Out of Print Tanith Lee novels: shades of Steampunk and The Wicker Man

Reigning Cats and DogsReigning Cats and Dogs by Tanith Lee

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reigning Cats and Dogs isn’t her best book by a long shot. But it is interesting, none the less. It’s an early entry into the Steampunk genre, crossed with the as-yet-unnamed Mythpunk movement set in an alternate Victorian England. It’s a fever dream novel of secret societies, magic prostitutes, Egyptology, gin palaces and opium dens. It is about a metaphysical battle between Anubis and Bast, and cat and dog imagery abounds. The best parts concern a demonic ghost dog and a cute pair of gay cutpurses. Should be back in print!

When the Lights Go OutWhen the Lights Go Out by Tanith Lee

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The mistress of dark dreams tries her hand at contemporary weird fiction. It’s set in a small British beach town, in the off-season. The town is home to a strange cult involving sea worship, ritual sacrifices and transformative magic. The plot concerns the rise of a new high priestess for the cult. The novel kind of has the feel of the Wicker Man. The aura of the 90s pervades–references are made to the AIDS crisis and the yuppie class. When The Lights Go Out mixes scenes of supernatural horror with moments of comic tenderness.

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