News from the Book World

Reader’s Delight: Gollancz Big Black Books

Gollanz black books

We love Penguin’s leather bound hardcovers. They basically cover good old classics. A lesser known but equally attractive offering is Gollancz’s Big Black Book series. There are just a few big black books in the series, but they offer some excellent compilations.

The Complete Chronicles of Conan by Robert E. Howard – Probably the only complete collection of original Conan stories. You are not a pulp fiction fan if you do not own this.

Conan’s Brethren: The Complete Collection by Robert E. Howard– The most unusual collection. It covers the exploits of the Solomon Kane, Howard’s first barbarian hero King Kull, Bran Mak Morn, Red Sonja and others.

Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales by HP Lovecraft – Unlike the Barnes and Noble edition, this is not a complete collection. However, in terms of presentation, it is vastly superior with excellent illustrations and a comprehensive afterword by Stephen Jones.

Eldritch Tales: A Miscellany of the Macabre by H.P. Lovecraft – Includes Lovecraft’s remaining major stories plus his weird poetry, nonfiction, and the critical essay Supernatural Horror in Literature.

The Complete Lyonesse (Lyonesse #1-3) by Jack Vance – An omnibus edition of Vance’s magnum opus. Like a goodreads review rightly mentioned “If Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is the greatest fantasy epic of the 20th century, then Lyonesse is surely the greatest fairy tale.”

Tarzan of the Apes & Other Tales by Edgar Rice Burroughs – A selective collection but the best Tarzan stories feature here.

The achievement of Gollancz BIg Black Book series is essentially its atypical selection of works along with great presentation. We have plenty of publishers playing safe with Dickens and Austen. Glad to see some good folks betting on Lovecraft and Howard.
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Cover of the Week

Cover of the Week: Prisoner of the Horned Helmet by James Silke / Frank Frazetta

Death Dealer Frank Frazetta

 

Death Dealer is a 1973 fantasy painting by legendary pulp artist Frank Frazetta. Its popularity led to a variety of spin offs including comic books and novels. The novels were written by James Silke and there were five installments in the series. Though the books were criticized for being too simplistic, Frazetta’s intense touch gave them an eerie feeling. The plots were silly, the characters were underdeveloped, the story was a stereotypical sword and sorcery tale, but to a certain degree, they do bring to life the vivid imagination of Frazetta through brutally rendered imageries and savage emotions. The above cover art evokes a feeling of a nuclear apocalypse though Frazetta himself often denied it. It is not the first in the series but undoubtedly carries the same menace and grittiness of the original painting and of course, it is my personal favorite.

Book 1: Prisoner of the Horned Helmet

Book 2: Lords of Destruction

Book 3: Tooth and Claw

Book 4: Plague of Knives

Book 5: Rise Of The Death Dealer

Cover art: Tor Books (1988), artist — Frank Frazetta

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Download Free ebooks

Download ebook: 1984 by George Orwell (Audiobook)

1984 George Orwell

 

The much acclaimed and prophetic classic by Orwell has stood the test of time. Is it perfect? Absolutely not.

Does it have the flawless symmetry of Austen’s novels? Not really.

Could Orwell delineate the characters like Dostoevsky? Barely.

Does it have the devilish sense of humor so conspicuous of The Animal Firm? No.

Is the plot original? Far from it (check We by Yevgeny Zamyatin).

Does it have a touch of Salman Rushdie’s poetic story telling? Actually, it is more of an essay.

Orwell’s 1984 should be read for reasons of its own. In spite of its flaws, it makes a terrifying future too real for a work of fiction. It could be a Nazi Germany, a Fascist Italy, a so-called socialistic Russia, Napoleon’s despotic France or a combination of all of them. How common are “Big Brothers” in the world as it exists today? “Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.” — does this tone seem familiar across socio-economic-political levels? This is not a review of the book, so let the reader be the judge of how imposing Orwell view of the human future is.

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” – what follows would possibly change the way you look at any ideology or propaganda and wonder, like Wordsworth said, “What man has made of man.”

Download ebook 1984 by George Orwell (Audiobook) – Click here

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Opinion & Featured Articles

Just Delivered: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms George R.R. Martin

Alright, this is not a review because I am yet to read the book.

If you are into Game of Thrones, this is something you should not skip (just making an educated guess). The book is a prequel to The Songs of Ice and Fire series and is a collection of the following three novellas:

1) The Hedge Knight
2) The Sworn Sword
3) The Mystery Knight

Just the thought that the Targaryens still hold the Iron Throne gives me goosebumps.

The illustrations by Gary Gianni are top notch.

Just got this book from Amazon, and this post is basically a shameless show-off of my excitement 🙂

If you have already read the book, do share your thoughts on it.

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Horror / Fantasy / SF / Reviews

Book review: Brood of the Witch Queen by Sax Rohmer

brood of the witch queen sax rohmer

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Brood of the Witch Queen is one of the creepiest and scariest books of Sax Rohmer — the creator of the fiendish Fu Manchu and Sumuru. Originally serialized in a British Magazine, this intriguing Egyptian tale of ancient curse and black magic takes you from London to Cairo involving a great adventure.

The Story

Set in London in the early 1900s, this is a tale of ancient sorcery with vampires and crawly bugs. Dr. Richard and Robert Cairn fights against diabolical powers and a dark figure called Anthony Ferarra. And the odds turn terrible when Ferarra’s ancient ancestor — a Polish/Jewish witch that placed a curse on her husband’s family — casts her evil shadow.

The Style

Rohmer’s novel reflects his passion for dramatic prose and abrupt ending. Also, the characterization seems a bit wooden. Nonetheless, Brood of the Witch Queen holds a lot of value in terms of pulp entertainment. This fast moving novel is full of adventure and creepy scenes. The plot, though predictable, will not disappoint you. Though the book is about a century old, it does not seem much dated.

Not a perfect story, pretty much over the top, but Brood of the Witch Queen is pure escapist fun.

Similar Books:

Jewel of the Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley

Rating ***

Brood of the Witch Queen by Sax Rohmer ebook Download

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/19706

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