Thursday, December 28, 2017

Everdings - Book For Beverage

A few weeks ago, Daryl purchased Helen's Daimones. Below he shows off the book with his Communications Director (image from Facebook). Thanks to the Everdings for supporting weird fiction!
As part of the Book-For-Beverage program, I bought him an Alaskan Amber!

Book-For-Beverage: Buy a Dyscrasia Fiction book (electronic or paperback), and I'll spot you a beverage: milkshake, tea, coffee, or beer!



Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Joe Bonadonna - Helen's Daimones review - A New Brand of Horror

"Just as HP Lovecraft created his own special brand of horror, Lindberg has conjured up a nightmare landscape that is truly unique. But Lindberg has gone far beyond the almost total narrative of a Lovecraft tale, because he populates his world with characters — with people who interact with each other, share moments of humor and drama and terror. Lindberg tells his story through the eyes and voices of his characters." - Joe Bonadonna



on December 13, 2017

“Literally, dyscrasia means “a bad mixture of liquids” (it is not a magical land.) Historically, dyscrasia referred to any imbalance of the four medicinal humors professed by the ancient Greeks to sustain life (phlegm, blood, black & yellow bile.)” — S.E. Lindberg

“Helen’s Daimones” is a novel director Tim Burton would have a field day turning into a film. The visuals alone would be amazing, and the story quite mind-blowing. This is a wonderful novel, written with vivid imagination and boundless creativity. I’ve heard it called “Grimdark fiction” by a number of people, but it goes far beyond that, and it’s certainly better than any Grimdark stories I’ve ever read. This is not a novel of swords, sorcery, demons, and wizards. This is not your typical epic fantasy, either. Sure, “Helen’s Daimones” contains elements of dark fantasy, as well as elements of science-fiction. But this is a horror story, all the way, where the main characters, a pair of orphaned girls named Helen and Sharon, are haunted and chased by numinous diseases. Lindberg’s world is populated by ghosts, mutants and hybrids (both human and insect), magically-animated rag dolls, necrophagous wasps, fetal gargoyles, and many other bizarre lifeforms. This is not a typical horror novel about vampires, werewolves and zombies. This is something new and original. Just as HP Lovecraft created his own special brand of horror, Lindberg has conjured up a nightmare landscape that is truly unique. But Lindberg has gone far beyond the almost total narrative of a Lovecraft tale, because he populates his world with characters — with people who interact with each other, share moments of humor and drama and terror. Lindberg tells his story through the eyes and voices of his characters.

While some characters are human, like Helen, Sharon and their parents, many characters are not quite human. Take Lord Endeken Lysis, for instance: he’s the Skeletal Warrior of Chromlechon. He communicates telepathically with the golem physician, Doctor Grave, and together they plan to repair humanity. Then there’s Echo, the Gray Foundling, a human-insectoid hybrid, a puppet master who entertains the hundreds of orphans under Lysis’ protection. The beauty of Lindberg’s world is that many of the grotesques possess noble souls, reminding me of Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and “The Man Who Laughs.” This is a surreal novel, a 21st century gothic novel brought to life by Lindberg’s elegant prose and colorful descriptions. It also brought to mind Mervyn Peak’s “Gormenghast Trilogy,” and the science fiction tales of featuring Cordwainer Smith’s Underpeople and the Instrumentality of Mankind. Lindberg has a totally original voice and a most unique concept, and I give “Helen’s Daimones” five stars because of what it is, how well it worked for me, and how it greatly differs from so many other dark fantasy and horror novels.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Annual Anthology Groupread read to go Jan-Feb 2018


Since Sword & Sorcery was largely born through the short-story format, collections are an appropriate way to learn the genre and discover authors. The Sword & Sorcery group is proud to host another two month event this Jan-Feb 2018: 

Join us, Jan 2018 (click here to go to Goodreads) 

Previous Annual Anthology Groupread links
2017 Discussion / 2016 Discussion / 2015 discussion / 2014 discussion /2013 discussion

Don’t know where to start? Ask the group for a recommendation, or check out the sampling of Anthologies, old and new, as shown in this group’s bookshelf. You are challenged (invited?) to track any one down and share your journey with the group. Feel welcome to add to the bookshelf if you know how, or ask for help to expand the list.

Poll will be left open" recall, that list is not a competition to select a choice for all...it is a means to publicize the book you suggest OR the book you plan to read
Click to see poll

Web Anthologies Count too!:
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly

Me? I'll be digging into Challenge! Discovery 


Banner Credits: L-->R
Swords Against Darkness -cover art by 2013 Rodrigo Ramos "Cold Whisper"
Skelos I cover art by Gustave Doré; "The Gnarled Monster" 
Challenge! Discovery cover art by V Shane "Deep Forest" 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Books For Beer - Frank


Frank has been a supportive neighbor, reading the whole Dyscrasia Fiction series (even prior the Book-For-Beverage Program (i.e., buy a book, and SE will buy you a drink...coffee...tea...beer...).  He was feeling under the weather so hitting a pub was out, but accepted the Noel Christmas stout.  Thanks, Frank!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Black Gate reviews Helen's Daimones

 Feeling honored. Some quotes from review:
"Helen is one of the stranger heroes to feature in swords & sorcery. Is she delusional, mad, gifted? I was never quite sure — she is only a little girl — but I was never able to take my eyes off her. With a cast as strange as this novel has, Helen remains the focus throughout. Even when she’s off stage, the question of what she is doing always seems to rise to the fore."
"Too much of what’s called grimdark is little more than sex and gore splashed over a standard epic fantasy story. True horror — and at its heart, Helen’s Daimones is a horror story — unsettles, disorients, and makes you feel like the world will fall out from under your feet at any moment. Lindberg’s novel does all those things."
"There are strange territories in the wilds of swords & sorcery that have been visited successfully by only a handful of writers. They are places where, aside from some actual swords and sorcery, few of the common trappings of the genre are found. Magic may be phatasmagorical, the world — both physically and culturally — has no echoes of our own, and the hero is more likely to be a golem, a resurrected nobleman, or a little girl than an axe-swinging warrior.
Some of C.L. Moore’s Jirel stories and most of Clark Ashton Smith’s oeuvre mapped portions of these realms. In Throne of Bones, Brian McNaughton brought back a detailed study of one nation. Michael Shea and Darrell Schweitzer mapped whole continents. They’re dangerous places, permeated by darkness and decay, and the scent of death is rarely absent from the thick, curdled air.
S.E. Lindberg’s short novel, Helen’s Daimones (2017), is one such tale of this diseased stretch of the world of swords & sorcery. I can’t say this book quite attains the same heights as Shea’s Nifft the Lean or Schweitzer’s The Mask of the Sorcerer, but much of the time it comes tantalizingly close."

Sunday, December 10, 2017

2017 Holiday Card

 Behind the Scenes (BTS)

Sweetie the Cat poses
We had a few ideas that never came together this year, so we turned to the 2016 archives for this year. Yes, we actually have several cards developed over the years we keep as backup (recall the past ~19yrs or so of cards are on Seth's desk and online).  Heidi (Wife, Art Director, Boss, etc.) took the lead with the photography (as one can tell from her Instagram Page and Photography website, she leans towards capturing portraiture). The original intent last year was to have both animals featured like a sequel to the 2009 card (sans Stinky the white cat).  

The Behind The Scenes footage documents a fraction of the challenging photo-session (2min compilation produced by Erin). Even though Seth donned an "Attempting to Care" T-shirt...and Heidi had "Loads of Hope"... the desired picture of both animals together was never achieved. Shorty is shown below with the classic Bokeh effect. With a keen eye, viewers should see the split seconds used for Sweetie (card image) and Shorty (shown below). After entertaining the idea of printing both Cat and Dog cards, we decided just to make hardcopy prints of Sweetie. Erin politely covered up the audible curses with the "Sleigh Ride" song. It is fitting, since both portraits of the animals seem "calm and peaceful" even though the photoshoot was not.
Shorty the Pug, runner up model
2017 has been fun, with Seth releasing another weird fiction novel: Helen's Daimones, Erin applying for college (either for secondary education or for eMedia/script writing), and Connor growing to 6'2" (yes, Seth has a complex about that). Connor should be driving next year, eh gad!

Here's wishing everyone a safe and action-packed 2018!

2009 Holiday Card

Jan-Feb Anthology Group Read

Sword & Sorcery Goodreads Group 

Jan-Feb Annual Anthology Read



Poll
Jan-Feb 2018: Our annual Anthology groupread is approaching! Which one do you plan to read (or recommend for others)? Magazines can count too. Some examples are pre-populated, but please write-in some more!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Bone Sword- review by SE


The Bone Sword
by Walter Rhein
S.E. rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm a big Walter Rhein fan, having read and reviewed his autobiographical Reckless Traveler (highly recommended story of his South American travels), and his fiction Reader of Acheron (also highly recommended, this one being more of dystopian, urban fantasy focused on a culture in which reading is prohibited). Actually, the sequel to The Reader of Acheron is slated for a 2018 release and I was anxious to read more Rhein. So, I grabbed The Bone Sword to tie me over.

The Bone Sword is classic fantasy with a coming of age story of a brother and sister (Noah and Jasmine). Their savior is the outcast warrior: Malik. This tale is simpler with less philosophical undertones than the Reader or Reckless Traveler. The "bad guys" are undeniably evil (Father Ivory in particular, though one may argue he was 50%crazy). The "good guys" are the young children with brewing, magical potential, and their fellow oppressed villagers. The only "gray" character is Malik, but despite his ability to murder and fight, he is closely aligned with the good guys and brings hope to the battle of Miscony.

The first chapter I feared was going to be cliche or overly simplistic, but Rhein quickly introduced meaningful backstory and context. A few chapters in, and I became genuinely attached to the main party. Rhein sprinkles in several very memorable scenes to ramp up the drama. A slight over reliance on rapid healing dampens several stunning sequences that had taken my breath away.

The Bone Sword is a step above a lot of fantasy. It is only #1 of a promised cycle, which is great news. For now, I eagerly await "Acheron #2/The Slaves of Erafor #2" which should emerged soon.

View all my reviews

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sponsoring Grim Tidings 105

Dyscrasia plagues the Grim Tidings Podcast #105

Thankfully there is a podcast for every subject, even dark fantasy. Rob Matheny and Philip Overby have run the Grim Tidings Podcast since May 2015. They also moderate a fun Facebook group to complement the discussions. Want to learn about contemporary authors writing dark fantasy? Listen to these guys. 

So it is natural to sponsor an episode with the recent release of Helen's Daimones! Sponsors get 30sec-1min each, during the intro; Rob reads about Helen's Daimones at minute 1:23 à 2:17.

Grim Tidings Podcast #105 Interview with R.J. Barker

#105: The British Invasion comes to an epic conclusion as we’re joined by R.J. Barker! During our expletive laden (not really) and completely serious (also not really) interview, we talk all about R.J.’s epic fantasy debut from Orbit Books titled AGE OF ASSASSINS! We discuss the appeal of assassins, what inspired R.J. to give the lead character a disability, musical influences in writing, antlers, taxidermy, badgers, and much, much … much more. We’ve also included a super cool reading from AGE OF ASSASSINS at the conclusion of the podcast as well! Find R.J. Barker online at rjbarkerblog.wordpress.com, or on Twitter @dedbutdrmng!

Thanks to this weeks' sponsors:
Past episodes you'll want to check out:
~~~
Support GTP on Patreon
Download on iTunesStitcher, or Podbean
On Twitter @GrimdarkFiction
Rob Matheny on FacebookTwitterInstagram
Philip Overby online at PhilipOverby.com, or on Twitter 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Beauty in Ruins: Fantasy Review: Helen's Daimones by S.E. Lindberg

I am honored to have Bob Milne of Beauty in Ruins Book reviews dissect Helen's Daimones.  Like weird fiction, then you should follow his blog & reviews.  



Bob Milne 2017 from Beauty in Ruins: Fantasy Review: Helen's Daimones by S.E. Lindberg



"The Dyscrasia novels by S.E. Lindberg are deep, intricate reads that hearken back to the pulp days of Lovecraft, Howard, and others. 


...What this chapter did for me was breathe real life (no pun intended) into Lord Lysis. He becomes a sympathetic character here, especially in his encounter with a tragic young woman (buried alive so many years ago), the ghosts of her children (hung for their corruption), and their army of dolls (crazy, dangerous dolls). He's still a monster, a fearfully powerful being, but he's also a personality here. As for Doctor Grave, he was already a full-fledged character, but he becomes a little more chilling here as new layers of mystery leave us to question his deeper motives.

...Helen's Daimones is weird fantasy, weirdly told, for weird readers. As the strongest of the three stories to date, it makes for a great introduction to Lindberg's world, and creates more than enough interest for a fourth entry.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

HATE - feelings good about reviews


Wanted to capture two rewarding instances for writing reviews. Apart from the occasional "helpful" review click on Amazon.com (after ~7yrs, I have 281 helpful marks on 109 book reviews;  ~50,000 reviewer ranking), there is little feedback from other customers.

1) HATE is good 

Being an avid board gamer too, I was combing board game geek for an update on CMON's HATE game.  CMON and artist Adrian Smith have been in league together for some time.  Adrian Smith's graphic novels are being adapted into a boardgame, and I was looking for an update when lo-and-behold the chat room in Board Game Geek had my review of Vol.#1 posted to explain the context of the series (link).  Of course, my credit is identified as "Amazon Reviewer" which is ok. I was thrilled my review was useful and shared.

Expect a Kickstarter from CMON on HATE in a year or so.






2) We Are All Legends

That experience reminded me of a Facebook interaction several years ago.  A few of us Sword & Sorcery aficionados were discussing Darrell Schweitzer's  We Are All Legends (click for review: it's a collection of weird adventure by a master of weird fiction).

I lamented in a comment that only two of us had reviewed the book at the time (2008, 2012).  Then Caleb chimed in to say he was the other! I did not know Caleb, and the Facebook group was rather obscure (I believe it was one dedicated to Karl Wagner). In any event, it was a rewarding moment to stumble across another reviewer! In 2015, another reviewer stepped up for this book.  Really, We Are All Legends deserves to be read (and reviewed) more.




Power of the Sapphire Wand - Review by SE

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great starter novel for kids 4-12

The Power of the Sapphire Wand continues the Creepy Hollow Adventures (the first being Three Ghosts in a Black Pumpkin: Creepy Hollow Adventures 1). It is crafted by the duo of Erika M Szabo, an established children's book author, and Joe Bonadonna, established in the Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction arena. I know Bonadonna's work more than Szabo's; even though he has written more adult fiction, he has always expressed empathy and interest in children's perspectives (partly inspired by a direct connection to the 1958 Our Lady of the Angels School fire).
Three Ghosts in a Black Pumpkin Creepy Hollow Adventures 1 by Erika M. SzaboThe Power of the Sapphire Wand by Erika M Szabo


The paperback The Power of the Sapphire Wand clocks in at 244 pages, but it reads fast with wide spacing and large font. Jack and Nikki are key young protagonists who come of age ~13yrs old, learning new Gifts and making friends as they adventure in "Creepy Hollow" (a parallel world, Narnia-esque). They leave earth to save family members and fantastical creatures from Evila, a cruel witch. All the fantasy creatures are derived from common myths/stories, and the "Creepy" world is appropriately fantastical yet very accessible.

Humor abounds, with three stooge-like goons (Poo, Goo, and Boo) and Dragon Rocks (a.k.a. scat, or poop) playing essential roles. Plenty of righteous motivations drive Jack and Nikki: they protect the weak and confront evil directly. It is fun to see them grow. Some of the bad guys are just too bad to save, but others are open to redemption.

In short, Szabo and Bonadonna make a great pair. Their Creepy Hollow Adventures is a perfect starting point for young children making the leap from "kids books" to "novels."


View all my reviews

Friday, November 24, 2017

Helen's Daimones - Giveaways for Reviewers

Looking for more early reviewers of Helen's Daimones!


Paperbacks - Until Nov 28th! Via Goodreads

Click here to learn more, or here to Enter Giveaway
US, CA, and GB

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Helen's Daimones by S.E. Lindberg     

Helen's Daimones

by S.E. Lindberg

Giveaway ends November 28, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

eBook Giveaway - until Dec 20th -  Via Library Thing

Click here for the eBook Giveaway (that's the entire list; easiest to ctrl+F "Helen" to find it).





Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hell Hounds - Review by S.E.

Hell Hounds by Andrew P. Weston
S.E. rating: 5 of 5 stars

Entertaining, Genre-Bending, Satirical Madness:
Hell Hounds is a mashup of genres: Fantasy, Satirical Horror, Historical Fiction, and some Mystery Noir thrown in. Imagine a parallel universe to our reality on earth where the dead “un-live” for an eternity. If they die there, they feel the pain but then reawaken…. sometimes creatively transformed by The Undertaker (i.e., perhaps he’ll remove your testicles and use them handles on a zipper that wraps around your neck!). Goofy, satirical puns laden the map (Paris is Perish, the Eiffel Tower now the Awful Tower, etc.]. Want to read fresh fiction, read Andrew P. Weston’s Daemon Grim series (check out the guide below to begin).

Daemon Grim is the Reaper, Satan’s personal enforcer and chief bounty hunter. He commands the titular Hell Hounds, a band of agents (Nimrod – the rebellious, biblical king, Charlotte Corday – murderess of Marat, Yamato Takeru—a ninjutsu master of the Yamato dynasty, and more ). They ultimately all serve Satan, Father of Lies, who needs them to control Hell from the conniving dead and meddling angels; but Satan is also punishing his servants for their sins, so no one is on good terms.

Underlying tension spans many groups: Satan, Grim & his Hell Hounds, the duo Frederic Chopin and Nikola Telsa (an ingenious duo learning to control the physics & time in Hell), an insane Angel stripped of his Wings (Grislington), and seven angelic Sibitti who are auditing the souls in Hell. At first the combinations of intentions and conflict is downright farcical. Eventually several themes converge, usually about Grim. The last 20% is a blast of a climax which clarifies the chaos. Along the way, Mr. Weston will occasionally slip into dosing out exposition-through-dialogue, which didn’t bother me. Usually this occurs at times the reader will desire a boost in clarity about the abstract conflicts.

There are two primary games occurring. One is the continuing, cat-and-mouse battle between Grim and Chopin/Tesla, who love to leave scavenger-hunt notes at crime scenes. The second is Grim vs. the angels (and perhaps himself &/or Satan); there is a mystery in this series which is slowly being revealed: who “was” Grim before becoming Satan’s strongest champion?

Where to Start:
Hell Hounds is wacky and fun, but is not the beginning. The Heroes in Hell is primarily a series of anthologies; this novel focuses on Grim but has story arcs connected to HIH. Given the breadth of abstract interactions, I recommend initial readers begin with either:
1) Doctors in Hell (HIH #18): Daemon Grim is introduced in this collection, and even though it is #18 in the series, it is a perfect entryway for HIH newcomers.
2) Or…. Hell Bound (Grim novel #1): Daemon Grim’s first novel, occurring chronologically after Doctors, but before Hell Hounds.
3) Or for those who’ve done that, note Grim also appears in Pirates in Hell (“Pieces of Hate”)



View all my reviews

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Time Traveler's Wife "victim" now plagued with dyscrasia



Dyscrasia Fiction - Books for Beverage Program continues.


A few years ago, Jessica read The Time Traveler's Wife; she enjoyed it, but it was emotionally draining and she has not read fiction since. Eh gad! She has read lots of scientific literature on the engineering of industrial cleaning & santization, so she was primed for some good horror.

So, she was lured into the weird-fiction world with Helen's Daimones.  The Book for Beverage Program was key for this therapy (in short: buy a Dyscrasia Ficiton book of any format, and I'll treat you to a beverage). She chose coffee as her reward. Starbuck's came through, and the Holiday Spice Flat White was a good stand-in for the desired Pumpkin Spice. A freshly toasted crumpet or authentic scone would have been better yet, but hey we are not in England.

Thanks Jessica for your support.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Helen's Daimones in the Hands of Pax Masculina Producer John Scamehorn

Producer & Professor John Scamehorn with SE

As per the previous post my trip to Norman OK for IASR, in between sessions I also continued discussing artistic endeavors with Professor John Scamehorn (Professor by day, and Producer by night). His steampunk horror short film Pax Masculina is making the rounds at film festivals. He's got a few horror movies in queue! Check out his IMDB profile.  

Not sure if he has the CGI budget to tackle all the ghosts in Helen's Daimones, but one day it would be fun to expand Dyscrasia Fiction into a medium beyond audio books & paper.







Barczak and Lindberg - Storming Norman 2017

Micelles in Evarun!

The last several years I head to Norman Oklahoma to attend the annual Institute for Applied Surfactant Research (IASR) meeting. What else is in Norman? My friend and author Tom Barczak, a fellow Perseid Press contributor with a poetic, dark style.  Barczak is an artist & architect who has a beautiful ability to capture angelic warfare with drawing pencil and keyboard. 

Before the seminars started, I squeezed in another Starbuck's meeting.  This time I got a glimpse into Tom's sketches for his Hands of the Dragon book...and  was allowed to share a bit with you (see below)!  And what out! I think creepy surfactant assemblies are inspiring him!

Tom Barczak holding Helen's Daimones : S E Lindberg with Mouth of The Dragon
Tom Barczak & his notebook

The notes read: "A suitable sacrifice .... A cenotaph of blood..."
[click to expand image]
Barczak's Notebook: Hands of the Dragon


Eh gad, is that a micelle?

Of course my mind is focused on surfactants, and what do I see has Tom's notebook? A micelle? That's a spherical assembly of soap molecules, a key technology for detergency. Well he claims his sketch is his visualization of an epic assembly of people as they execute a divine ritual.  Anyway, I adore micelle formations, having illustrated them for Prof. Steven Abbott's Surfactant Science: Principles and Practice ... with the app Practical Surfactants (available for free).  But they also creepy me out (surfactants can form some scary "living" structures, such as myelins). 

So the moral of this story is:

 Obey your muse... and be wary of self-assembled structures!


Micelle Illustrations By S.E. for Steven Abbott

Surfactant Packing Illustrations - S.E. for Steven Abbott



Previous Barczak Coffee Runs:

  • 2016: Drawing Evarun Dragons & Dyscrasia Skeletons
  • 2015: Heroika #1: Dragon Eaters
  • 2014: "Soap, disease, and dragons"

Interviews and Reviews









Sunday, October 29, 2017

House on the Borderland - Review by SE

The William Hope Hodgson Megapack: 35 Classic WorksThe William Hope Hodgson Megapack: 35 Classic Works by William Hope Hodgson
S.E rating: 4 of 5 stars

“What does it all mean?” – narrator of House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson

I bought Wildside Press's The William Hope Hodgson Megapack: 35 Classic Works primarily to read one of his most well cited works: The House on the Borderland. In the US, the Kindle version is only $0.99, and conveniently organizes 35 of William Hope Hodgson ‘s work with introductions from Darrell Schweitzer and Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Being a Megapack, it may take a while to read the whole thing, so I check in now to review. The collection is a great value.

The House on the Borderland (1908) was written by William Hope Hodgson (1877-1918) who influenced many weird fiction writers. In the introduction, we have NOTES ON HODGSON, by H.P. Lovecraft which is telling:
”Of rather uneven stylistic quality, but vast occasional power in its suggestion of lurking worlds and beings behind the ordinary surface of life, is the work of William Hope Hodgson, known today far less than it deserves to be.

.... The House on the Borderland (1908)—perhaps the greatest of all Mr. Hodgson’s works—tells of a lonely and evilly regarded house in Ireland which forms a focus for hideous otherworld forces and sustains a siege by blasphemous hybrid anomalies from a hidden abyss below. The wanderings of the Narrator’s spirit through limitless light-years of cosmic space and Kalpas of eternity, and its witnessing of the solar system’s final destruction, constitute something almost unique in standard literature. And everywhere there is manifest the author’s power to suggest vague, ambushed horrors in natural scenery. But for a few touches of commonplace sentimentality this book would be a classic of the first water.”
H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath seems similar to the strange quest presented in House on the Borderland. Sidebar, I am a huge fan of HPL’s Pickman’s Model and have been motivated to read the Dream-Quest novel since it has Pickman and his ghouls appear again, but the journey is so extended and unfocused, I have failed three times to finish that tale.

WHH’s House on the Borderland is very similar in style, but I could finish this one! The story is more plot-centric than character-driven; the meandering journey can easily lose the reader, at times becoming repetitive. However, it’s unique strength is its epic tale and flowery language interlaced with mystery & terror. The scope is truly epic. The tale concerns two adventurous hikers who go to remote Ireland, discover a enormous pit and ruined house. In the ruins, they find the titular manuscript: The House on the Borderland. The remaining story switches narration to the writer's perspective. The recluse narrator encounters lots of terror: his haunted house, the swine-things stalking him in the gardens, evils floating up from the Pit, disease corrupting his body, and being extracted from his body to lose one’s anchor in reality…. and have one’s soul float across the cosmos into heavenly and hellish worlds.

Characterization is weak & distant, but read this for the Journey: The main narrator is nameless, and his relationship with his sister is bizarre. At times when she should be involved, Mary is marginalized or disregarded to the point I thought she may be a ghost. Several instances have the narrator securing himself in a locked room with no concern about Mary who is left elsewhere prone to attack. WHH seems to be aware of this and writes: “She is old, like myself; yet how little we have to do with one another. Is it because we have nothing in common; or only that, being old, we care less for society, than quietness?” But this does not make up for her floating in and out of the story so oddly.

There is also the “dear One”, a nameless love interest of the narrator. She mysteriously appears in the middle of the story (which is weird because the House is very remote) but her prime story is literally left out as “unreadable fragments”? WTH? Why? It seemed as easy out for WHH to avoid real storytelling than it did for driving any story line. I any event, this approach deflates the cool/weirdness of the narrator searching and finding remnants of his "dear One’s" soul. It was confusing, and I was convinced for a while that she may have been Mary.

Pepper, the dog, is a splendid character and plays a larger role than Mary. And there is “Tip,” Mary’s cat which is abruptly introduced and then disregarded. Why Tip got a name and the dear One did not, I have no idea. Names are important, but in this story, the characters are simply less important than the places.

The names of the strange geography resonant like a Jack Vance novel: Plain of Silence; The Sea of Sleep; The Pit; House in the Arena; and Green Sun. Reading this will be more pleasurable if you focus on the trippy geography than the characters. The language is captivating; excerpt below. At times, WHH seems to be blatantly ironic, like when he uses the word “Presently?” in the middle of a timeless adventure. Really? Like most weird fiction writers of the early 20th century, they peppered their prose with the transitional word “Presently.” WHH did so ironically throughout the trippy, disembodied adventures across time & outerspace.

"What does it all mean?" : I don't know. Nevertheless, the journey is very weird and very fun. A must read for weird fiction aficionados.

Excerpt:
It might have been a million years later, that I perceived, beyond possibility of doubt, that the fiery sheet that lit the world, was indeed darkening.
Another vast space went by, and the whole enormous flame had sunk to a deep, copper color. Gradually, it darkened, from copper to copper-red, and from this, at times, to a deep, heavy, purplish tint, with, in it, a strange loom of blood.

… Gradually, as time fled, I began to feel the chill of a great winter. Then, I remembered that, with the sun dying, the cold must be, necessarily, extraordinarily intense. Slowly, slowly, as the aeons slipped into eternity, the earth sank into a heavier and redder gloom. The dull flame in the firmament took on a deeper tint, very somber and turbid.

… Overhead, the river of flame swayed slower, and even slower; until, at last, it swung to the North and South in great, ponderous beats, that lasted through seconds. A long space went by, and now each sway of the great belt lasted nigh a minute; so that, after a great while, I ceased to distinguish it as a visible movement; and the streaming fire ran in a steady river of dull flame, across the deadly-looking sky.

…An indefinite period passed, and it seemed that the arc of fire became less sharply defined. It appeared to me to grow more attenuated, and I thought blackish streaks showed, occasionally. Presently, as I watched, the smooth onward-flow ceased; and I was able to perceive that there came a momentary, but regular, darkening of the world.”



View all my reviews

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Helen's Daimones - Goodreads Giveaway!

In US, CA, or UK? Win a free copy of Helen's Daimones!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Helen's Daimones by S.E. Lindberg

Helen's Daimones

by S.E. Lindberg

Giveaway ends November 28, 2017.
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Thursday, October 26, 2017

First Review of Helen's Daimones comes in from Greece!


It is fitting that the first published review of Helen's Daimones comes in from Greece!  

Daimones is a Greek word (yes, like Dyscrasia, I did not make up the word).  "Daimones" refers to any spiritual entity, angel or demon.

The rating is swell, but more importantly in the thoughtfulness in the  review will future readers delve into the series. It is penned by Andrew Paul Weston, a lead author in Perseid Press's Hell series (i.e. Hell Bound and it's sequel Hell Hounds) who hails from Greece. He is familiar with the underworld and does a splendid job.

"Remain true to who you really are" Review By Andrew Paul Weston

"There’s nothing quite like this world, and to be honest, I’m hooked. Lindberg has created an unreality where contagion, magic and muses blend seamlessly together into a hauntingly miraculous realm. It’s the stuff of nightmares and daydreams brought to life and made flesh ... corrupted flesh, for the Chromlechon is now the only place where survivors can feel safe.
Adventure, suspense and mystery; depth, poignancy and meaning. Helen’s Daimones has it all, conveyed in a hypnotically evocative way that will draw you in and involve you from the very beginning. 
Do yourself a favor, discover who YOU really are, by involving yourself in the world of Dyscrasia. You won’t regret it." - Andrew Paul Weston 2017