Category Archives: Reviews

Quick Review: Crooked by Austin Grossman

There is a special place in my heart for both Secret Histories and Eldritch Beings, and Austin Grossman’s Crooked ticks both those boxes very neatly. The twist? Crooked is the story of the rise and fall of Richard M. Nixon, the 37th president of the US.

It’s quite a trick to take on the voice of such a well-known and often reviled figure as Nixon, let alone make readers sympathetic towards him, but that’s just what Grossman does. Never does the prose bog down in squamous Lovecraftian verbiage, yet H.P.’s influence runs strongly through the story. Of particular note is just how much of the lurking horrors of the world are left just at the edge of the page, with readers getting only fleeting glimpses at the things in the shadows. I’ve seen some readers complain about this, but I found it to be a powerful part of the story, as the horrors I can imagine are all the more insidious than what any writer can explicitly describe.

This book was 100% my jam, and I hope that you like it, too.

Buy Crooked on Amazon and support sporadic blogging!

Advertisements

Short Fiction Roundup: Late May, Early June

So I’m pretty determined to actually read some things that come out this year during the year they’re published, so that maybe I can make more informed awards decisions next year. To that end, I now present some short fiction I read recently and really enjoyed, featuring terrifying babies, terrifying waffles, and something that isn’t a bomb.

First up (and most recently published), is “Look,” by Sarah @gaileyfrey Gailey, whose bio indicates that she’s local to me, so maybe I can blame her in person when I have trouble sleeping tonight. “Look” is a seriously creepy story which had added weight for me because recently everyone around me is having babies. It’ll only take you a few minutes to read, but it will stick with you for quite some time.

Next up, “Marcie’s Waffles Are the Best in Town,” by Twitter’s @ghostwritingcow (wtf?), AKA Sunil Patel (another Oaklander). As Sunil tells it, this story came from his asking twitter for a writing prompt last summer and getting “apocalyptic waffles” in response. If I taught writing, I would probably use this story as an example of how you do sensory writing the right way. This story will make you hungry for waffles. It’s also a sad story about the aftermath of the apocalypse, and a mother’s guilt. It isn’t actually terrifying—I lied for the sake of the pattern—but it is a sad story (and damn good). So maybe go cheer yourself up with waffles afterwards? And a milkshake.

Finally, we have “Time Bomb Time,” by C.C. Finlay (@ccfinlay), who lives in Arizona, I think, and therefore is very far away from Oakland. I love a lot of things about this story, and one of them is that the title works on a couple levels, and you won’t get one of those levels until after you’ve read the story. (I only just got that level now, several days after reading the story, on reflecting about it, so.) Without wanting to spoil much, this is one of the freshest takes I’ve read in a while on time travel (sort of). I give it [*National Movie Review voice*] three thumbs up.

Anyhow, those are some of the stories I’ve read recently that I really enjoyed. I’ll try to make this a more regular occurrence on here. Now go read. What are you waiting for?


%d bloggers like this: