Once a Hero

by Michael A. Stackpole Bantam, pb, 513 pages, $5.99 ISBN: 0-553-56112-X I have got to start reading cover blurbs again. I’d started pretty much ignoring them, but if I’d read the back cover more closely, the words of some anonymous publicity department copywriter would have warned me that this novel...

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Black Thorn, White Rose

edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling Avonova/Morrow, hc, 386 pages, $22.00 ISBN: 0-688-13713-X Fairy tales are rich ground for dark fantasy, for they spring up at the intersection of the mind where fantasy and horror commingle. Despite the continuing bowdlerization of folk and fairy tales by folk both well-meaning...

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Deadweight

by Robert Devereaux Dell Abyss, pb, 353 pages, $4.99 ISBN: 0-440-21482-3 I could not finish this book, even though I spent three months trying. The problem wasn’t with the quality of the novel–Devereaux’s prose style is strong, and his characterizations are terrific. But for the first time in years, I...

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Strong Spirits

by Elisa DeCarlo AvoNova, pb, 151 pages, $4.50 ISBN: 0-380-77405-4 Elisa DeCarlo’s second novel is a pleasant little romp, short and predictable, but nevertheless fun. A ghost story set in England between the World Wars, Strong Spirits is a prequel to DeCarlo’s first novel, The Devil You Say. DeCarlo’s theatrical...

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Gun, With Occasional Music

by Jonathan Lethem Harcourt Brace & Company, hc, 212 pages, $19.95 ISBN: 0-151-36458-3 First novels aren’t supposed to be like this. Jonathan Lethem’s dark science fictional hard-boiled detective comedy blithely combines genres and metaphors, remarkably doing justice to all of...

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Lost in Booth Nine

by Adam-Troy Castro Silver Salamander Press, tpb, 208 pages, $10.00 ISBN: none Adam-Troy Castro has a knack for making the most bizarre characters believable. Many of his macabre creations actually are real, drawn from his alternate-identity as a collection agent for a firm whose products seem to attract some of...

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The Glass Mountain

by Leonard Wolf The Overlook Press, hc, 243 pages, $19.95 ISBN: 0-879-51498-1 Leonard Wolf is known to genre readers largely for his nonfiction–annotated editions of Frankenstein and Dracula, A Connoisseur’s Guide to Horror, and so on–but he is also a fine translator and writer of literary fiction and poetry. The...

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Metal Angel

by Nancy Springer Roc Books, pb, 316 pages, $4.99 ISBN: 0-451-45330-1 After reading Nancy Springer’s other new book, Larque on the Wing (see Horror #2 for review), I had to read Metal Angel, which shares many of Larque’s themes; both books are strongly oriented around gender and family issues. It’s...

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Better in the Dark

by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro Tor Books, hb, 412 pages, $23.95 ISBN: 0-312-85504-4 or 0-312-85978-3 In the medieval and early-modern traditions of storytelling, what counted was not the originality of a story, but the skill with which it was told. Audiences disliked the unfamiliar, and a story that was not connected...

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Larque on the Wing

by Nancy Springer Avon, hb, 277 pages, $20.00 ISBN: 0-688-13175-1 Nancy Springer’s Larque on the Wing is another novel with a wonderful ending. In fact, this book is one of the least predictable fantasy novels that I have read in years, a matter-of-fact assault on conventional assumptions about sex, gender,...

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