Tell Tales

The way I read collections and anthologies is to pick and mix. I may read just one story from a book before looking elsewhere – and I have many, many books on the go at any one time. In order to share my reading pleasure I will, from time to time, highlight a particularly strong story in a thread I’ve termed Tell Tales.

“Tower of Babylon” by Ted Chiang can be found in his collection Stories of Your Life and Others (Picador £8.99). This is the lead story in the book and was originally published in Omni in 1990. Like almost all stories from Omni (the ones I’ve read, anyway), it is an outstanding and powerfully written tale. As one would expect, coming from such a publication. Read more here.

 

B and W Portraits

I have uploaded nearly 50 images of writers, editors, artists and publishers, taken at various conventions over the years, to my Flickr gallery — click here to take a peak. I will be adding further photos when time allows.

I have always preferred black and white photography for portraiture — it reduces distracting colours, especially those in the background, and, I believe, allows the personality to show through.

The above photo is of the late and very great Tanith Lee. I took this at an Eastercon a few years back.

Hekla’s Children reviewed

Over on the Piper at the Gates of Fantasy website I’ve reviewed the new novel by James Brogden, Hekla’sChildren:

Quite simply, I fell in love with this novel almost instantly. I admit some may think I’m somewhat biased: I’ve known James Brogden for many years and have included some of his short stories in the magazines I edited for the British Fantasy Society, as well as publishing a collection of his finely crafted short stories (Evocations, The Alchemy Press). However, and trust me in this, if I hadn’t enjoyed Hekla’s Children I wouldn’t have read it so quickly and thus you wouldn’t be reading this review.

Pop over to Piper to read the full review and then buy, read and savour this fabulous novel.

 

Dramatis Personae

Many novels, particularly the lengthier multi-volumes in the fantasy field, are packed with characters, some major, some minor, others appearing so intermittently that they can be easily forgotten. Many readers will remember a full cast list with no problem; or they simply go with the flow and, especially with a well-written story that has an engaging narrative, hardly ever need to check the list of characters, or dramatis personae . Nevertheless, having something that can be referred to when you’re unsure just who is who can be invaluable. Think Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones and you can see what I mean. Or you may be reading mainstream or crime or any other genre: the arguments for the dramatis personae may still apply.

You can read the full essay over on the Penkhull Press website. Don’t forget when you do: these are guidelines, not rules.