Mike’s Prattle


Books Received; Lucius Shepard “Romance of the Century;” Sherry Decker Hook House and Other Horrors; Steven Brust – Dzur

Posted by Mike on August 15, 2006

  • Richard Brautigan – A Confederate General from Big Sur/Dreaming of Babylon/The Hawkline Monster
  • The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce
  • Fritz Leiber – The Dealings of Daniel Kesserich
  • Carol Emshwiller – Carmen Dog
  • J. Sheridan LeFanu – Best Ghost Stories of
  • Jon Courtenay Grimwood – Felaheen
  • William Beckford – Vathek
  • Layne/Lake ed. – Polyphony 1
  • Layne/Lake ed. – Polyphony 2
  • Barrington J. Bayley – The Knights of the Limits
  • Keith Roberts – Grainne

You can find “Romance of the Century” here. It’s not a typical Shepard story for the most part, although it does have some of his touches in the relationship aspects. It’s in second person and describes a number of possible futuristic dare-seeking hobbies. It’s not a surprise it hasn’t shown up in a collection, it would definitely be the odd one out.

I managed to finished Sherry Decker’s Hook House collection, which is a rather nice collection of horror, mystery and fantasy stories with a unique voice. All the stories are good, but the title novella with a house with a curse and its effects on the generations was one of the best in the book, I liked the way the relationship of the protagonist weaved through the story through the years. Most of the other stories are shorter and most have female protagonists which give them a very contemporary feel. I think the closest comparison I could make would be to the work of Kelly Link, but Decker’s narratives generally aren’t as ambiguous, I still sense a little M.R. James, Blackwood and the like.

Steven Brust’s Dzur is the tenth Vlad Taltos novel, a light hearted series I’ve enjoyed reading and thought was getting better and better as each new book added to the overall complexity of the world and story. In fact, Issola, the last book was probably the best of the series yet, so it’s with some disappointment that I have to say that this one was more akin to Dragon or some of the early novels, with a more straightforward narrative. It reads like a mystery novel for the most part with Taltos spending over half the book trying to figure out a puzzle that involves his ex-wife. As good as it was to get back to the Taltos/Loioish banter and wit, it seemed mostly like a big set up with all sorts of pieces coming together, for … nothing to really happen. A stalemate is reached that more or less reset the novel to the beginning. Taltos knows a little more that he did before, but there are no startling plot twists are moments of awe, like in the better books of the series. It was funny, flipping through the book it was as if most of the writing was constant conversations, often only 3-10 words long, so the read just zipped by. I’ll still be reading the series, but it was a little disappointing.


One Response to “Books Received; Lucius Shepard “Romance of the Century;” Sherry Decker Hook House and Other Horrors; Steven Brust – Dzur”

  1. Sherry Decker said


    Thanks for the kind comments regarding, “Hook House & Other Horrors.” I’m flattered by the comparisons to the other writers you mentioned, and, I’m encouraged to keep slogging away at my first novel. Take care.

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