Agony Column Home
Agony Column Review Archive

This Just In....News from The Agony Column

01-16-03: Buying What the Readers Suggest, The Last McGarr by Bartholemew Gill, Signing at Legends


Buying What the Readers Suggest

This novel had attracted my attention with a JK Potter-like cover and good press from Ziesing.

Why you should write a column on books you like #1: People will tell you what books they like, and you get more input for your inbox.

Quite a while back, one of my readers wrote me and suggested that I would like 'The Muse Asylum' by David Czuchlewski. So today, at Bookshop Santa Cruz, doing a periodic bit of shopping at the local bookseller, I bought it when it showed up at the affordable price of $3.98. Another reader wrote me and suggested that Sebastian Faulks 'Birdsong' was a fantastically well-written and moving novel, the kind you read that makes the genre fiction seem pale and thin. So, having found it use in perfect condition, I snapped it up as well. Look for reviews in the foreseeable future.

The Last McGarr by Bartholemew Gill

Here's the last McGarr novel by Bartholomew Gill.

I also picked up the latest Bartholomew Gill novel. It's the last McGarr novel. The wife likes these and tells me that dire things were afoot in the previous novel. It's interesting when an author actually ends an open-ended series like this. I'll report her findings.

Signing at Legends

Ray Shannon's Man Eater is a Hollowood joy ride a la 'Get Shorty'.

Helen Knode's novel is another LA Story. I'm guessing it could be easily adapted into a very in-joke movie.

Helen Knode and Ray Shannon are signing at Legends Saturday Jan 25 @ 7:00 pm. If you know this bookstore, you might want to take a peek. Michael DeSarro usually has a pretty good eye. If you're a mystery buff, you might want to get on his mailing list.

01-15-03: New Edition of 'Daimonic Reality' to Become Reality, CD Publications Sale, Column Notes, New S. M. Stirling, New Reviewer Serena Trowbridge


New Reviewer Serena Trowbridge

Today I'm debuting the reviews of Serena Trowbridge, of Birmingham UK. She'll bring a fresh perspective here, more content and a different selection to The Agony Column. I hope to be able to continue to use her fine work. Her first review is of Ruth Rendell's 'Adam and Eve and Pinch Me'. She's made me interested in the work. One thing I hope to do is to have dual reviews of some books to give readers the widest spread of point-of-view. Email me and let me know what you think!

Column Notes

Returning to surface after my fabulous Spookycon vacation, I've got a lot of 'splainin' to do. Spookycon turned out to be very nice in an unexpected fashion, more than just a literary success -- and with Campbell, Brite, Faust, Alexander, Cooper, Clark, and others how could it be anything else? For me at least, it's going to result in a column, which I'll start directly after today's update. I've got four, count them, four interviews poised to post to the site -- Robert Jordan, Ramsey Campbell, Simon Clark and Poppy Z. Brite. I spent the day yesterday tussling with computers, including the one I brought to the convention, a four or five year old blueberry iMac that wouldn't start up the next day. You can imagine my thrill level.

When I wasn't tussling with the iMac, I was wrestling with the original desktop G3, pulling in the audio from the various interviews. You're advised to consult Lenny Bruce for language I used when I found that after an hour or so of processing and loading, the damn thing had crashed, locked up during the last five minutes of writing out the Ramsey Campbell AIF file. At least all this stuff was on tape, which for the moment, does not appear to 'crash'. I'm sure someone will invent a form of data tape that can crash, though. There's still a bit of editing to do, so expect the interviews to go up over the next few days.

Later today, I'm hoping to announce a welcome surprise for the readers.

New Edition of 'Daimonic Reality' to Become Reality

While I liked the old cover for 'Daimonic Reality', the new one will do just fine. Thanks to Tom Blaschko, at Pine Winds / Idyll Arbor Publishing for bringing this title back into print.

When I posted a column on my favorite forteans, one of the foremost books I mentioned was Patrick Harpur's 'Daimonic Reality'. Alas, even as I wrote the column and whetted appetites for the book, it was thoroughly out of print. My readers wrote me to complain. Soon after, Tom Blaschko, a reader in the Foreteana List, wrote me to tell me that he was going to bring it back into print. They're selling it directly, so you can buy it directly from them and help ensure that more good titles will come into print. He's even soliciting suggestions. Here's the email he sent me:

"Hi Rick,

I promised to let you know when we got our version of Daimonic Reality out. It's at the printers now and we expect to begin shipping about February 15.

Here are the specifications for the new edition:

Pine Winds / Idyll Arbor Hardcover

ISBN 0-937663-09-3

Publication Date: 01-30-2003

331 + XIX Pages; $28.00

It's available for prerelease ordering on *.com. If you wouldn't mind including it, here's our location for ordering.

We still do retail sales and the extra money will help us publish more books like Daimonic Reality (something that would please me a great deal.). If you know about any books that deserve a new edition or any authors with books that deserve to be published, please let me know. If this book sells, we will be looking for more.

Tom Blaschko

Pine Winds / Idyll Arbor"

Don't go to *.com, but the link above. You want to help this publisher as much as possible. Send him your own suggestions -- there's an email link on the page to do so.

Tom, can you have J. K. Potter illustrate some new editions of Keel's classics, or Ivan T. Sanderson's?

CD Publications Sale

Why should you subscribe to Cemetery Dance? Not just because they're running my interview with Phil Rickman, though that reason will do in a pinch. You should subscribe to them because for 15 years, they've brought you the best in small press horror and they've survived where others have fallen by the wayside.

The cover appeals and the blurb repels. Is it just my imagination, running away with me? But CD's latest catalogue has lots of must-buy stuff in it.

Their latest mailing announces three new titles -- John Pelan's 'The Century's Best Horror Fiction', 'Death's Door', by Michael Slade and a 15 year anniversary volume. You also get Al Sarrantonio and Edward Lee. I like Al's work, and though some of my booksellers might like to think that Edward Lee is my cup of tea, I've actually never read his work. This new title seems to be a bit more monsterific than other titles I've seen -- it's called 'Monstrosity' and the cover art looks to feature a monster, but we still get the old "lurid dreams, erotic obsessions and twisted sexual fantasies". In the fullness of time, I might get round to Mr. Lee, but at the moment, I have too many books in my queue. Such is life.

Oh, the sale? Sorry, that's for subscribers only. It's a buy one, get one free sale, and the 'get one free' selection includes some pretty sweet titles by name-brand authors -- Laymon, Garton, Clark, Shirley, Golden. Don't mean to be a jerk about this. I got a lifetime subscription eons ago, and it's proving to be amongst the best reading money I've spent.

In the final analysis, you should subscribe to read ME. Isn't it all about me?

New S. M. Stirling

How's this for service? As I was writing the news, this title appeared on my doorstep, causing the dog to bark. For once, she was not just barking at Evil, which she does on a regular basis. No, she was barking at UPS, which delivered a box full of books including the 'I must show you this title' book 'Conquistador' by S. M. Stirling.

The cover of S. M. Stirling's latest novel of alternate history.

Look, what you've got here is the old portal between worlds novel, which at first failed to thrill me, until I read about Aztec priests wearing Grateful Dead t-shirts. This is some very wild stuff, and looks to be as enjoyable as the short story I read from 'Worlds That Weren't'. Stirling has a sense of humor about all this, which really really saves the day.