The End of the End of Everything April 23, 2014 The End of the End of Everything Dale Bailey How do you face ruin? Cold Wind April 16, 2014 Cold Wind Nicola Griffith Old ways can outlast their usefulness. What Mario Scietto Says April 15, 2014 What Mario Scietto Says Emmy Laybourne An original Monument 14 story. Something Going Around April 9, 2014 Something Going Around Harry Turtledove A tale of love and parasites.
From The Blog
April 19, 2014
Announcing the 2014 Hugo Award Nominees
April 18, 2014
Wings Gleaming Like Beaten Bronze: Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky Trilogy
Liz Bourke
April 17, 2014
Gaming Roundup: PAX East Edition
Pritpaul Bains and Theresa DeLucci
April 16, 2014
Victorian-era Magical Societies, Telepathy, and Interplanetary Space Travel
Felix Gilman
April 13, 2014
Game of Thrones, Season 4, Episode 2: “The Lion and the Rose”
Theresa DeLucci
Showing posts by: Grady Hendrix click to see Grady Hendrix's profile
Mar 18 2014 10:00am

Jodorowsky's Dune reviewThere has never been an unmade movie more influential than Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune. It’s the seed from which most modern cinematic science fiction sprung, and now you can soak in its surreal splendor with Jodorowsky’s Dune, Frank Pavich’s documentary about the greatest science fiction movie never made.

Watching this doc is like snorting anti-freeze: a thrilling rush that leaves you exhilarated, then depressed. Exhilarated because unless you are a soulless husk, Jodorowsky’s passion of film, for science fiction, and for life, will infect you like a super-virus. Depressed, because if this movie had been made it would have changed the history of science fiction, of movies and, if Jodorowsky had his way, the world.

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Dec 26 2013 12:00pm

Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You My Lad James McBryde MR James

As winter creeps up behind you and wraps its icy fingers around your throat, what better time for ghost stories? Haunted Holidays has covered Charles Dickens (ground zero for both Christmas and Christmas ghost stories), occult detectives, and forgotten female writers.

This week, in the interest of gender parity, we’re focusing on the men. And not just any men, but manly men who encountered ghosts that smell like Old Spice while adventuring in India, riding manly railroads, hunting tiny animals and blasting them to bits, or while camping in the ghost-infested wilds of Canada. These are stories about punching ghosts! Wrestling with ghosts! And, like all macho men, they are terrified of intimacy. M.R. James…this is your life!

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Dec 22 2013 1:00pm

Vernon Lee

Nothing says winter better than a Victorian ghost story, and I’ve already covered A Christmas Carol and The Haunted House by Charles Dickens, and the awful world of occult detectives. The most natural author to write next about would be Henry James, one of the 19th century’s major literary dudes, and the writer of classic, delicately shaded ghost stories.

But that would ignore the legion of 19th century women who wrote for a living, their stories filling the pages of periodicals, their sensation novels jamming the shelves. They were an army of society hobbyists, sole breadwinners, explorers, gossip-magnets, spiritualists, suffragettes, Egyptologists, adventurers, sanctimonious prudes, and salacious scandal-mongers. Whether their names have receded from the limelight because they were pushed by the patriarchy, or due to lack of timeless talent, it’s impossible to know, but one thing is clear: we’ve lost a large chunk of our literary legacy by letting their books fade into the background, because many are as entertaining, if not more so, than their male counterparts.

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Dec 18 2013 1:00pm

Winter is a time for ghost stories, so last week I started at ground zero for the Christmas ghost story (Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and The Haunted House). This week I’m going pro. In the wake of Sherlock Holmes’s massive success the world was so overrun by lady detectives, French detectives, Canadian lumberjack detectives, sexy gypsy detectives, priest detectives, and doctor detectives that there was a shortage of things to detect. Why not ghosts?

And thus was spawned the occult detective who detected ghost pigs, ghost monkeys, ghost ponies, ghost dogs, ghost cats and, for some strange reason, mummies. Lots and lots of mummies. Besides sporting ostentatiously grown-up names that sound like they were randomly generated by small boys wearing thick glasses (Dr. Silence, Mr. Perseus, Moris Klaw, Simon Iff, Xavier Wycherly) these occult detectives all had one thing in common: they were completely terrible at detecting.

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Dec 11 2013 12:30pm

The Haunted House Charles DickensShakespeare talks about it, Andy Williams talks about it, even Washington Irving talks about it, so let’s admit it, ghost stories are winter’s tales. Although Hanukah has a touch of the supernatural about it, Christmas, which is pretty much a non-supernatural event in the Gospels (except for the whole star business) has somehow become the province of ghosts.

As Jerome K. Jerome said, “It is always Christmas Eve, in a ghost story.” Henry James’ Turn of the Screw is set at Christmas, as is Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, and the master of the form, M.R. James, always took a break from wrestling with the boys to tell his ghost stories at Christmas. But the man who made the Christmas ghost story literary is Charles Dickens, whose most famous work, A Christmas Carol, was one of the first great disasters in self-publishing, the novella that pretty much invented modern Christmas, and a sneaky protest book disguised as a dose of good cheer.

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Nov 27 2013 1:00pm

The Great Stephen King Reread comes to a momentary conclusion. At this point, I’ve learned one thing: Stephen King writes. A lot. I’ve read 17 novels, 3 short story collections, and 2 collections of novellas totaling 10,658 pages written between 1974 and 1993. That puts me a little less than halfway through his bibliography, with 19 novels and 4 collections left to go, and that’s not even touching his eight-book Dark Tower series.

It’s an overwhelming amount of words and I wonder if I’ll learn anything new from the back half of his bibliography that I haven’t already learned from the front? Because, while the first 10 books of the re-read were interesting, these last 10 have been intense. Rarely does an author allow himself to fall apart in front of his readership like this.


Nov 20 2013 3:00pm

Stephen King Nightmares and DreamscapesStephen King is a universe, and I don’t just mean that he contains multitudes or that his bibliography is really big. He is a universe in the sense that he operates under his own physical laws. Two of the underlying forces that underpin his existence are described in his introduction to Nightmares and Dreamscapes, his third collection of short stories.

One force is his desire to sprawl, his tendency towards what he calls generosity. “The leap of faith necessary to make the short stories happen,” he writes, “has gotten particularly tough in the last few years; these days it seems that everything wants to be a novel, and every novel wants to be approximately four thousand pages long.” The opposing force is his desire to please the reader by presenting only his best material when it would be so easy to coast or to repeat himself. “What I’ve tried hardest to do is to steer clear of the old chestnuts, the trunk stories, and the bottom-of-the-drawer stuff,” he writes two pages later. These two forces pull him in opposite directions, and the result is, as he describes it, “an uneven Aladdin’s cave of a book.” With the emphasis on “uneven.”

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Nov 13 2013 3:00pm

Stephen King Dolores Claiborne

What did you ask, Andy Bissette? Do I ‘understand these rights as you’ve explained em to me’? Gorry! What makes some men so numb? No you never mind—still your jawin and listen to me for awhile. I got an idear you’re gonna be listenin to me most of the night, so you might as well get used to it. Coss I understand what you read to me! Do I look like I lost all m’brains since I seen you down to the market? I told you your wife would give you merry hell about buying that day-old bread—penny wise and pound foolish, the old saying is—and I bet I was right, wasn’t I?”

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Dolores Claiborne, Stephen King’s 305 page novel. Written in dialect.

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Nov 6 2013 3:00pm

Gerald's Game Stephen KingBy 1992, Stephen King was getting slippery. After his publishers spent a lot of time and money reassuring readers that Stephen King was, indeed, “The Master of Horror” with Four Past Midnight and Needful Things, King flipped the script and delivered two books in 1992 that were about girls. Not just girls, but girls who didn’t do anything particularly horrifying.

Gerald’s Game (May, 1992) and Dolores Claiborne (November, 1992) were about the development of feminist consciousness, the crimes of the patriarchy, incest, and domestic abuse. That’s a far cry from possessed cars, rabid dogs, and daddies with roque mallets chasing their kids down hotel hallways. But despite their ambitions, both books stand as a testament to what might have been if King had only been a little bit more ambitious. If he had just reached a little further, these two books could have been his masterpiece.

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Oct 30 2013 12:00pm

Stephen King Needful ThingsSometimes a writer tries to do something, and it just doesn’t work. At all. Needful Things was Stephen King’s attempt to write “The Last Castle Rock Story” and bring his invented town, which served as the setting for several of his books, to an end. Only it wasn’t the last Castle Rock story, because the fictional burg later appeared in Bag of Bones, Lisey’s Story, Under the Dome, and numerous short stories.

It also wasn’t supposed to be a horror novel. King wanted to write a comedy about the Eighties and figured that Needful Things would be his stab at satire. That was a great idea, only no one told the marketing department and they sold it as a horror book with nary a mention of satirical intent. The critics blasted it, and while it seems strange to call a book that sold over 1.5 million copies a failure, it’s the only Stephen King book in years not to reach #1 on the hardback or paperback New York Times bestseller lists. Today it’s not held in very high regard. And there’s a good reason for that. Because all other problems aside, it’s not a very good book.

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Oct 25 2013 10:00am

Edward Goret John BellairsThere’s a particular kind of nostalgia that smells like burning autumn leaves on an overcast day. It sounds like a static-filled radio station playing Brylcreem advertisements in the other room. It feels like a scratchy wool blanket. It looks like a wood-paneled library stuffed with leather-bound books.

This is the flavor of occult nostalgia conjured up by author John Bellairs and his illustrator, Edward Gorey, in their middle grade gothic New Zebedee books featuring low-key poker-playing wizards, portents of the apocalypse, gloomy weather, and some of the most complicated names this side of the list of ingredients on a packet of Twinkies.

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Oct 23 2013 10:00am

Stephen King Four Past MidnightIn the foreword to Four Past Midnight, Stephen King compares it to his previous collection of four novellas, 1982’s Different Seasons, and writes, “The book you are holding is quite different from the earlier book.” That’s an understatement. Different Seasons was a breakthrough for King, containing two of his best-loved stories, “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” and “The Body,“ which became two of his best-loved movies, The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me. King published Different Seasons against the objections of his editor, but it proved that he could write more than “just” horror, and it laid the foundation on which his later reputation (and National Book Award) rests. Four Past Midnight is the Bizarro World version of Different Seasons. Rather than staking out new territory, King tries to recapture his past. The result feels like reheated leftovers.

Different Seasons is steak. Four Past Midnight is SPAM.

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Oct 21 2013 4:00pm

Kimberly Peirce, director of the Carrie remake that opened this weekend, accomplishes something remarkable with this film. Based on the 1973 Stephen King novel, Carrie has been filmed several times before, most notably Brian De Palma’s now-classic, Academy Award-nominated 1976 version starring Sissy Spacek. But it also spawned a cheesy sequel, Carrie 2: The Rage (1999), a failed made-for-TV remake that was supposed to lead into a television series, and a famously disastrous 1988 musical.

It’s hardly auspicious company, but Kimberly Peirce (director of the acclaimed Boys Don’t Cry and Stop-Loss) fearlessly took on the task and she has contributed her own unmistakable achievement to the annals of Carrie-dom: she manages to make a 99-minute movie feel like a 499-minute movie. If only we could reverse this formula we’d have faster than light travel.

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Oct 16 2013 2:00pm

Stephen King The Dark HalfWhen someone decides to sober up, they often eliminate people from their lives who stuck with them through their drunk years. It’s a cruel, necessary housecleaning and one Stephen King embarked on between 1988 and 1989, the year he finally stopped drinking (snorting coke, swilling mouthwash, popping pills). First, King fired his longtime agent, Kirby McCauley, the man who put together the ground-breaking deals that made him rich. Next, he abandoned his longtime editor, Alan Williams, whom he’d followed to Putnam (for The Tommyknockers) and returned to his regular publisher, Viking. Then he stepped back and let his vanity project, hard rock radio station WZON, go from his preferred rock n’roll format to a more conventional, noncommercial public radio station format. Then he stopped publication of his popular Castle Rock fan newsletter.

But there was one person he couldn't get rid of without a fight, his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. The more King tried to lay this ghost to rest, the more Bachman struggled, and the result is one of his most mystical and violent books. It’s deeply uneven, but The Dark Half is like a rough draft for his nonfiction memoir, On Writing. Only more people get beaten to death with prosthetic arms.

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Oct 9 2013 10:00am

Stephen King The TommyknockersIn AA-speak, we’ve hit bottom. The Tommyknockers is a book so universally dismissed that even I was dreading re-reading it. Word on the street is that it’s flabby, over-indulgent, the product of too much booze, too much coke, and too little editing. But dismiss The Tommyknockers at your peril. The third-best-selling book of the 1980s, it is a transcendental visionary experience.

Only The Shining has accidentally caught lightning in a bottle the way The Tommyknockers does. It’s as if King was locked in his study/sweat lodge drawing pentagrams in cocaine, drinking magic potions made of Budweiser, and automatic typing himself into a hallucinatory state. In The Tommyknockers he’s possessed by the spirit of the Great God Lovecraft—the doors of perception open, the veil parts, and the workings of the universe are revealed.

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Oct 2 2013 2:00pm

Stephen King MiseryThe second-to-the-last in Stephen King’s big wave of late-80’s blockbusters, Misery came out right after his longest and most ambitious book (It) and right before one of his longest and generally considered most worthless (The Tommyknockers).

At only 320 pages it’s practically a short story for King, and it’s a deeply situational novel, one of his ticking clock thrillers like Thinner or Cujo, but the setting and cast have been greatly reduced. Now it’s two people, and one room. And it pissed off pretty much all of his fans who thought it finally revealed King’s contempt for them. Which is a strange way for them to react because if Misery is anything, it’s a love story.

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Oct 2 2013 10:00am

Stephen King Doctor Sleep STEPHEN KING: I am going to write a book.


STEPHEN KING: It will be a sequel to The Shining, and Carrie will be in it.

PUBLISHER: But HawtRoland1208 already did that on

STEPHEN KING: It will have vampires.

PUBLISHER: Vampires are sexy.

STEPHEN KING: My vampires will be old and drive R/Vs and torture children to death.

PUBLISHER: You look tired. Are you tired? Maybe you should skip the book and take a beach vacation instead.

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Sep 25 2013 9:30am

Stephen King ItThis is the big one, folks. Stephen King’s un-Google-able book, It, took four years to write, and It remains his biggest book weighing in at a hefty four pounds. It’s his most ambitious book, one of his most popular, and, just as The Stand represented a breaking point between Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot, and The Shining and the next phase of his career, It represents a summary of all that has come before, an attempt to flush out his old interests and move forward.

If The Stand brought an end to the books he wrote before he was famous, then It represents an end of the books he conceived of or wrote in the first flush of his fame, and the beginning of a stage in his career when he had nothing more to prove. Flawed, strange, by turns boring and shocking, It is one of King’s most frustrating and perplexing books. It’s also his saddest.

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Sep 18 2013 11:00am

Stephen King short stories Skeleton CrewIt’s hard to imagine how huge Stephen King was in 1985. Featured on the cover of Time magazine, with four books simultaneously hitting the New York Times bestseller list, two new books on the stands in hardcover, one new paperback, and two movies (one of them considered his best, one of them considered his worst) going into production, this was a Godzilla-sized career in motion.

The writer at the center of it all was, by his own accounts, a Godzilla-sized addict, too, hoovering up monstrous amounts of cocaine and sucking down gallons of beer every night. In the middle of this mega-mayhem, Stephen King published Skeleton Crew, a book of short stories. The one bit of wisdom everyone in publishing agrees on is that short story collections don’t sell, but Skeleton Crew sold a monster-sized 600,000 copies in its first year, which is only appropriate because this is a book all about monsters.

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Sep 17 2013 2:30pm

In what must be one of the most disappointing finales in television history, season one of Under the Dome sputtered to an end last night with all the drama, satisfaction, and excitement of someone unplugging a television set in the middle of a sentence. But we’re not here to dwell on our pain because a second season of Under the Dome is coming whether we like it or not, so it’s time to take stock of what we’ve learned in this first season.

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