Dec 042023
 

The New York Times has released it’s 100 Notable Books of 2023 list, and it includes two DMLA titles!!!

  • The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera
  • The Reformatory by Tananarive Due

Congrats to Vajra Chandrasekera and Tananarive Due!

Nov 012023
 

Interzone:Premee Mohamed’s debut collection…eschews genre fidelity with gleeful abandon – No One Will Come Back for Us (Undertow Publications, 2023) is a melting pot of horror, dark fantasy, sci-fi and the gloriously weird – but retains nonetheless a subtle but definite thematic thread. Mohamed’s microcosms are meticulously crafted little snowglobes populated by believable, interesting characters, and more often than not, utterly and cosmically indifferent gods. This theme runs the gamut from explicitly Lovecraftian (‘The Adventurer’s Wife’, which is nothing that you expect it to be) to the more folk horror flavourings of ‘Below the Kirk, Below the Hill’.

Another favourite story, ‘Four Hours of a Revolution’, spotlights the absolutely magnetic Whittaker, a punk-soul rebel fighting a civil war of some kind. Our POV character is Death – though, in a brilliantly imaginative twist, Death is merely one of a great many Deaths, a faintly corporate conglomerate of reapers whose job is the dispassionate dispatch of those whose time is due. It’s pacey, exciting and the worldbuilding strikes a beautiful balance between giving just enough information, and leaving you to intuit the rest. Mohamed says this story makes every mistake in the book; if that’s the case, perhaps more people ought to make mistakes more often.

Her craft and ability are without question, as is her ability to meld genres; title tale ‘No One Will Come Back For Us’ straddles horror, sf, the weird and even a little thriller for good measure. An oddly optimistic tale despite its near-apocalyptic cosmic horror setting, Mohamed seems to be asking whether sometimes, it is simply enough to survive. There’s also something wonderfully wry in the little digs at imperialist attitudes given cosmic horror’s tendency towards xenophobia; a truly twenty-first century take on the genre which I think is well warranted.

Premee Mohamed has staked her claim as one of the most versatile writers I’ve encountered in recent years. Her ability to evoke vividly a wide range of settings and write a wide range of characters whilst maintaining an integral authenticity and believability is remarkable. The bottom line is: Mohamed tells a cracking story, and this collection is as enjoyable a read as you are likely to find in any given bookshop, especially if you like your tales painted across a broad spectrum. The gods may be indifferent, but by the end of this book, I was anything but.

Oct 262023
 

Publishers Weekly: Drawing heavily from Trinidadian folklore, Palumbo packs her debut collection of 12 uncanny shorts with love, longing, and death. A recurring motif is a woman mourning a life with a lover that she has to leave, as in “The Pull of the Herd,” in which the shape-shifting protagonist has left her herd of doe to live as a human with her mate, but is called back to the wilderness by her doeskin. In “Apolepisi: A De-scaling,” the mermaid protagonist’s lover transforms from mermaid to human. At times these repeating plots can feel a bit redundant, though the stories are beautifully told. The collection really solidifies in its latter half, in which the tales move from Canadian settings to the Caribbean and draw a deeper influence from local legends. The standout closer, “Douen,” is a harrowing yet touching account of a dead child who just wants her mother to see her again, written entirely in dialect (“Mama wipe she own tears and stop crying den. But she smile was spoil”). Palumbo proves masterful at taking material from folklore and making it personal, letting those things that are meant to terrify speak for themselves. Readers are sure to be impressed.

Oct 242023
 

Tor.com: Brilliant wonderful amazing fantasy novel, and the second fantasy novel I have read this year (or ever) featuring UBI. The experience of reading The Saint of Bright Doors is a little like having a mild fever—it’s the atmosphere of the book and the way it makes you feel. Everything is slightly too big and too bright, and details keep piling up and slipping out of control, and it’s all stirred together with a dash of Kafka—but in a good way. This is a dense, powerful book with interesting metaphysics and worldbuilding, and very real characters. When I think about it I find myself slipping back into it.

There’s a lot here, and it’s coming from a lot of directions to flow together into a perfectly crafted whole. But when I think about trying to describe it—look, this book contains a support group for people who were almost Chosen Ones, and there are enough of them in the city to help each other recover. And the city—it’s complex and layered like a real place, and this isn’t our world but it has both email and magic. I recommend reading the first chapter, because if you like it, you’ll like all of it. Absolutely worth your time. I expect to see this on awards ballots next year. I very much look forward to reading it again now I know the shape of it and where it was going, because I really couldn’t tell. Stunning. I am still a little stunned by it myself.

Oct 182023
 

THE DEAD TAKE THE A TRAIN by Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey makes the Barnes and Noble’s Best Books of 2023 list!

Julie is a coked-up, burnt-out thirty-year-old whose only retirement plan is dying early. She’s been trying to establish herself in the NYC magic scene, and she’ll work the most gruesome gigs, exorcize the nastiest demons, and make deals with the cruelest gods to claw her way to the top. But nothing can prepare her for the toughest job yet: when her best friend, Sarah, shows up at her door in need of help. Keeping Sarah safe becomes top priority.

Julie is desperate for a quick fix to break the dead-end grind and save her friend. But her power grab sets off a deadly chain of events that puts Sarah – and the entire world – directly in the path of annihilation.

The first explosive adventure in the Carrion City Duology, The Dead Take the A Train fuses Cassandra Khaw’s cosmic horror and Richard Kadrey’s gritty fantasy into a full-throttle thrill ride straight into New York’s magical underbelly.

Oct 032023
 

Julie is a coked-up, burnt-out thirty-year-old whose only retirement plan is dying early. She’s been trying to establish herself in the NYC magic scene, and she’ll work the most gruesome gigs, exorcize the nastiest demons, and make deals with the cruelest gods to claw her way to the top. But nothing can prepare her for the toughest job yet: when her best friend, Sarah, shows up at her door in need of help. Keeping Sarah safe becomes top priority.

Julie is desperate for a quick fix to break the dead-end grind and save her friend. But her power grab sets off a deadly chain of events that puts Sarah – and the entire world – directly in the path of annihilation.

The first explosive adventure in the Carrion City Duology, The Dead Take the A Train fuses Cassandra Khaw’s cosmic horror and Richard Kadrey’s gritty fantasy into a full-throttle thrill ride straight into New York’s magical underbelly.

Sep 302023
 

a pair of black ear budsAudio rights to Caye Marsh’s novella PEACE IN THE SKY, a mother with amnesia must transport her daughter across a dangerous post-apocalyptic land, while learning her past is not what she thinks it is, to Kim Budnick at Tantor Media, by Katie Shea Boutillier (world English).

Audio rights to William C. Tracy’s FRUITS OF THE GODS, in a land where four seasonal fruits give magic, two sisters find a box with a seed for a fifth seed, and hope to bring harmony to their world, to Kim Budnick at Tantor Media, by Katie Shea Boutillier (world English).

Audio rights to Robin C.M. Duncan’s THE RIGEL REDEMPTION, the third book in Quirk and Moth’s adventure, to Kim Budnick at Tantor Media, by Katie Shea Boutillier (world English).

Audio rights to Cassandra Khaw’s Bram Stoker Award-winning BREAKABLE THINGS, to Kim Budnick at Tantor Media, by Michael Curry.

Audio rights to Alex Bledsoe’s GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT AND OTHER STORIES OF SHARP WIT, CUNNING WOMEN, AND WILD MAGIC, an original collection of short stories about witches, big game hunters, dinosaurs, faery folk, and zombies, to Stefan Rudnicki at Skyboat Media, by Katie Shea Boutillier for Cameron McClure.

Sep 202023
 

Locus:  Stepping into The Salt Grows Heavy is like stepping into someone else’s fever dream. This strange, dark, violent, lyrical novella contains some of Khaw’s most brilliant, elegant, haunt­ing writing: ‘‘For all that humanity professes to delighting in its own sophistication, it longs for simplicity, for when the world can be deboned into binaries: darkness and light, death and life, hunter and hunted.’’ The use of language is im­maculate, but that doesn’t detract from the great pacing. The prose is lyrical and flows like water from a broken vase, but that doesn’t diminish the impact of the gore, murders, and scenes of surgery and self-mutilation. The taiga’s cold is brutal, and the small village is a bare-bones place where life seems to barely hold on, but the wealth of details Khaw injected into the narrative rivals that of any 400-page novel. In short, this is a novella that feels much larger than its word count and shows a very talented storyteller at the height of their powers.

Sep 062023
 

Congratulations to DMLA author, Kate Heartfield, for her 2023 Aurora Awards win!

BEST NOVEL

  • The Embroidered Book, Kate Heartfield, HarperVoyager

Also, huge shoutout to Premee Mohamed and C.L. Polk for their nominations!  Premee Mohamed was nominated for best novel with her work, The Void Ascendant, and C.L. Polk for best novelette with Even Though I Knew the End.