Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, October 10, 2016


  • Simon R. Green, The Unnatural Inquirer.  P.I. fantasy, the eighth in the author's Nightside series.  In this outing, P.I.  John Taylor is ;'offered one million pounds to find a man who claims to have evidence of the Afterlife stored on a DVD...Troubkle is, someone else -- someone very powerful -- is on the trail, too."
  • Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Necrochip.  The third detective Inspector Bill Slider mystery.  Slider has a new superior, Detective Superintendent "Mad Ivan" Barrington, who is determined to be new broom in the department.   "It's all par for the course for Detective Inspector bill Slider as he faces the unhygienic fact of a dismembered corpse in a catering establishment -- and is plunged into the sort of seedy underworld a sensitive chap would sooner avoid."  This book has also been published under the title Death To Go.  The eighteenth book in the Slider series was published last year.
  • Michael Moorcock, Von Beck.  Dark fantasy omnibus.  This is the second of at least fifteen omnibus editions in The Eternal Champion series.  This one includes novels The War Hound and the World's Pain, A City in the Autumn Stars, and  The Dragon in the Sword, as well as the short story (originally published under the "James Colvin" pseudonym) "The Pleasure Garden of Felipe Sagittarius."  Moorcock's Eternal Champion saga is a convoluted and interlocking tapestry of stories that it is difficult to assign each piece to a specific category, thus this omnibus does not contain all the stories about Von Beck and his family and The Dragon in the Sword is often placed in another sub-series.  Anyway, the stories in this volume from 1995 were revised by the author.
  • Oliver Onions, The Collected Ghost Stories of Oliver Onions.  Massive ghost story collection (689 pages) with 19 stories.  Onions (1873-1961) was the popular author of over 40 novels published during the first half of the 20th century, all of which are pretty much forgotten.  Not forgotten, however, are many of his ghost stories, especially the classic "The Beckoning Fair One" (1911).  And yes, his last name is pronounce the same as the root vegetable.
  • M. P. Shiel, The Best Short Stories of M. P. Shiel.  Fantasy/mystery collection with twelve stories selected by Shiel's friend and literary executor, the poet "John Gawsworth" (T. I. Fytton Armstrong).  The collection includes three Prince Zaleski stories and one Cummings King Monk story among the contents, along with some of the author's better- (and lesser-) known stories.  Shiel was an odd duck whose novels The Purple Cloud, The Lord of the Sea, and How the Old Woman Got Home are probably most familiar to modern audiences.  Shiel claimed to be king (King Felipe) of Redonia, an uninhabited and small rocky isle in the West Indies, having been (supposedly) crowned such on his fifteenth birthday. (Whether Shiel actually believed this -- or used this as a lifelong hoax -- is open to question.) After his death, the "title" was passed on to Gawsworth.  Young girls (or child-like women) were featured in a number of his works and it was recently discovered that a prison term Shiel had spent supposedly for fraud was actually for the statutory rape of a twelve-year-old girl.  His predilection for young girls caused problems in his second marriage while he was living off her income.  He was not a nice man.
  • Dan Simmons, Ilium.  Far future SF epic novel.  "The Trojan War rages at the foot of Olympos Mons on Mars -- observed and influenced from on high by Zeus and his immortal family -- and twenty-first century professor Thomas Hockenberry is there to play a role in the insidious private wars of vengeful gods and goddesses.  On Earth, a small band of the few remaining humans pursues a lost past and devastating truth -- as four sentient machines depart from Jovian space to investigate, perhaps terminate, the potentially catastrophic emissions emanating from a mountaintop miles above the terraformed surface of the Red Planet."  This one was a Locus Award winner and came in second (to Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls) for a Hugo.  Nobody works this kind of literary magic like Simmons.  The cycle, inspired in part by Homer, was continued in Olympos, a Locus Award nominee, coming in second place to Charles Stross' Accelerando.

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