You spend to much time on your computer, yeah you. Most of us do. Ok here is a solution. Sit on your porch, or in a park and read a damn book. I have some suggests for you sift through and see if they work for you. I suggest you buy them, a lot of the new releases are by struggling indie writers who need support. If you can't afford to do that, hit up the library. If your library doesn't have them then do the authors a huge favor and request the books. Most libraries let you do that on their websites.
If you can't be away from your computer Check out awesome web-zines like the Freezine of Fantasy of science fiction, apex and Rudy Rucker's amazing Flurb. a I'm starting with horror but I am going to suggest a few others as well in future posts. Science fiction and non fiction.
House of Fallen Trees by Gina Ranalli – My top pick for several reasons. Before I talk about the book let me say admit bias. I love Gina as person. A soft spoken vegan and warrior of the weird. Her books have depth and range all coming with a unique voice. Socio- Political fantasy like Suicide Girls in the Afterlife, dystopian science fiction satire like mother puncher and a Shirley Jackson-ish quiet horror piece like House of Fallen Trees.
HOFT shows mastery of pace and deep knowledge of genre that Gina has never had chance to show off in her many bizarro books. A Creepy story with strong characters and a little early Stephen King influence. A short but effective read you might be able to fly through this one on a flight to your summer vacation. Set here in the pacific northwest it is a great escape.
Perfect Union by Cody Goodfellow - If you like strange books this master piece of bizarro body horror and super weird political commentary is in a class all it's own. Not to mention the over the top insanity of the conclusion. Cody Goodfellow is the freshest most exciting writer in genre today. He had a tough time getting publishers to understand what he was doing, just as one of his biggest influences John Shirley had with his original and ground breaking novel City Come a Walkin in 1980. They didn't get it.
Thankfully fellow bizarro Jeremy Robert Johnson (author of Angeldust Apocalypse and Siren Promised) knew what he had on his hands when he read it. This book is not for everyone but if your in for a wild ride give this book a shot.
Last Days by Brian Evenson – Made of two interconnected novellas Last Days is one of the coolest books I read in the last year. It is the story of a very hard boiled detective who is the only person set infiltrate a shadowy organization. Why is he the only one, well it's a cult of self mutilators and he cut off one of his one hands for his last case.
Amazingly hard boiled dialogue in this book which I am told is a literary novel. It's also a hard boiled mystery, a bizarro horror tale and a short but amazing read. Published by a Portland press!
The Castle of Los Angeles by Lisa Morton - This is a neat debut horror novel by Lisa Morton, who is one of my favorite short story authors. Here she stretches her wings and thankfully she soars. Traditional horror that manages to play the power cords of the genre and sound original. If you like a scary spooky haunted house story, dig into this story of an old haunted theater in Los Angeles.
Children of Chaos by Greg F. Gifune – This book blew me away. A modern re-telling of Conrad's heart of darkness set in northern Mexico, near Tijuana A city I am familiar with since I lived in San Diego and had friends who lived down there. This is a brutal and power journey that takes a classic tale a re-spins it in fresh manner. Hard to put down but worth it.
Demons by John Shirley – Day 70 of the greatest environmental disaster to hit the United States, celebrate the devastated summer with book that is a decade old but feels ripped from the headlines. As the Corporate CEOs make excuses to congress I thought about this genius novel. Funny, freaky, intelligent and all around amazing. Demons is master work of using horror fiction express a point of view.
Swans Song By Robert R. McCammon – This miracle of a novel is over 900 pages and never drags. It is an epic post nuclear war fantasy that is unfairly discounted as a rip-off of Stephen King's the Stand. This novel works on a deeper level and may be one of the darkest and heart wreaching novels I have ever read. You really as though you have survived a massive journey as reading this. Why would such a brutal and dark book make a great summer read? I have never appreciated the warmth and sun as I did while reading this novel that makes McCathary's the Road look like a feel good book, one fit for the Oprah book club.
Shatnerquake by Jeff Burk – This is still a pretty new book, but I needed something funny and could not think of anything better. William Shatner fighting a legion of his fictional characters including Captain Kirk with lightsaber. I don't need to say more this is a funny and surreal bizarro that could be read in single afternoon on the porch or on a long flight. Be warned you'll be laughing a lot. You want funny you can't beat bizarro books like Fistful of Feet by Jordan Krall, Cursed by Jeremy C Shipp but most of all the books of D.Harlan Wilson. Start with Shatnerquake. Short but super loaded with bell laughs.
The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh – This is an anti-war novel written by a former soldier in the NVA. He was the only surviving member of the unit that captured John Mccain strangely enough. After the American war ended he penned this autobiographical novel that has since become a bestseller and banned in Vietnam. It's not light summer reading but it is a good way for americans to the other side of the war.
Choir of Ill Children By Tom Piccirilli – This super bizarro horror southern Gothic about conjoined triplets is one hell of freak show. A horror masterpiece like no other. Surreal while being real enough to feel the humidity and environment dripping off the pages. A really intense and moving book.
Story of B by Daniel Quinn - Quinn's first book was a obvious attempt to make a point with a thinly held together story, but it was powerful enough of a message that it caught on. Quinn's follow up to the amazing Ishmael is story of B, a better and more thought out story as well as message. I find this book challenging because It's major point something I think is right but don't want to agree with at all. It is not something inherit to humans that make them so awful, it's there culture that is to blame and it's time to deprogram from your culture.
My most importantly the biggest and best summer read of all my debut novel Hunting the Moon Tribe which should be out soon. Fingers crossed. but don't take my word for it. How about Bram Stoker award winning author Lisa Morton who wrote that awesome Castle of Los Angeles..."I've never read (or seen) anything like it, and HUNTING THE MOON TRIBE should mark Mr. Agranoff as one of the most original and exciting new voices to emerge in genre fiction in a dragon's age." Or the bizarro author Jordan Krall who released a badass italian style western novel this year Called Fistful of feet. Jordan had this to say "Agranoff not only dazzles us with breathtaking action scenes and vampire violence but also tugs at our heartstrings with realistic family drama and romance. It’s a scary martial arts fantasy that will please just about everyone. David Agranoff is a gifted storyteller.”
So yeah get Moon Tribe when it is out. Request it at your library.