Archive for the 'reviews' Category

Mar 10 2013

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Lois the Witch and Other Stories

gaskell

My review of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Lois the Witch and Other Stories is now live at Innsmouth Free Press as part of their Women in Horror Week. Like most Victorian writers Gaskell wrote her share of ghost stories and those in the collection are a nice grim assortment. Not only that but I suggest that Gaskell’s ghost stories serve as proto-noir and precursors to the  works of Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson, and Dorothy Hughes.

I also make a joke about bonnets and four-in-hand neckties.

Go check it out.


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Dec 21 2011

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Cover art for Lance of Earth and Sky! Plus, get Clockwork Phoenix on Kindle

We're sliding into the holidays, and there is prettiness to share! Behold, Dehong's latest lovely creation:


(Click the image to open a larger version.)

You can now preorder Lance of Earth and Sky on Amazon also. :)

It's truly an honor to have another cover from Dehong. I understand he's been very busy with Time Voyager (and their MMO coincidentally titled Chaos Gate!), so it's especially fortunate that he was able to make some time for Andovar. :)

Also, you can now pick up Clockwork Phoenix on Kindle for $3.99! The anthology was critically acclaimed and has some great stories in it from Laird Barron, Leah Bobet, Michael J. DeLuca, and others -- including my fableish thing "Root and Vein", which got a nice call out from this recent review at Dark Cargo.

Reviews continue to come in for Sword of Fire and Sea and I have been inexcusably lax in getting them all compiled onto my website. But That Bookish Girl says "Sword of Fire and Sea by Erin Hoffman was an incredibly exciting and compelling read." -- and SFFWorld.com weighs in on gryphons and more: "Through her characters, Hoffman imbues the Gryphons with a true sense of awe, and an initial feeling of them being the Other."

I hope you are all winding toward a great holiday season, and an even better 2012.

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Oct 10 2009

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Another post brought to you by the letters ADHD.

Filed under hm,nervous wreck,reviews

Despite our trip not being for another two weeks, I have decided to already start packing. People keep asking me if I am a nervous flyer and I keep saying “No, it’s only those thirty minutes of vividly imagining my gruesome death in various ways during take-off and landing that get me down.”

Talk Like a Pirate Day brought a number of reviews of FAST SHIPS, BLACK SAILS and my pirate cook story, “Skillet & Saber”. The Greenman Review called it “A rousing cook-off competition story, by extremes mouth-watering and vomit-inducing…” and the Horror and Dark Fantasy webzine Flames Rising said, “Howe dances across the line between disgusting and delicious…". Both of these reviews made me happy, and if I die in the coming weeks, say in a fiery plane crash, please have this second one (edited into the past tense, of course) inscribed on my tombstone, urn, or commemorative plate.

I’ve been rereading Jack Kirby’s FOURTH WORLD collections. (There’s an omnibus edition out now that might be worth buying.) Jeez--Kirby sure took purple prose and kicked it up to ultra-violet levels, didn't he? Has anyone ever proposed a Talk Like Jack Kirby Day? It’d be fun, except for all the yahoos who’d stop at “It’s clobberin’ time” and “’Nuff said.” Maybe those are Stan Lee’s fault.

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Oct 10 2009

Profile Image of I Don't Mind Being Late

Another post brought to you by the letters ADHD.

Filed under hm,nervous wreck,reviews

Despite our trip not being for another two weeks, I have decided to already start packing. People keep asking me if I am a nervous flyer and I keep saying “No, it’s only those thirty minutes of vividly imagining my gruesome death in various ways during take-off and landing that get me down.”

Talk Like a Pirate Day brought a number of reviews of FAST SHIPS, BLACK SAILS and my pirate cook story, “Skillet & Saber”. The Greenman Review called it “A rousing cook-off competition story, by extremes mouth-watering and vomit-inducing…” and the Horror and Dark Fantasy webzine Flames Rising said, “Howe dances across the line between disgusting and delicious…". Both of these reviews made me happy, and if I die in the coming weeks, say in a fiery plane crash, please have this second one (edited into the past tense, of course) inscribed on my tombstone, urn, or commemorative plate.

I’ve been rereading Jack Kirby’s FOURTH WORLD collections. (There’s an omnibus edition out now that might be worth buying.) Jeez--Kirby sure took purple prose and kicked it up to ultra-violet levels, didn't he? Has anyone ever proposed a Talk Like Jack Kirby Day? It’d be fun, except for all the yahoos who’d stop at “It’s clobberin’ time” and “’Nuff said.” Maybe those are Stan Lee’s fault.

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May 20 2009

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Miscellaneous updates

I'm pretty sure several things I was going to post about have since fallen out of my head, but I thought I'd grab a couple of these because they are cool.

As you may have seen if you were watching time_shark's journal during April, the 10th anniversary issue of Mythic Delirium is out, with a quite wonderful poem by Neil Gaiman as well as terrific work from people like sovay, tithenai+mer_moon, dkolodji, ericmarin, and others (sorry if I missed others with LJ accounts!). And "Beauty Sleep", probably the darkest thing I've written. It's quite a terrific issue, and if you enjoy speculative things or poetry or (gasp) both, take a look.

There have also been several reviews. charlesatan reviews the whole issue here, saying "While there's a certain similarity to each of the poems (i.e. the aforementioned inclusion of an easily-identifiable narrative), they're diverse enough that they elicit a different form of satisfaction depending on the poet and the piece. 'Beauty Sleep' by Erin Hoffman for example tangentially refers to a popular fairy tale and subverting its common interpretation, combining bluntness with beautiful images.". erzebet in the recently redesigned Cabinet des Fees reviews the full issue also, with the kind (I think :) ) "Erin Hoffman works a fairy tale into a brutal collection of stanzas", saying as well for the entire issue "Issue 20 is, without a doubt, Mike’s mythic masterwork.". hooks_and_books devotes a full paragraph to each poem over in his review, separated by parts:

I like the twist of the tale that Hoffman presents, combining aspects of the princess and the evil fairy into one deep persona. The voice in this piece is deservedly bitter, but works will carrying that bitterness or anger all the way through. Also, Hoffman takes the tale back to it's Italian origins, which is nice to see. Some of the line breaks seem off to me--"A king, it happens; and when I" or "his queen is cold and empty as"--which creates a choppy rhythm to the piece for me. There is still a lot that is working in this piece, certainly enough to make it successful.


The sheer volume of reviews focused on poetry is unusual for the space, and likely largely thanks to one Mr. Gaiman, but it's neat to see nonetheless.

In the short story world, Lois Tilton does not eviscerate me for "Stormchaser, Stormshaper":

There is a lot of fresh and original stuff here, the gryphons and the sea magic, and the descriptions are well-crafted. At the heart of the story is Ruby's inner conflict between piracy—making her mother proud—and her inner magic, which involves a strong empathy for her victims. The author loads the moral balance by justifying the pirates' activities as self-defense, about which I have my doubts. Making your mother proud is not a good reason for murder.


The catching up continues...

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May 20 2009

Profile Image of Erin

Miscellaneous updates

I'm pretty sure several things I was going to post about have since fallen out of my head, but I thought I'd grab a couple of these because they are cool.

As you may have seen if you were watching time_shark's journal during April, the 10th anniversary issue of Mythic Delirium is out, with a quite wonderful poem by Neil Gaiman as well as terrific work from people like sovay, tithenai+mer_moon, dkolodji, ericmarin, and others (sorry if I missed others with LJ accounts!). And "Beauty Sleep", probably the darkest thing I've written. It's quite a terrific issue, and if you enjoy speculative things or poetry or (gasp) both, take a look.

There have also been several reviews. charlesatan reviews the whole issue here, saying "While there's a certain similarity to each of the poems (i.e. the aforementioned inclusion of an easily-identifiable narrative), they're diverse enough that they elicit a different form of satisfaction depending on the poet and the piece. 'Beauty Sleep' by Erin Hoffman for example tangentially refers to a popular fairy tale and subverting its common interpretation, combining bluntness with beautiful images.". erzebet in the recently redesigned Cabinet des Fees reviews the full issue also, with the kind (I think :) ) "Erin Hoffman works a fairy tale into a brutal collection of stanzas", saying as well for the entire issue "Issue 20 is, without a doubt, Mike’s mythic masterwork.". hooks_and_books devotes a full paragraph to each poem over in his review, separated by parts:

I like the twist of the tale that Hoffman presents, combining aspects of the princess and the evil fairy into one deep persona. The voice in this piece is deservedly bitter, but works will carrying that bitterness or anger all the way through. Also, Hoffman takes the tale back to it's Italian origins, which is nice to see. Some of the line breaks seem off to me--"A king, it happens; and when I" or "his queen is cold and empty as"--which creates a choppy rhythm to the piece for me. There is still a lot that is working in this piece, certainly enough to make it successful.


The sheer volume of reviews focused on poetry is unusual for the space, and likely largely thanks to one Mr. Gaiman, but it's neat to see nonetheless.

In the short story world, Lois Tilton does not eviscerate me for "Stormchaser, Stormshaper":

There is a lot of fresh and original stuff here, the gryphons and the sea magic, and the descriptions are well-crafted. At the heart of the story is Ruby's inner conflict between piracy—making her mother proud—and her inner magic, which involves a strong empathy for her victims. The author loads the moral balance by justifying the pirates' activities as self-defense, about which I have my doubts. Making your mother proud is not a good reason for murder.


The catching up continues...

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Jun 17 2008

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Determined to foment a rebellion 2008-06-17 14:39:22

So, I am sitting here in my silk kimono robe (don't get too excited, I'm also wearing a t-shirt and jeans) and my slippers and I'm feeling very writerly. It's a nice feeling considering that over the past few days I've been going through one of those crises of conscience about what constitutes "important" writing (thanks, Time book). But now I have to go buy groceries. It's a glamorous existence.

Sometimes, though, there is praise. The writing life is enough of a persistent beatdown that I am always shocked when this happens.

First, Kieron Gillen enjoyed "Slave to the Beat", which went up a week ago and I kind of forgot to tell you folks about (oops):

Erin Hoffman writes about Audition Online for the Escapist. I’ve played a little of this MMO rhythm action game, and went away a tad depressed, but Erin goes completely native in an entertaining fashion. I’m probably alone in my wish for an actual game-of-the-film Audition though, in a kirri-kirri-kirri kind of way.


Kieron recently made yet another top-game-journalists list; he's certainly one of the better guys working in the field, so anything from him feels like high praise while I trudge along as a sort of confused non-game-journalist.

And Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews issue #27 of Lone Star Stories at TheFix, including "Whatever Shall Grow There, Dear":

Annamarie’s viewpoint is expertly developed. The way she catches fragments of conversation and meaning from her parent’s arguments but is completely sensitive to the underlying emotional reality of which those arguments are symptomatic rings true. There are numerous images that are beautiful without being ornate, touching and innocent without being sentimental (“Pale late afternoon sunlight filtered through the gauzy white curtains in the living room and made the oiled oak floors glow burnt orange.”) They place us in Annamarie’s world and convey a sense of ethical sensitivity, an almost ennobling naivete, by acting as metaphors for her thoughts and emotions.

The storytelling technique is deceptively simple, and the characters all fully realized. Hoffman centers the tale around Annamarie’s coming-of-age, to great effect, and delivers a knockout ending that bears the bountiful fruits of transformation.


As mentioned when I announced the sale, it's a special story and a difficult one for me, so it's extremely gratifying to see someone "get" it, reviewer or otherwise. I would say there's even a difference between "praise" and when someone "gets" your writing -- they extrapolate meaning from the original work that was there in your heart but not obviously stated on the page, painting a picture that resonates with the emotional framework of the story's origin. It's a feeling of kinship, and it's at the core of why I send this stuff out, to test for those precious connections between experiences and minds. Otherwise it could all just stay in the trunk; it's dangerous, after all, to dissect a part of yourself and spin it into something that you invite people to poke with sticks. But I'm glad this one got out.

Alvaro's review is worth note because he actually covered the poetry in the issue, too -- something that I wish more reviewers would do on The Fix and in spec-fic reviews in general. The poetry in that issue was terrific and well deserving of contemplation and highlight.

Okay, groceries now.

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