Laird Barron

Review: The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, And Other Stories

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Review: The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, And Other Stories

October is here! Time for another month of scary, horrifying, or just downright creepy books.

First up is Laird Barron’s 2013 short story collection, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All. The title of the book is misleading to say the least, unless you have a completely different interpretation of what “beautiful” means. But something is most definitely is waiting, oh yes, and we won’t know exactly what it is until it’s far too late.

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The Best Books of 2016

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The Best Books of 2016

2016 may not have been the best of years, but it saw the release of some amazing books. And since Elizabeth has been focusing more on her artwork these last few months (check out her Daily Doodles on instagram) this year I get to keep the entire “Best Of” list for myself, myself, you hear?! Mwa ha haaaa!

*Ahem* Sorry, got a little carried away there. Click the jump for a list, in no particular order, of my ten favorite books from 2016.

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Review: Swift to Chase – A Collection of Stories

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Review: Swift to Chase – A Collection of Stories

My kind is swift to chase, swift to battle. My imperfect memory is long with longing for the fight.

Yes, okay, I know. I’ve already done a collection of short horror stories this month. In my defense, Laird Barron’s collection Swift to Chase came out just this month, and as soon as I saw it I knew it was going to have to be part of the spooky books I reviewed in October.

Last week’s book had one story by Laird Barron, arguably the most off-the-wall one in the collection. Take that and magnify it by a hundred and you’ll come close to the insanity of a dozen of his stories in a row. Set in Alaska (or influenced by Alaska. Or has characters retreating to Alaska, or running away from whatever happened there), all of them are connected (somehow) and filled with some of the most disturbing images and gruesome ways to die. I’ve read through most of the book twice by now and I’m still not sure I understand what was going on. Or if I’m even supposed to understand. Strap in, folks, this is going to be a weird ride.
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Review: Children of Lovecraft

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Review: Children of Lovecraft

Say what you will about H.P. Lovecraft – his elaborate Victorian prose, his cringeworthy racial biases – the man created a sandbox that horror writers love to play in. I’ve reviewed one story by Lovecraft in this column; compare that to, what, three separate posts about Lovecraft-inspired stories? Maybe four? There’s something irresistible about a modern take on the Cthulhu mythos, with just the right creepiness mixed in with the horror. I’m always willing to give a new Lovecraft compilation a try, even when I haven’t read anything by most of the authors included.

I needed something to keep me occupied for a long train ride, and I thought Children of Lovecraft would at least be interesting. And then I had to pace myself to keep myself from reading it too fast. Ellen Datlow’s latest compilation has fourteen stories by authors writing at the top of their game, and I feel like I could have eaten up the entire book in one sitting.

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Review: X’s for Eyes

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Review: X’s for Eyes

“I, for one, have no interest in being tortured, imprisoned, or experimented on. Again.”

The story begins in a school for assassins in the Himalayas, so at first it looks like this will be a tale of deprivation and physical training. But then it switches to two brothers leaving the temple for their summer vacation, looking forward to a few months of brawling and debauchery: firearms, booze and women mandatory. Except the brothers are awfully young (12.5 and 14.5 to be exact) so this is really more of a boy’s adventure, except that they’re the heirs to a multinational family/corporation that’s in the middle of a war with several other families, a war that’s exacerbated by an arms race and a secret plot involving contact with a shambling intelligence from beyond the stars…

…I think I should probably start over. This story is all over the place, and like a lot of Laird Barron’s writing, it’s kind of hard to describe.

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