Art for “The Fire and the Stag”

This afternoon, Andy Cox, the editor of Black Static, sent me the utterly amazing art by Ben Baldwin that will accompany my story “The Fire and the Stag” in Black Static #63, which will be out in May. I love it!

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal GirlPaul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Funny, insightful, and often quite charming, Andrea Lawlor’s PAUL TAKES THE FORM OF A MORTAL GIRL comes as a pleasant surprise. The novel follows the life of twenty-two year old queer shapeshifter Paul, who can change his shape from male to female and back again at will. It’s a clever and effective allegory for trans and non-binary experiences, but it also works very well as a character trait. Paul, like many twenty-somethings, is full of outward confidence but lacks true self-esteem; he is constantly looking for outside validation through being an object of attraction and uses his shapeshifting abilities to get it. He wonders if there are others like him out there or if he is unique in the world, and what it would mean if either of those are true.

There isn’t much in the way of plot per se as we read about Paul’s relationships and his travels to different parts of the country, but I found the characters always interesting and there was a lot of sex to keep my attention. I don’t mean that reductively or as an exaggeration. There is A LOT of sex in this book — straight sex, gay sex, lesbian sex — and to Lawlor’s credit it’s a very sex-positive novel. (Although not all the sex is presented as sexy; a hurried blowjob in a dirty alley is presented just as unenticingly as you think it would be.) The author evokes the world of 1993 perfectly, and at times takes a fanciful approach to their subject, intoning certain mythically evocative names, interspersing versions of Paul’s backstory in the form of folklore and legend, all to great and sometimes even profound effect.

Although I found myself wishing for a slightly stronger ending, the ending Lawlor gives us is certainly the right one. I can’t recommend this novel highly enough to anyone interested in queer fiction, or literary fiction that’s laced with and informed by the fantastic. Lawlor studied under Samuel R. Delany, and it shows in both their talent and imagination. (And their graphic depictions of sex! Seriously, if you don’t like reading about sex, this is not the book for you!) I look forward to seeing what else Lawlor writes in the future.

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Happy St. George’s Day!

Chasing the Dragon by Nick Kaufmann

On this St. George’s Day, I would like to remind you that I wrote a book about St. George’s last living descendant, her heroin habit, and the Dragon. And as luck would have it, the paperback is currently on sale at Amazon for cheaper than the e-book!

Two More Blurbs for 100 FATHOMS BELOW!

Hot on the heels of Jonathan Maberry’s blurb, which I revealed last week, two more exciting blurbs have come in for 100 Fathoms Below!

“Claustrophobic Cold War combat with plenty of vampires, 100 Fathoms Below is what would happen if The Hunt for Red October had a baby with ‘Salem’s Lot and it joined the Navy.” — Grady Hendrix, author of Paperbacks from Hell

“The tension never lets up in this white-knuckle thrill ride. You can feel the pressure of the freezing cold ocean bearing down on you, feel the terror as the bodies pile up. I couldn’t stop reading — I had to know what horrific thing waited around the next corner, behind the next hatch of the USS Roanoke. This book will make you gasp — and scream.” — David Wellington, author of 13 Bullets

100 Fathoms Below is scheduled to be published October 9th, but you can pre-order the novel right now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite bookseller!

 

 

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