BOOK RADAR: “Until the Last Dog Dies” by Robert Guffey

I meet Robert Guffey over 20 years ago at the Clarion West Workshop in Seattle. His fiction is…. Take a little Pynchon, a pinch of Vonnegut, add a dash or two of Hunter S. Thompson, filter it through the aesthetic of surrealist painter Dali…and you have a Guffey story. Guffey was Bizarro before Bizarro was a thing.

His new absurdist novel, UNTIL THE LAST DOG DIES is out today. He probably wrote by hand, in his impeccable script.

Guffey

From the cover copy:

A young stand-up comedian must adapt to an apocalyptic virus affecting people’s sense of humor in this darkly satirical debut novel.

What happens when all humor is wiped off the face of the Earth?

Around the world, an unusual viral plague is striking the population. The virus attacks only one particular section of the brain. It isn’t fatal, but it results in the victim’s sense of humor being obliterated. No one is immune.

Elliot Greeley, a young stand-up comedian starving his way through alternative comedy clubs in Los Angeles, isn’t even certain the virus is real at first. But as the pandemic begins to eat away at the very heart of civilization itself, the virus affects Elliot and his close knit group of comedian friends in increasingly personal ways. What would you consider the end of the world?

Until the Last Dog Dies is a sharp, cutting satire, both a clever twist on apocalyptic fiction and a poignant look at the things that make us human.

BOOK RADAR: “Creatures of Will & Temper” by Molly Tanzer

Molly Tanzer’s new novel Creatures of Will & Temper (John Joseph Adams Books) is out this week. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Tanzer at the World Horror Convention a couple of years ago. I dipped into the book — it’s written with lush, decadent prose that recalls my muse, the late Tanith Lee.

Tanzer_CREATURES_OF_WILL_AND_TEMPER

From the Back Copy:

Victorian London is a place of fluid social roles, vibrant arts culture, fin-de-siècle wonders … and dangerous underground diabolic cults. Fencer Evadne Gray cares for none of the former and knows nothing of the latter when she’s sent to London to chaperone her younger sister Dorina, an aspiring art critic.

At loose ends after Dorina becomes enamored with their uncle’s friend, Lady Henrietta “Henry” Wotton, a local aristocrat and aesthete, Evadne enrolls in a fencing school. There she meets George Cantrell, the kind of experienced fencing master she’s always dreamed of studying under. But soon, George shows her something more than fancy footwork—he reveals to Evadne a secret, hidden world of devilish demons and their obedient servants. George has dedicated himself to eradicating demon and diabolist alike, and now he needs Evadne’s help. But as she learns more, Evadne begins to believe that Lady Henry might actually be a diabolist … and even worse, she suspects Dorina might have become one too.

Combining swordplay, the supernatural, and Victorian high society, Creatures of Will and Temper reveals a familiar but strange London in a riff on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray that readers won’t soon forget.