Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Who Could Resist...

...picking up a copy of a magazine of literary criticism whose cover lists "Torture, Cannibalism, and Necrophilia" as one of its features?

That would be the latest issue of Dead Reckonings (#4), edited by S. T. Joshi and the very late Jack Haringa (who was murdered so ignominiously on a great many blogs last year—many of which were collected in the volume, Jack Haringa Must Die, released last May by Merricat Publications).

It's probably my all-time favorite review zine, despite its thoroughly dead co-editor. With issue #4, I have special reason to be fond of it, since reviewer Matt Cardin tackled Other Gods, in an article called "Sometimes You Just Have to Gush" (which also covers Michael Shea's The Autopsy and Other Tales), and the title says it all. Mr. Cardin does indeed gush a little, but his review is thoughtful and balanced. He does call a spade a spade; when something falls flat for him, he up and says so, just as he absolutely ought. But with Other Gods also receiving other good reviews and having made the preliminary Stoker ballot, I feel like it is getting some positive recognition. That's particularly gratifying to me because the book is, after all, a fair sampler of the written work I've labored so hard over for the past twenty years.

Mercy, how life does go by.

My favorite Cardin quote of the review: "I finished the book feeling as if I had been processed through the kaleidoscopic imagination of a born storyteller. Other Gods is a superb example of what this sort of long-term collection is good for: It plainly highlights the author's long-running thematic obsessions and shows him circling back to revisit and reshape the concepts, tropes, and emotions that inspire him."

Note: Cardin's gushing article is the not the one about cannibalism, torture, necrophilia, etc. etc. For that, one must read on...

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