(Disclosure: I received an electronic review copy via NetGalley.)

Stories for Chip brings together outstanding authors inspired by a brilliant writer and critic, Science Fiction Writers of America Grandmaster Samuel R. “Chip” Delany. Award-winning SF luminaries such as Michael Swanwick, Nalo Hopkinson, and Eileen Gunn contribute original fiction and creative nonfiction. From surrealistic visions of bucolic road trips to erotic transgressions to mind-expanding analyses of Delany’s influence on the genre—as an out gay man, an African American, and possessor of a startlingly acute intellect—this book conveys the scope of the subject’s sometimes troubling, always rewarding genius. Editors Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell have given Delany and the world at large, a gorgeous, haunting, illuminating, and deeply satisfying gift of a book.

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As the blurb says, the short works within Stories for Chip cover a wide scope of styles, sub-genres and themes, whilst staying true to the overall vision. You’ll find everything from erotic horror to space drama to chilling dystopias to non-specfic slices of life. The essays range from scholarly to deeply personal.

Standout favourite  for me is the first story, Billy Tumult by Nick Harkaway. It’s fun, clever and inventive. I also particularly enjoyed the steampunk-flavoured Jamaica Ginger by Nalo Hopkinson and Nisi Shawl with its resourceful young heroine.

Be warned: This is by no means a lightweight read.As a relatively uneducated reader with little familiarity with Delany’s work, I found some of the stories and essays difficult to appreciate. By all accounts, Delany is an exceptionally intelligent man, and this lofty intellect is reflected in the contents of this anthology. For an example, here is a one sentence excerpt from Hal Duncan’s An Idyll in Erehwyna

Poesis is the suppositional calculus, notated not in symbol but in stance: epistemic, alethic, deontic, boulomaic.

(Please tell me I’m not the only reader who has no idea what the previous sentence means!)

A second warning: Don’t let this put you off. It does no harm to stretch your brain every now and again.

Here’s a new anthology to add to your collection! A Mythos Grimmly, which contains my short story “The Witch’s Library.” To be honest, this anthology has been out for nearly a month now, so it’s not so much a new release as a new-ish release. Initial sales have been strong enough to keep it in the top 100 bestselling horror anthology e-books on Amazon until recently, hence my delayed addition to the promotional efforts.

As the title suggests and the blurb makes explicit, the stories in this book are mash-ups of fairy tales and the Lovecraftian mythos. Kudos goes to the editors and compilers of this anthology, because the stories they’ve selected reflect the theme with impressive diversity. Some are derived from the titular Grimms’ fairy tales. Others are inspired by non-European myths and tales. Some feature Lovecraftian settings, characters and monsters. Others have infused traditional stories with Lovecraftian themes.

For my contribution, I’ve chosen Hansel and Gretel. Out of all Grimm’s tales, this one holds a special interest for me (see also my novelette “The Harvesters” – stay tuned for a re-release of this story), probably because it’s not about passive princesses and feminine beauty, but the much less celebrated bond of sibling love. I’ve subverted the traditional happy-ever-after ending with more Lovecraftian ideas of insanity, forbidden knowledge and the unknown, and cast it all in a steampunky setting (just because I could).

You can purchase A Mythos Grimmly in e-book, paperback or hardback here: A Mythos Grimmly on Amazon

(Disclosure: I received an electronic copy from the author for review purposes.)

Pull up a rocking chair and sit a spell. Soak in these twelve tales of Southern Gothic horror:
Sinister shopkeepers whose goods hold the highest price, a woman’s search for her mother drags her into the binding embrace of a monster, a witchdoctor’s young niece tells him a life-altering secret, an investigator who knows how to keep a 100% confession rate….
These are stories where the setting itself becomes a character—fog laced cemeteries, sulfur rich salt marshes—places housing creatures that defy understanding and where the grotesque and macabre are celebrated.

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With such a specific theme, author Eden Royce has set herself a lofty challenge – to compile a collection that is both cohesive and varied in its content. And for the most part, she has succeeded admirably. The stories in Spook Lights are rich in atmosphere, showcasing the setting to great effect. There are some recurring motifs – love, lust and betrayal, revenge and dark magic – but there are also some surprises, such as the curiously hopeful “Path of the War Chief”, and the short but imaginative (and one of my favourites from the collection) “Hand of Glory”.
Royce is a skilled storyteller, but more importantly, her stories ring with authenticity; reading them, you get the feeling that, if she hasn’t cast a few spells herself, she has kept close company with those who have. With this collection, she honours the tales and traditions of the American South.

Purchase link: http://www.amazon.com/Spook-Lights-Southern-Gothic-Horror-ebook/dp/B00XRKOW18/

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About the author:
Eden Royce is descended from women who practiced root, a type of conjure magic in her native Charleston, South Carolina. She currently lives in Kent, The Garden of England, with her husband and a maniacal black cat named Samurai.
Eden’s stories have been called “a fist in a velvet glove” (Roma Gray, author of Gray Shadows Under a Harvest Moon), “atmospheric, unforgettable, and haunting” (Crystal Connor, author of The Spectrum Trilogy) and she has been praised for bringing “a refreshing perspective to the table that paranormal lovers are sure to enjoy.” (B.D. Bruns, author of The Gothic Shift).