Book Reviews, Non-fiction, Short Stories

Transgressive poetry in Yuri Kageyama’s the New and Selected Yuri (2011)

Why hadn’t I heard of Yuri Kageyama before? She’s been quietly publishing poetry, essays, and short stories for over 30 years. Her style ranges between transgressive and journalistic, channeling similar frustrations as writers like Kathy Acker, but with a style devoid of flourish or absurdity. She’s published in journals and magazines, and had her one and only poetry collection, Peeling, published by her close friend and fellow author, Ishmael Reed, in 1988. The New and Selected Yuri, published in 2011, contains 41 short works of poetry and prose dating from 1978 to 2011. It contains short stories, essays, anecdotes, conversations, cultural explanations, and a wealth of poems.

Continue reading “Transgressive poetry in Yuri Kageyama’s the New and Selected Yuri (2011)”

Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Short Stories

Neil Gaiman’s the Sandman: Endless Nights (2003)

Like Gaiman’s other short story collections, Endless Nights has its share of ups and downs. Each of its seven stories are quick snapshots into the Endless’ everyday, and each one sticks around just long enough to give some insight into individual personalities. Some are connected, most aren’t. Some aren’t even stories, but descriptions, ideas, atmospheres. It’s a nice idea, but certain members of the Endless aren’t exactly known for their character, and some of these stories subsequently don’t do much to change that.

Continue reading “Neil Gaiman’s the Sandman: Endless Nights (2003)”

Book Reviews, Short Stories, YA

Russell Hoban’s OOP treasures: Nothing to Do (1964) and the Story of Hester Mouse Who Became a Writer (1965)

Nothing to Do

Nothing to Do (1964) is essentially a forgotten volume of Hoban’s famous Frances Badger series. The only differences are that the hero is a possum instead of a badger, and then-spouse Lilian Hoban’s artwork never got the same color treatment here as with the Frances series.

Walter Possum is bored out of his mind, and typical of kids, he’s taking that boredom out on everyone around him in benign, annoying ways. His pops passes on a method to combat boredom whenever it rears its ugly head in Walter’s life. Walter gets a something-to-do stone to keep in his pocket, always. Whenever he finds himself with nothing to do, all he needs to do is rub the smoothed stone he carries, and ~something to do~ will soon come to him from his environment.

Continue reading “Russell Hoban’s OOP treasures: Nothing to Do (1964) and the Story of Hester Mouse Who Became a Writer (1965)”

Book Reviews, Short Stories, Video Games

Game Write: Sheldon J. Pacotti’s Experiments in Belief (2013)

Game Write is a recurring series dedicated to the fiction of game industry veterans. From the best-selling titles of Drew Karpyshyn and Austin Grossman, to the obscure classics of Jane Jensen and Sheldon Pacotti, this series hopes to unearth both the gems and the trash we tend to leave buried in the credits. In this entry, we look at Sheldon Pacotti’s short story collection, Experiments in Belief — featuring a variety of science fiction stories written throughout the ’90s on the complex interplay of science, ethics, religion, and politics.

Continue reading “Game Write: Sheldon J. Pacotti’s Experiments in Belief (2013)”

Book Reviews, Short Stories

Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, vol. I (1984) — a silly collection of angry misogyny, cool ideas, and purple prose

It’s easy to see the quality horror fans attribute to Barker’s early work. He’s an excellent writer, and his ideas are jaw-droppingly creative and original, at times.

Personally, however, I don’t connect much with it. After a couple of his books, it’s hard to put my finger on why. Part of it, I think, is I find his prose too clinical and passive, his use of uncommon words and phrases too hand-me-that-Thesaurus. Some of his stories are affected by personal pathos, too. There’re no interesting or realistic female characters in any of his early stories that I’ve read, for example: They all amount to being described as worthless whores not just by characters, but by the omniscient narration itself. Their only personality traits are being dumb and craving sex with everything. (Granted, in a lot of Barker stories, you’ll find all anyone craves is sexual depravity, but at least one gender is granted a will.)

Continue reading “Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, vol. I (1984) — a silly collection of angry misogyny, cool ideas, and purple prose”