Magpie Monday

Here are some shiny things that caught my eye recently:

♦ This week’s recommendation for All Hallow’s Read is a graphic novel:  Criminal Macabre, written by Steve Niles and illustrated by artists like Ben Templesmith, Kelley Jones, Kyle Hotz, and Nick Stakal. The first volume of the Criminal Macabre Omnibus came out recently, and I highly recommend it. Here’s the back copy:

In 2003 Steve Niles, creator of the 30 Days of Night comics series, launched a series of occult detective stories featuring the monstrously hard-boiled Cal McDonald. A pill-popping, alcoholic reprobate, Cal is the only line of defense between Los Angeles and a growing horde of zombies, vampires, possessed muscle cars, mad scientists, werewolves, and much more weirdness!

Anyone who reads even one issue of this horror noir will want more, so the omnibus, which collects five Cal McDonald stories, is the perfect Hallowe’en gift.

♦ Neil Gaiman wrote a great piece for The Guardian Blog about why he loves the short story in response to the BBC’s cutback of short stories (and a Tweetathon to raise awareness). My favorite part from the post:

But short stories are the best place for young writers to learn their craft: to try out different voices and techniques, to experiment, to learn. And they’re a wonderful place for old writers, when you have an idea that wouldn’t make it to novel length, one simple, elegant thing that needs to be said.

For my part, I love the short story as a form for writing, reading, and teaching. I hope the Tweetathon is successful.

♦ If you like Ryan Gosling and you like feminism (and I know someone who does), give the Feminist Ryan Gosling tumblr a look see.

♦ I’m not sure what to think after watching the trailer for The Raven on, starring John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe, called in by the police to help solve a series of murders based on his short stories. Also over at, Jo Walton continues her reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea books with The Tombs of Atuan.

♦ The online third edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is now beta launched. As much as I love the print edition, I’m happy to have quick and easy access to the information on the web. I hope an online edition of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy is in the works.

♦ Looking for a creepy, lovely webcomic? Try Margot’s Room by the fantastic Emily Carroll. The format is a slow reveal; as Carroll describes it, “‘Margot’s Room’ will be a 5-part story that will update every Friday until the end of October. Each week a new line of poetry will be revealed, providing a clue as to where to find the next comic (hint: it will correspond to something in Margot’s room). Just a heads up: it does contain horror elements, some sad stuff, and There Will Be (more) Blood.The main picture is seen at left. The third part was added this past Friday. Beautiful and disturbing—just the way I like my comics.

♦ Some shout-outs to blogs by friends of mine:

Adam Mills has started an interesting series of posts about writing different genders; check out Part 1 and Part 2; I’m looking forward to the next parts.

For a while now, Zachary Jernigan has been posting a great series called “Where I Write,” which, as Zack describes, “is a weekly visual presentation of my writer friends’ writing spaces with (or without) words of explanation.” Most recently, the incomparable Elizabeth Hand shared with Zack’s readers her writing cottage in Maine, which is certainly the envy of this writer. You can also check out Zack’s writing space and our friend Will Ludwigsen’s, too.

Taylor and Thomas have started a joint tumblr, Better Than Visiting Sunnydale, wherein they’re going “Buffisode” by “Buffisode” through the seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Fantastique Unfettered is having its First Annual Halloween Fundraiser. Help out if you can.

♦ For Cameron and other fans, I offer you….The Walken Dead.


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