I admire greatly the work, dedication and innovation put together by small, independent book publishers. I learned over time that more often than not such publishers take me outside my safety zone, push me towards the discovery of new, engaging fiction and talented writers. Undertow Publications is one such small press, with quite an impressive body of work that it’s not easy to ignore. Publishing and supporting mostly weird, short fiction Undertow Publications started with the “Shadows & Tall Trees” magazine that saw the appearance of 6 issues, followed with “Year’s Best Weird Fiction”, which will see its third volume published this year, and anthologies or author collections of short stories such as “Aickman’s Heirs”, edited by Simon Strantzas, and V.H. Leslie’s “Skein and Bone”. This year Undertow Publications plans to add 4 more books to its catalogue, the already mentioned “Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume 3”, coming on October, and three collections of short stories, Eric Schaller’s “Meet Me in the Middle of the Air” (scheduled for February), Sunny Moraine’s “Singing With all My Skin and Bone” (due to be released on June) and D.P. Watt’s “Almost Insentient, Almost Divine” (published on July). I must admit that I already own most of Undertow Publications’ back catalogue, with the majority of them being read, and that the future releases are very tempting for me. They are even more appealing when taking into consideration the subscription offered by Undertow Publications, pre-ordering all the 4 trade editions of these books comes with a 25% discount and that means 69$ for all the 4 volumes and the shipping, worldwide, is included. If you are interested or want to take a further look at this offer you can find all the details on the Undertow Publications’ website.
Monday, February 1, 2016
2015 proved to be extremely busy, it leaned so heavily on the busy side that it stretched thin my energy, motivation and inspiration. Sadly, 2016 wasn’t up for a good start either. Actually, if I had any quarrels with the past year I didn’t anticipate the beginning of the new one. Still, it also brought revitalization, dealing with some difficult situations I regained the great pleasure of sitting down and settle on a reading, the desire of talking about all the good books and the authors who write them. Not that I lost this passion, but I discovered that for the past several months it dwindled. So, although the first month of this new year didn’t bring many reasons for optimism I find myself ready to talk again about the great world of speculative fiction. I don’t have any specific goals in mind, for the time being I just wish to set the wheels in motion again and detect where this path leads me. I hope you had an excellent start of the year though and will see each other around here as much as possible.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
I’ve struggled mightily lately for free time. Unfortunately, due to some demanding days at work I also often found myself drained of energy and inspiration the past couple of months. However, with the season holidays in sight I am sure I’ll manage to regroup and keep Dark Wolf’s Fantasy Reviews running more smoothly next year. Until then, I hope you’ll have an awesome end of the year.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Terror Tales is one of my favorite series of short story collections, these anthologies edited by Paul Finch and published by Gray Friar Press are a wonderful combination of chilling new tales, grim legends and terrifying folklore. Soon, the 9th volume of this series is set to be released and although I am not in the possession of the full table of contents there is still the cover artwork to work with. This time Paul Finch is venturing to the bodies of water with “Terror Tales of the Ocean” in search of frightening stories and legends and Neil Williams’ cover captures the atmosphere of the collection very well. The unknown and danger lurking beneath the surface, situations that can become unpleasant are hinted in a full display of teeth and blood. Of course, there is more to the theme than the cover suggests, but it works for me and I feel that it sets the mood nicely.
The rolling blue ocean. Timeless, vast, ancient, mysterious. Where eerie voices call through the lightless deeps, monstrous shapes skim beneath the waves, and legends tell of sunken cities, fiendish fogs, ships steered only by dead men, and forgotten isles where abominations lurk…
The multi-limbed horror in the Ross Sea
The hideous curse of Palmyra Atoll
The murderous duo of the Messina Strait
The doomed crew of the Flying Dutchman
The devil fish of the South Pacific
The alien creatures in the English Channel
The giant predator of the Mariana Trench
And many more chilling tales by Peter James, Adam Nevill, Stephen Laws, Lynda E. Rucker, Conrad Williams, Robert Shearman and other award-winning masters and mistresses of the macabre.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
In August, Aliette de Bodard published her new novel, “The House of Shattered Wings”, the first book in the Dominion of the Fallen series, due to be followed in 2017, if I am not mistaken, by “The House of Binding Thorns”. Prior to the release of “The House of Shattered Wings” Aliette de Bodard made available a set of stories that introduced the readers to the universe of the novel, gathered in an ebook volume, “In Morningstar’s Shadow”, and offered at the time as reward in a preorder campaign of the novel. Now, “In Morningstar’s Shadow” can be read for free and copies of this small collection containing the stories “The Face of Heaven”, “Paid Debts” and “What Has to Be Done” are found on Aliette de Bodard’s website or at the ebook sellers of your choice. And if you are hungry for more, there are a couple more stories set in the same universe available, not free, but at an affordable price, “Of Books, and Earth, and Courtship”, published on its own, and “Against the Encroaching Darkness”, available in Grimdark Magazine, issue 5.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Yesterday, in a ceremony held in Toronto, Ontario, during SFContario 6, the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA) has announced the winners of 2015 Aurora Awards.
“A Play of Shadow” by Julie E. Czerneda (DAW Books)
“Lockstep” by Karl Schroeder (Tor Books)
“Out of This World” by Charles de Lint (Razorbill Canada)
“Out of This World” by Charles de Lint (Razorbill Canada)
“Crimson Sky” by Eric Choi (Analog, July/August)
“A Hex, With Bees” by Tony Pi (Wrestling With Gods: Tesseracts Eighteen, EDGE)
“It Never Rains” by Kari Maaren (Webcomic)
On Spec published by the Copper Pig Writers’ Society
Dan O’ Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press and On Spec magazine
Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille
Kari Maaren, YouTube Channel
Sandra Kasturi, Chair, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Toronto
Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating, Canada on Trent Radio 92.7 FM
Congratulations to all the winners!
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Christmas comes early for me this year in the form of the recently announced new novel by Mike Carey. I now it’s still too early to talk about Christmas gifts, I am not the one to enjoy all the holiday decorations already popping out around the local shops or the TV commercials dressed in season clothes, but the news of M.R. Carey’s “Fellside” are as good as a Christmas present for me. Over the past several years Mike Carey’s books have easily become a reading priority for me. Starting with the Felix Castor novels, part of a series that changed my preconceived view of urban fantasy, followed by “The Steel Seraglio/The City of Silk and Steel” and “The House of War and Witness”, two novels written together with his wife and daughter, Linda and Louise, that are one more beautiful than the other, and ending with “The Girl With All the Gifts”, written under the already mentioned penname M.R. Carey, an engaging and thrilling book that kept me breathless (not through all its length mind you, otherwise I would be dead right now, but you get my meaning), these are the kind of books I count among my favorites. As a matter of fact, I would find it very difficult to name just one of Mike Carey’s novels as my favorite without referring to all the others. Next year, on April, Orbit Books will release another, “Fellside”, which by the first look stands proud next to the others. We have little to go by so far, a small synopsis, the unremarkable cover (but you could sell me a Mike Carey’s book even without one) and the first two pages of the novel available on io9, but it is enough for me to jump with joy at the thought of reading “Fellside” next year.