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By robert eggleton
Following is the most recent review published on the named blog (reprinted by permission).
A Universe On the Edge RARITY FROM THE HOLLOW. Robert Eggleton. Doghorn Publishing. Published 2012.
Lacy Dawn is a little girl who lives in a magical forest where all the trees love her and she has a space alien friend who adores her and wants to make her queen of the universe. What’s more, all the boys admire her for her beauty and brains. Mommy is very beautiful and Daddy is very smart, and Daddy’s boss loves them all.
Lacy Dawn, the eleven year old protagonist, perches precariously between the psychosis of childhood and the multiple neuroses of adolescence, buffeted by powerful gusts of budding sexuality and infused with a yearning to escape the grim and brutal life of a rural Appalachian existence. In this world, Daddy is a drunk with severe PTSD, and Mommy is an insecure wraith. The boss is a dodgy lecher, not above leering at the flat chest of an eleven-year-old girl.
Yes, all in one book.
Rarity From The Hollow is written in a simple declarative style that’s well- suited to the imaginary diary of a desperate but intelligent eleven-year-old – the story bumping joyfully between the extraordinary and the banal.
The central planet of the universe is a vast shopping mall, and Lacy Dawn must save her world from a menace that arrives in the form of a cockroach infestation. Look again and the space alien has made Daddy smart and happy – or at least an eleven year old girl’s notion of what a smart and happy man should be. He has also made Mommy beautiful, giving her false teeth and getting the food stamp lady off her back.
About the only thing in the book that is believable is the nature of the narrative voice, and it is utterly compelling. You find yourself convinced that “Hollow” was written as a diary-based autobiography by a young girl and the banal stems from the limits of her environment, the extraordinary from her megalomania. And that’s what gives Rarity From The Hollow a chilling, engaging verisimilitude that deftly feeds on both the utter absurdity of the characters’ motivations and on the progression of the plot.
Indeed, there are moments of utter darkness: In one sequence, Lacy Dawn remarks matter-of-factly that a classmate was whipped to death, and notes that the assailant, the girl’s father, had to change his underpants afterward because they were soiled with semen. Odd, and often chilling notes, abound.
As I was reading it, I remembered when I first read Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle” at the age of 14. A veteran of Swift, Heller, and Frederick Brown, I understood absurdist humour in satire, but Vonnegut took that understanding and turned it on its ear.
In the spirit of Vonnegut, Eggleton (a psychotherapist focused on the adolescent patient) takes the genre and gives it another quarter turn. A lot of people hated Vonnegut, saying he didn’t know the rules of good writing. But that wasn’t true. Vonnegut knew the rules quite well, he just chose to ignore them, and that is what is happening in Eggleton’s novel, as well.
Not everyone will like Rarity From The Hollow. Nonetheless, it should not be ignored.
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
After enjoying a mini-group read of Dracula here on BGO I saw this Bram Stoker book described as ‘The Mother of all Mummy Stories’ and thought it worth trying. It turned out to be strange and rather hard going.
An Egyptologist raids the tomb of an ancient Egyptian Queen, Tera, who may have reigned as a man and a woman and possibly practised black magic. He brings most of the contents including the Mummy, a mummified cat and a fabulous jewel back to England and has them arrayed around his bedroom. He leaves a list of instructions to be carried out, in the event of anything happening to him. Naturally, something does happen to him and it is up to his daughter, her young barrister admirer, father’s old friend and the local doctor to sort things out. Cast list sound familiar, Victorian novel readers?
The story is told in first person narrative by the barrister. The other characters are not really described in any depth and it takes a long time to reach any action. First, the tale of the Egyptian adventures are trawled through, later we are lectured on hieroglyphics, which without illustration is impossible to comprehend, and a strange theory about different light is expounded.
The version I read had a vaguely disturbing ending so I looked for more information and discovered that Bram Stoker had originally written a different ending and had been asked to change it later by the publishers so I read the original version as well.
I wouldn’t recommend buying it, but both versions are available here free.
Note to mods - this was published in 1903 but may fit better in pre-1900 where Dracula is discussed. Please change if necessary.
Forgotten Tomb Press is proud to announce its first anthology release. One hundred stories have been assembled here from some of the world’s finest storytellers of the macabre, including:
Michael Bailey - finalist for the Independent Publisher Awards and listed for the National Best Book Awards for horror fiction. Was a finalist for the International Book Awards, and received the Kirkus Star, awarded to books of remarkable merit. Won the International Book Award for short fiction, as well as the USA Book News "Best Books" Award. He also recently edited Chiral Mad, a multi-award nominated anthology with stories by Jack Ketchum, Gary A. Braunbeck, Jeff Strand, Gene O’Neill, Gord Rollo, and many others.
Eric J Guignard - with over fifty publishing credits for stories and articles in magazines, journals, and anthologies, he’s a member of the Horror Writer’s Association, the Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society, and is also the Horror Genre Correspondent for Men’s Confidence Magazine. His book Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award, as well as his new release, After Death.
Marge Simon - her works have appeared in publications such as Strange Horizons, Niteblade, DailySF Magazine, Pedestal Magazine, Dreams & Nightmares. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter and serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees. She has won the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award, the Bram Stoker Award™, the Rhysling Award and the Dwarf Stars Award. Collections: Like Birds in the Rain, Unearthly Delights, The Mad Hattery, Vampires, Zombies & Wanton Souls, and Dangerous Dreams.
Adam Millard - author of thirteen novels and more than a hundred short stories, which can be found in various collections and anthologies. Probably best known for his post-apocalyptic fiction, Adam also writes fantasy/horror for children. His "Dead" series has recently been the filling in a Stephen King/Bram Stoker sandwich on Amazon’s bestsellers chart.
Shaun Meeks - universally acclaimed emerging author and member of the HWA, his most recent work has appeared in Dark Eclipse, Zippered Flesh 2, Shadow Masters, The Horror Zine Fall 2013, Dark Light 3 and Fresh Fear, as well as his own collections, At the Gates of Madness and Brother's Ilk (with James Meeks).
T Fox Dunham - author and historian who has been published in nearly 200 international journals and anthologies. His first novel, The Street Martyr, will be published by Out of the Gutter Books, followed up by Searching for Andy Kaufman from PMMP in 2014.
Ken Goldman - affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association whose stories have appeared in over 675 independent press publications in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Australia with over thirty due for publication in 2013. Since 1993 Ken's tales have received seven honorable mentions in The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror.
Christine Verstraete - award-winning author of GIRL Z: My Life As A Teenage Zombie, she was just recently named the 2013 Young Adult winner by the Halloween Book Festival.
Excerpt from a review of 100 Doors To Madness by Dave Granger: "This is a big book. 100 stories are packed into this one and I am surprised at how amazing they were."
100 Doors To Madness @ Amazon UK
100 Doors To Madness @ Amazon US
The full lineup includes stories from Eric J Guignard, Marge Simon, Michael Bailey, T Fox Dunham, Shaun Meeks, Adam Millard, James S Dorr, SJI Holliday, Ken Goldman, Christina Murphy, Michael Thomas-Knight, Carl Barker, Pete Aldin, Tim Jeffreys, Michael R Colangelo, Tim Tobin, Kerry GS Lipp, Matthew Wilson, Matthew Antonio, Bosley Gravel, Dave Dormer, Shaun Avery, Ivan Ewert, JJ Steinfeld, Noel Osualdini, Megan Dorei, NM Haupt, Ed Ahern, William van Winkle, Orion D Hegre, Carly Berg, Patrick Meegan, Rayna Bright, TC Bennett, Janelle A Belle, Ranee Stemann, Timothy McGivney, Olivia Arieti, Gary Hewitt, Bruce Harris, Victoria Dalpe, Amy Severson, Mark Antoni Rossi, Matthew R Davis, Sean May, James Croal Jackson, Glen Damien Campbell, Terence Kuch, Helen Mihajlovic, Carrie Martin, Scathe meic Beorh, David Perlmutter, Matt Hlinak, Ray Yanek, John Haas, J Whitworth Hazzard, Greg Burch, Chris White, Christine Verstraete, Greg McWhorter, Douglas Vance Castagna, Layla Cummins, Jenean McBrearty, Wednesday Silverwood, Joseph J Patchen, Steven Grassie, Lewis R Humphries, Jennifer Jones, Trevor Firetog, Mari Wells, Merideth Grue, Kathy Ferrell, Emilia Murther, Miranda Kate, CC Adams, Dirky Henkel, John Kujawski, Lisa Finch, Godfrey Dupond, Amy Langevin, Joseph Rubas, DL Smith-Lee, Francesca Muller, Rebecca Morne, Jay Long, Mathias Jansson, HH Munro, Guy de Maupassant, and more.