Low Res Scan: News of the Black Feast and Other Random Reviews, Brian Stableford, 1992, 2009.
No, I am not going to review a collection of Stableford’s book reviews.
However, I will briefly note a few I found especially interesting.
His introduction notes that book reviews are mostly fillers that few people read. But authors do, and he apologizes for being hurtfully frank in some.
Of Screen by Barry Malzberg, he says
With defenders like that, of course, Hollywood needs no detractors, for no condemnation could possibly compare, in terms of horror or alarm, with that kind of justification . . .
He notes that Kim Newman’s The Night Mayor would only be possible, in its many references to film noir, in the age of home video. I was only lukewarm about the novel when I read it. I suspect, being more familiar with film noir now, my appreciation would be greater.
I have read Gustav Meyrinck’s The Green Face, so I liked the summation of his The Angel of the World.
Stableford was not a fan of Dan Simmons’ Lovedeath, mostly because of “The Great Lover” which he felt cheapened the experience of the Great War with its borrowed poetry and “sexy dream sequence” and ends in a moral contradicted by the other stories in the collection.
Of Kathe Koja’s Strange Angels expresses compassion for the insane by demonizing the sane. The truly mad are not as interesting or easy to take as their metaphorical counterparts.
His great admiration for Clark Ashton Smith shows up in reviews of Smiths Tales of Zothique and The Book of Hyperborea.
His long review of Ursula K. Le Guin and Brian Attebery’s The Norton Book of Science Fiction, 1960 -1990 has too little science in its tales. We also hear about Stableford’s controversial remarks about John Kessel’s “Invaders”.
Of the fiction in Alexander Jablokov’s collection The Breath of Suspension, he says the stories are art for art’s sake and for the self-obsessed reader. In another long review, Robert Silverberg’s The Fantasy Hall of Fame for its implicit assumption that the fantasy genre started in American magazines in 1939.