Dec 30, 2010

Richard Kadrey: Metrophage

Let's hear what Kadrey has to say about Metrophage:

"You may read these files, copy, distribute them, or print them out
and make them into little hats. You may do anything you like with
them as long as you do not change them in any way or receive
money for them.

I've put METROPHAGE and HORSE LATITUDES into free distribution
on the Net, but I retain all copyrights to the works.

If you have any problems or comments on the works or their
distribution, you can email me at:

And remember, if you charge anyone money for these files you are
the nothing but ambulatory puke, and I hope a passing jet drops a 15
pound radar magnet on your hard drive."

Richard Kadrey
May 1995

And this:

The protagonist of METROPHAGE is Jonny Qabbala, a drug dealer in
his early 20s. When I wrote the book, I denied hugely that it was in
any way autobiographical. This was, of course, a stinking lie.

Aside from the fact I've never shot anyone or used cobra venom as a
recreational drug, METROPHAGE is a distillation of everything I'd
done, seen, read, heard or thought about up until the time I wrote it,
and is as purely autobiographical as anything I'm ever likely to
write. Which isn't to say you should read the book literally. Some of
what happens in METROPHAGE is straight reportage, and while some
of the events in the book happened to me, some of them happened to
friends. The things you think are the obvious truths probably aren't.
The most ridiculous and unbelievable things are quite possibly true.

Plus, the book is full of lies. It's a work of fiction. I made up a lot of
it. Yet it remains the psychological story of my life up into my mid-
twenties. This is not meant to dazzle anyone with my
accomplishments. If you read the book, you'll quickly discover an
unflattering truth: Jonny Qabbala is a jerk. He's not evil or stupid or
even a bad guy, he's just young and clueless. Jonny finds it difficult
to act decisively or take a stand, and when he does either, he's
usually wrong. Even when I was writing the book, when I was closer
to Jonny's age and temperament, I frequently wanted to crack his
skull with the collected works of Iggy Pop (which is another bit of
trivia: Iggy is in the book, but I won't tell you what character he
plays; if you've ever seen Iggy perform, you'll know).

Time passes, though, and I no longer want to slap Jonny around. I'm
not so far from Jonny that I can see him as my offspring, but I can
easily imagine him as a kid brother. As such, I can forgive him a lot
of his faults because as lame as he is, he's usually trying to do the
right thing."

You can read Metrophage here for free:

Or downloading it ere: free download of Metrophage

Not bad but not Gibson either. But, as Man Ray told Groucho, "everybody is a critic" and giving that this one is free and full of imagination, we can conclude that it's unbeatable value for the money you're spending. Didn't like the deliberately open ending, though.

Dec 16, 2010

Richard Kadrey: Sandman Slim

As read in Richard Kadrey's website:

"Life sucks, and then you die. Or, if you're James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth that is Los Angeles.

Now Stark's back, and ready for revenge. And absolution, and maybe even love. But Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than you'd expect, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future. Resurrection sucks. Saving the world is worse."

"Kill the dead", the 2nd and last for the moment book in the series is 10th in the Amazon List of Best Fantasy Books of 2010.

This is dark and dirty fantasy with a complete badass as starring hero, a novel of brute force, cynical dark humor, and visceral fun, and Kadrey thumbs his nose, and yours too if you'll permit him, at god, the angels and the devil himself. Described by some as violent noir-slash-Gothic-punk hard-boiled detective action story and by other like a book representative of the general trend of urban fantasy to be a peeing contest to see who can create the most sharp-edged antihero.

Possibly more interesting that his book, Kadrey describes himself as a freelance writer living in San Francisco and also a fetish photographer and digital artist whose work can be seen at (Warning: Adult Content; 18+ only!)

Some of his novels are available to download here:

Download Richard Kadrey’s novel Butcher Bird:
PDFHTMLRich Text FormatPluckerMobipocketEnhanced MobiPocket*

And you can also enjoy this free download of Metrophage, his first novel published in 1988.

Dec 11, 2010

Simon R.Green: Nightside

Enter the nightside, where it's always 3 a.m. ...

Nightside series:
01. Something from the Nightside (2003)
02. Agents of Light and Darkness (2003)
03. Nightingale's Lament (2004)
04. Hex and the City (2005)
05. Paths Not Taken (2005)
06. Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth (2006)
07. Hell to Pay (2006)
08. The Unnatural Inquirer (2008)
09. Just Another Judgement Day (2009)
10. The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny (2010)
11. A Hard Day's Knight (2011)

German Editions


The series takes place in a fictional inner city area of London called "The Nightside". Elements of fantasy, science fiction and the supernatural all feature heavily in both the Nightside itself and its inhabitants.

Indicated by its name, the Nightside experiences perpetual night ("it's always 3am"). The Nightside itself is contained within London, yet is larger than London by a significant measure. Though access to the Nightside is hidden, it does experience a steady stream of tourists from the "normal" world.

The main character, John Taylor, describes the Nightside "as a place where dreams come true and nightmares come alive. Where one can buy anything, often at the price of your soul... or someone else's. Where the music never stops and the fun never ends". Numerous seemingly impossible services or goods are available-often quite commonly-in the Nightside; examples include stores selling albums from alternative time-lines (e.g. a live Mama Cass concert from 2003), a business where customers pay to be possessed for a brief period of time "just for the kick of it," and a drug called Revert which causes users to temporarily devolve into a biological ancestor (e.g. a Neanderthal).

A recurring feature in the Nightside is the appearance of "Timeslips", locations where the Nightside has collided with another part of space and/or time, and sometimes with a completely separate, alternate timeline as well. A number of characters identified within the series are "refugees" displaced by Timeslips. The appearance of Timeslips is largely unpredictable, though in some cases Timeslips have been predicted or even deliberately created.

The Nightside is overseen by The Authorities, a committee whose members are largely unknown which makes rules, policy, and decisions concerning what is allowed to happen within the realm. The Authorities' decisions are enforced by their Agent (or "The Man"), who among other equipment and abilities is given The Voice, a way of issuing vocal commands which no human can refuse. At the beginning of the first book this position is held by Walker.

Nightside - Jessica Sorrow

by ~sithwitch13

Suzie Shooter aka Shotgun Suzie aka Dear God It's Her Run!

by ~blazewu

Dead Boy

by =neekko

Dec 4, 2010

Frank Herbert: Dune

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear.

Lego sandworm

Surely Herbert's Dune is to sci-fi what LOTR is to fantasy literature. It's also a true classic and its background of political intrigue makes it reminiscent of the historical novel.

Yes, I know this one up is silly, but I don't feel like inserting here the classic image from Lynch's movie

Frank Herbert's greatness is the creation of a cosmos where everything is distributed perfectly, with characters actually defined, large shades, and a really impressive fusion between the feudal nineteenth century with a credible futuristic society. His prose, simple in appearance, is very rhythmic and descriptive, and the progression of the characters makes us believe that they are really alive. 

In the book, Herbert gets quickly rid of the problem of predicting scientific advances by creating a Jihad that removed them (lacking computers, man has to make do with his brain, and discover a whole new universe) and then he proceeds to write formidably one of the more philosophical and mystical novels I've ever read. The always interesting idea of the messiah and legends that always end up happening in one way or another, here are masterfully developed.

 Indisputable masterpiece whose only drawback is an overabundance of continuations of the saga that do not reach the quality of the first books in the series.

And although I've resisted so far to place here those images that everyone expected, I will not hold the urge to leave my tiny tribute to Kyle gorgeuous MacLachlan who we'll always be Paul in my imagination.

To know more (and better):

Nov 27, 2010

May a woman fall in love with... a Kindle?

Yes, yes, yeeezzz..... oh yes!

I think I'm falling in love with an electronic device and I'm not the less ashamed to confess this...paraphilia? to you, who are my dear friends and who, I trust, will look at me with broad-mindedness and indulgence.

My Kindle has become, since it arrived home two weeks ago, one of my favourite gadgets and has nothing to envy any of the former most-loved ones. With its beatiful design, light weight, nice -so nice- touch it has stolen my heart. I was definitely seduced from the first moment it reached my hands and switched on all by itself when I plugged it in order to charge the battery.

But now I fear that within a few months I will find myself writing a post starting with "Hi, my name is Ronronia and I'm addicted" cause this is the list of the books I've bought so far: 


5 first books in the Charlie Parker's series, by John Connolly: Every dead thing, Dark hollow, The killing kind, The white road and The black angel. Ok, this is not sci-fi nor fantasy but the guy sees dead people so perhaps stretching the concept a little...I specially like two characters in those books, the unlikely gay couple formed by Loui, an enigimatic, large black man who was a hired killer but who now seems to be in semiretirement and Angel, a small white man and ex-burglar. Rich, hard as hell, introspective prose.

2nd, 3rd and 4th books in the Nightside series, by Simon R. Green: Agents of light and darkness, 
Nightingale's lament and Hex and the City (but we'll talk about this series in another post.) 

South: the story of Shackleton's 1914-1917 expedition by Shackleton, Sir Ernest Henry: and this one is free, free, free, can you believe it? (Please, if you have not done it yet, please read Cherry-Garrard's The Worst Journey in the World cause it's the best travel book ever and a most astonishing tribute to human ability to endure suffering)

Two curiosities by Mary Roach: Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex and Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, to read in fits and starts, and one by Gregory Leland, Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions Throughout the Ages (and none exceeded 3$)

And finally, George R.R. Martin's A song for Lya and Portraits of his Children.

So now you know why I'm not posting about Dune just as planned and the reason is that posting about such a huge masterpiece needs its well deserved care and time and I'm at present absorbed by my new acquisitions.

By the way, have I already sponken of how confortable are the screen and keyboard in my superb brand-new Kindle?

I think I'm falling...

Nov 19, 2010

John Ajvide Linqvist : Handling the undead

Sweden has been hit with a weird medical happening over the last two months. Due to excessive heat levels and energy spikes, the dead seem to have returned to life. Well, it's not like all of the deceased Swedes have returned to life. I'd say a good estimate would put it around 10% of the deceased population has returned. Several citizens mark this resurrection with a degree of horror and hope. The recently widowed, orphaned and general grieving are hoping that this means their loved ones will return hope. Others fear what sort of horrors that the walking dead bring with them.

 The undead of this book aren't ghouls, but they aren't normal. These undead are shells of their former selves who are trying to return to their past lives. What makes this more of a tease is that so many grieving individuals are seeing these creatures and wanting their loved ones to come back.

The horror begins, as we find two grieving individuals that are desperate to be visited by a relative zombie. When the grandfather Mahler learns of the dead's return, he gets the idea that his deceased grandson might be alive in his coffin. Fighting against reason, he breaks into the local graveyard and begins to unearth the eight year old child. The readers get to follow along, as his troubled mind tries to rationalize his actions until he finally breaks the coffin lid. Feeling inside against the exposed bone, he realizes that his grandson hasn't returned as the same child. The sense of disgust and personal horror is what helps to drive the true terror of this work.

Linqvist  slowly weaves together an intelligent, philosophical look at what would happen if the dead were to unnaturally rise from their graves. "Handling the Undead" doesn't really focus on the zombies themselves. Instead, Lindqvist conjures up a simple scenario, and examines how people would react to it -- we see hysteria, suicide, denial, dismissal, religious fervor, and a delusional belief that the zombies can simply go back to their old lives. And he brings up a number of philosophical questions with no easy answers.

In a book filled with subtle, creeping psychological horror, the author also fleshes out his characters beautifully, giving each one a backstory that shapes their current reactions. And he handles each one with compassion, even if they're delusional or twerpy.

Although perhaps a bit slow in the middle, this is a horror novel that transcends its genre by showing what the return of the dead might really mean to those who loved them.

To know more and better:

Nov 14, 2010

John Ajvide Linqvist : Let the right one in

John Ajvide Lindqvist (born 2 december 1968 in Blackeberg, Sweden) is a Swedish writer, mostly of horror novels and short stories. His debut novel Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) a romantic, social realistic vampire horror story published in 2004.

Synopsis: 12-year-old Oskar is an outsider; bullied at school, dreaming about his absentee father, bored with live on a dreary housing estate. One evining he meets his mysteriour neighbour Eli. As a romance blossoms between them, Oskar dicovers Eli's dark secret - she's a 200-year-old vampire, forever frozen in chidhood and condemned to live on a diet of fress blood.

It could very well be another vampire story but the author achieves in fact a disturbing reworkin of the vampire legend, and a deeply moving fable about rejection, friendship and loyalty, and shows a vampire both heart-breakingly pathetic and terrifying.

The book is a bevy of contradictions: beauty and horror, young love and violence, innocence and guilt. The fact that it works at all is impressive, being as it is part love story, horror novel and social drama.

After this one, I'm reading Handling the Undead. I'll tell you something about this one as soon as I finish it but my first impression is that this one is even a more disturbing and ill-at-ease reading.

Nov 12, 2010

Asimov: I'm in Marsport without Hilda

and 13 other detective short stories published in 1968 as a collection under the title "Asimov Mysteries". 

Four stories in the collection feature the character of Wendell Urth, who is a leading extra-terrologist (an expert on alien worlds and life originating on them). Urth is eccentric in that he has a phobia of all mechanical forms of transport (an exaggeration of Asimov's own aversion to flying) but they all have one common feature: detective mysteries showing Asimov theory that science fiction is a literary genre but it can develop into all the popular genres: romantic, western, adventure, terror,... anyone and all of them.

As for this collection, is well known Asimov's passion for detective stories, he never tired of proclaiming his admiration for Agatha Christie, and these stories are selected because they are markedly police & criminal stories, detective stories full of mystery. Most are not convoluted stories, they are not full of red herrings or lacking information, and follow the same general pattern: Asimov raises the mystery or problem -that is clearly stated in the first half- and in the second half the solution is given without further artifice.

 Inside the book you can find:

Asimov has always been accused of being a misogynist (women characters are the exception in his work) and prudish. About "I'm in Marsport without Hisda, he says that attempted to pull off that sanbenito, or at least show that he was able to write something "spicy" (and, in my opinion, he failed miserably cause spicy, spicy... he's really prudish, Asimov :)))

But these are very funny stories followed by notes where the author explaines how sometimes science has rendered obsolete or disproved parts of them but he still did not want to change the story because of something as unimportant as reality.

Nov 6, 2010

Jim Butcher : Dresden Files

Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a very particular kind of private investigator. As a matter of fact he's the only one listing in the phone book under "Wizards". Although considered among his colleagues as a magical "thug" and accused of lacking fine control of his power, he's one of the strongest living wizards in terms of pure magical strength. Despite his traditional magic weapons (leather duster, rune staff, blasting rod, shield bracelet, silver ring and silver pentacle amulet) Harry has also been known to carry around many firearms such as a .38 revolver, a .357 and most recently a .44 revolver and a sawed-off shotgun for those times when 'magic just doesn't cut it'.

Amazing variety of rune staffs. Which of them you thing Harry would choose?

He lives in a basement with his principal associate, Bob, a spirit of knowledge -the equivalent of a magical encyclopedia- living in a skull, and a Foo Dog called Mouse possesed of quasi-human intelligence and able to detect supernatural evil.

Complementing Mouse is Harry's crew of loyal, pizza-bribed pixies, serving as scouts and spies and informers...and keeping the mice out of his home, under the leadership of the empowered pixie Major General Toot-toot.

Harry is a member of the White Council as a full Wizard, and has also been drafted into the Wardens, the combat-capable members of the Council, after their losses fighting the Red Court (the seat of vampiric power, the bad guys)

Last and most formidable of his particular circle of magical associates is his Fairy Godmother, the Leanan Sidhe. Considered the second most powerful member of the Winter Court, she has been tasked with protecting Harry and takes the job very seriously. You'll have to get acquainted to Winter and Summer fairies if you want to know why on earth did Harry get appointed Winter Knight or why his mother Margaret Gwendolyn LaFey bequeathed him a half brother, Thomas, who happens to be a White Court vampire, one who doesn't delight in blood but in the sickly submission that his sex appeal raises in his victims.

This is the complete series of books published so far with Harry as the protagonist:

Storm Front
Fool Moon
Grave Peril
Summer Knight
Death Masks
Blood Rites
Dead Beat
Proven Guilty
White Night
Small Favor
Turn Coat
Side Jobs

(short stories)
Ghost Story

As Martina E. Balint says in Amazon Customers Review: Harry Dresden, the series' protagonist, is everything that's great about the hardboiled anti-hero, with a twist: He's a wizard trying to make a living working practical magic in a modern world that's foolishly rejected the supernatural in favor of science and technology. Part average guy, part renaissance man, Harry's got a dark side, a wicked sense of humor and a deeply rooted, personal code of honor that drives him to risk everything to fight the supernatural forces preying on his clients, an attitude that puts him at constant, dangerous odds with both the bad guys and the authorities alike.

Jim Butcher is himself a curious character: a martial arts enthusiast with fifteen years of experience in various styles including Ryukyu Kempo, Tae Kwan Do, Gojo Shorei Ryu, and a sprinkling of Kung Fu. He is a skilled rider and has worked as a summer camp horse wrangler and performed in front of large audiences in both drill riding and stunt riding exhibitions.
He  also enjoys fencing, singing, bad science fiction movies and live-action gaming. He lives in Missouri with his wife, son, and a vicious guard dog. Butcher goes by the moniker Longshot in a number of online locales. He came by this name in the early 1990's when he decided he would become a published author. Usually only 3 in 1000 who make such an attempt actually manage to become published; of those, only 1 in 10 make enough money to call it a living. The sale of a second series was the breakthrough that let him beat the long odds against attaining a career as a novelist.All the same, he refuses to change his nickname.

Oct 28, 2010

Bartimaeus Sequence - Jonathan Stroud

Well, this one is sometimes clasified as adolescent literature. May be but The Amulet of Samarkand is also undoubtedly a superb novel of revenge and adventure with the most original central character for years and a huge, deep, funny, appealling, astonishing and hilarious sense of humour expressed with a masterful display of transversal thinking.

As described by John McLay:

Bartimaeus is a wisecracking Djinni (pronounced "Jinnee" we're reliably informed) unlike no other. Summoned from some otherworldly place to do the bidding of a pipsqueak trainee magician called Nathanial, he sets about his given task reluctantly but with aplomb. Nathanial is after revenge and that makes him dangerous. Previously humiliated by a powerful magician called Simon Lovelace in front of his impotent master, Nathanial has spent every waking hour for years cramming knowledge of the highest magic into his head so that he can exact his own special kind of vengeance.

Bartimaeus is charged to steal a precious and powerful object--the Amulet of Samarkand--from Lovelace's residence, which the Djinni achieves but not without angering a few old mates on the same astral plane and having to spend the night annoyingly disguised as a bird. Bartimaeus, despite being bound to Nathaniel, discovers the boy's real name--a tool he can use to his own advantage. But he is constantly outwitted. Then an overriding danger becomes apparent that threatens the whole fabric of society and they must work together to combat it.

Stroud's fantasy world is familiar, yet fascinatingly different. It's almost Victorian London, yet Magicians hold overall power and inhabit parliament. The writing is captivating, the story intelligent and mesmerising. It's difficult to imagine a more scintillating collection of characters and situations. Unmissable.

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