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