation of an imitation fantasy that has clogged the genre over the past few decades.  But it is really the characters, not the worldbuilding, that carries The Harp of Kings.

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Wheel of Time TV Show Casts Lan

The first major casting announcement for the upcoming Wheel of Time TV show on Amazon Prime was Rosamund Pike as Moiraine.  Three weeks ago the Amazon powers-that-be gave us a huge announcement of five of the six main characters in The Wheel of Time.  Yesterday they announced the casting for another major character, Daniel Henney as al’Lan Mandragoran.  If you are wondering why I don’t include Moiraine and Lan among the six main characters, I explain that here.  Lan is undoubtedly a major character, though, and will be especially important to the first season.  This leaves only Elayne of the six main characters left unannounced (unsurprising, since she appears only briefly in the first book).  Two more big casting announcements to look for are Thom and Min.

So what do I think of the announcement?  Read on after the jump . . .

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August 2019 Month-in-Review

Another month and it was a big one!  August was my best month ever at Every Day Should Be Tuesday.  It was also my third best month ever at Hillbilly Highways (and it just missed it being the second best month ever).  I also had my third best week ever at Hillbilly Highways, propelled by what are already my 8th and 9th most popular posts at Hillbilly Highways all-time.

And I did all that with only five posts at Every Day Should Be Tuesday.  I was a little busier at Hillbilly Highways, with twelve posts (even if a couple were lazy reposts).

More importantly, I am still sitting at Mount PBR parity after a heroic last minute effort to finish books by the end of month—6 books in 6 days (and I just missed 7 books in 7 days). For the third month in a row I finished 9 books.  I am definitely going to drop Mount TBR a few notches in September. I might not finish as many books, but for once I swear I am going to go a little easy on the book acquisition.

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Half a King was my Introduction to Joe Abercrombie

Half a King is Joe Abercrombie’s first book marketed as Young Adult.  It was also my introduction to Abercrombie’s work.  It’s easy to see why he is so popular.  He displays an easy skill with the technical aspects, both at the micro and macro levels.  The prose flows through placid waters, rapids, and waterfalls alike.  The characters are rich, even if only briefly seen, and both the early, minor and later, major twists well structured.  I’m not sure a YA title is the best introduction to an author so closely associated with grimdark though.  That aspect seems to be missing.  I will certainly be exploring Abercrombie’s other work though.

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