Inspired by the stories of a recently featured author (and let’s be honest, by the blog in general) this is going to be a weird Feature filled with weird authors, weird books, and your usual weird series editor Tabatha (as usual). I hope you enjoy this “deviation” into the unusual, unexpected, and the just plain weird.
Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray: A Collection of Weird Fiction by Mike Robinson
First up is a new book by an old (featured) author, Mike Robinson’s Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray: A Collection of Weird Fiction. Award-winning speculative fiction author Mike Robinson offers up 19 of his creepily provocative short stories in his new book, which we will see on bookshelves starting next week following its April 10th release!
A beer run becomes an interdimensional excursion. Two men settle their differences after discovering an extraordinary secret in the wilderness. A woman faces the bureaucratic logistics of a digital afterlife. A grieving man seeks to know where his wife was reincarnated. Strange lights in the sky begin to transform the lives of a small town. God and the Devil play billiards for people’s souls. A teenage deity’s science fair project sprouts a startling discovery.
These and more dream-like detours into the surreal, interstitial and inexplicable await within the pages of Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray: A Collection of Weird Fiction.
If God and the Devil playing billiards just isn’t weird enough for you (or you are too much of a traditionalist: Everyone knows they prefer chess), never fear for we have a only begun to plunge the depths of the literaryily odd.
The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
Lest we forget the adventure, life-saving, and general highjinks we academics are liable to get up to, The Monsters of Templeton tells the story of a researching, adventuring, and monster-investigating academic putting her researching skills to some exciting use!
On the very morning Willie Upton slinks home to Templeton, New York (after a calamitous affair with her archeology professor), the 50-foot-long body of a monster floats from the depths of the town’s lake. This unsettling coincidence sets the stage for one of the most original debut novels since The Time Traveler’s Wife. With a clue to the mysterious identity of her father in hand, Willie turns her research skills to unearthing the secrets of the town in letters and pictures (which, “reproduced” in the book along with increasingly complete family trees, lend an air of historical authenticity). Lauren Groff’s endearingly feisty characters imbue the story with enough intrigue to keep readers up long past bedtime, and reading groups will find much to discuss in its themes of “monsters,” both in our towns and our families.
“Lauren Groff’s debut novel, The Monsters of Templeton, is everything a reader might have expected from this gifted writer, and more… There are monsters, murders, bastards, and ne’er-do-wells almost without number. I was sorry to see this rich and wonderful novel come to an end.” – Stephen King
Next up is a novel I hesitate to share, because I want to apply for the job and I don’t want any of you oddball readers competing with me for the monster-slaying job opening.
Monster Hunter International (Monster Hunter International #1) by Larry Correia
With an urban fantasy background, Larry Correia has solved all of my grad-student job woes, because from this moment on all my energies will be focused on preparing to work for the organization (unless there are sit-ups involved in training… sit-ups may be a deal breaker…) with Monster Hunter International.
Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a fourteenth story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer.
It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit.
It’s actually a pretty sweet gig, except for one little problem. An ancient entity known as the Cursed One has returned to settle a centuries old vendetta. Should the Cursed One succeed, it means the end of the world, and MHI is the only thing standing in his way. With the clock ticking towards Armageddon, Owen finds himself trapped between legions of undead minions, belligerent federal agents, a cryptic ghost who has taken up residence inside his head, and the cursed family of the woman he loves.
Business is good… Welcome to Monster Hunter International.
To counter our dreams of one of the best jobs in the world, let’s move on to one of the worst (or at least with the worst benefits package) in
The Necromancer by Johnathan L. Howard
We hear of making deals with the devil as though it were an exceptional, sublime, and terrifying event which can lead to nothing but unexpected trouble and mayhem. Just to prove us wrong, Johnathan L. Howard has composed The Necromancer, the story of a man who discusses devious dealings with the devil so often he seems to have the demon on speed-dial.
A charmingly Gothic, fiendishly funny Faustian tale about a brilliant scientist who makes a deal with the Devil, twice.
Johannes Cabal sold his soul years ago in order to learn the laws of necromancy. Now he wants it back. Amused and slightly bored, Satan proposes a little wager: Johannes has to persuade one hundred people to sign over their souls or he will be damned forever. This time for real. Accepting the bargain, Jonathan is given one calendar year and a traveling carnival to complete his task. With little time to waste, Johannes raises a motley crew from the dead and enlists his brother, Horst, a charismatic vampire to help him run his nefarious road show, resulting in mayhem at every turn.
Zombies Vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Wrapping up the day with another weird anthology, Holly Black, Justine Larbalestier, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Maureen Johnson, Carrie Ryan, Scott Westerfeld, Meg Cabot, Garth Nix, Kathleen Duey, Margo Lanagan, Naomi Novik, Diana Peterfreund, Libba Bray, and Cassandra Clare try to answer one of the immortal questions of the monster-verse: Zombies vs. Unicorns.
It’s a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths–for good and evil–of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?
(ahem, zombies! ahem… who said that?)