Benjamin Parzybok: Couch

Benjamin Parzybok’s Couch delivers exactly the experience I expect from a first novel. It’s rough in spots (particularly the end; I thought Parzybok wrote himself into a little bit of a corner), but it shows considerable promise and leaves me eager to see what Parzybok writes next. Couch is the story of three roommates whoContinue reading “Benjamin Parzybok: Couch”

Neil Gaiman: Coraline

I loved the film Coraline although I expected not to (I’m not a Nightmare Before Christmas fan). I started reading Coraline the novel expecting additional richness and strangeness that had not fit into the film, and instead discovered that with one interesting (and somewhat controversial) exception, Coraline the film is one of the most faithfulContinue reading “Neil Gaiman: Coraline”

Charlie Huston: Caught Stealing

What if somebody had a heart attack reading an exciting novel, and the Surgeon General determined that some novels ought to have medical warnings, and an MPAA-like board — the Literary Medical Review Committee, say — was formed to review and rate books? Then Caught Stealing would have a banner on the front cover thatContinue reading “Charlie Huston: Caught Stealing”

Laurie Viera Rigler: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

Even though I don’t think the novel is completely successful, I still find Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict‘s premise enchanting. It’s basically Freaky Friday meets Jane Austen (although the amped-up drama is little more Brontë than Austen). Modern-day Courtney Stone wakes up in the early-19-century body of Jane Mansfield (har har) and has toContinue reading “Laurie Viera Rigler: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict”

Robert Sheckley: Can You Feel Anything When I Do This?

I enjoyed the Interstellar Radio Company‘s dramatization of Sheckley’s short story “Ghost V” quite a bit. It reminded me that Sheckley was one of the classic science fiction writers I’d never really explored. I’ve been working on remedying that, starting with the volume at hand, a short story collection from 1972. The stories in CanContinue reading “Robert Sheckley: Can You Feel Anything When I Do This?”

Neal Stephenson: Cryptonomicon

Cryptonomicon has several attributes that will be familiar to readers of other Stephenson novels like Snow Crash and The Diamond Age. There’s the crazy see-saw between action that’s basically naturalistic and surreal, exaggerated sequences. If Cryptonomicon were a movie, I feel like most of it would be live action, but many of the scenes featuringContinue reading “Neal Stephenson: Cryptonomicon”

Robert Aickman: Cold Hand in Mine

Let’s try to squeeze in one more spooky book while it’s seasonal… My friend Tim of the Doubtful Palace has several times compared Aickman to Kelly Link. My first brush with Aickman was disappointing, I think because my expectations were mis-calibrated. I found few specific points of similarity between the two writers: Aickman is implicitlyContinue reading “Robert Aickman: Cold Hand in Mine”

Barbara Hambly: Children of the Jedi

I liked Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars novels a lot, even if they were a somewhat guilty pleasure. Many other people apparently liked them too, because LucasFilm and Bantam Spectra cooked up a chronology spanning some fifteen years after Return of the Jedi and found writers to fill it in with dozens of novels. The backContinue reading “Barbara Hambly: Children of the Jedi”

Delia Sherman: Changeling

I enjoyed Delia Sherman’s young-adult fantasy Changeling quite a bit. It’s the story of Neef, who was kidnapped from the mortal world at birth to dwell in the fantastic “New York Between,” and raised as a sort of second-class citizen of Faerie. This is perhaps tired territory, but Sherman manages neat twists on some veryContinue reading “Delia Sherman: Changeling”