Super Bass: A Tor.Com Original by Kai Ashante Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Super Bass is a dense, ‘slice-of-life’ piece of fantasy fiction that’s also a love story. The prose is rich, sensual and deeply interior. It reminds of me of early Samuel R Delany, when he just throws you into an alien landscape and then challenges you to fill in the dots. The milleu has a vague Candomble feel, a lush tropical world where the gods inhabit/”possess” their chosen vessels, transforming them into supernatural healers. The story is about a consort to one of these god-vessels. Polyamory and same-gender relationships are the norm. The use of language reminds of me Kiini Ibura Salaam’s work.
“Love doesn’t take the burdens away, only makes them worth bearing.”
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Death’s Master is finally an ebook, released by Immanion Press. It’s an epic fantasy told in the high style full of eroticism and horror, as well as beauty. Part runaway Wildean fantasia, part Arabian Nights, here’s what I said about the Flat Earth series as a whole:
The eroticism in the text [is] exploratory but tempered by a peculiar kind of innocence, helped in no small part by the jewel-like precision of the prose. There [are] horrors in the stories, but there [is] also tenderness. It is [Tanith] Lee’s special talent to mix both tenderness and terror.
The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’d always planned on reading THE DEATH OF THE NECROMANCER but it was out of print by the time I got around to it. Thanks to technology, the novel has a new life. It’s a kind of “gaslight” fantasy, set in an ancient city that has overtones of Belle Epoch Paris and Dickensian London where magic exists alongside steam trains and gas lights. Vienne, with its decadent Great Houses, predatory aristocracy and pockets of ruin, is a character in it’s own right. The master criminal Nicholas Valiardre is the debonair, dashing hero. (I cast Ryan Gosling as Valiardre). The female lead, the actress and amateur sorceress Madeline is a secondary POV–I saw Jennifer Lawrence in this role. The plot of a mix of court intrigue, mystery and penny dreadful. References include Dangerous Liaisons, the works of Dumas and the Gothic fiction of LeFanu or Gaston Leroux.
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