News & Blog

Locus Reviews the Chasing the Dragon Audiobook

The Internet provides! Mere minutes after I put out the call to see if anyone had seen the Locus review, it was emailed to me by Sean Wallace of Prime Books. Here’s the review in full:

Chasing the Dragon, Nicholas Kaufmann; narrated by Alex Foster (Iambik Audio 978-192667391-2, digital, $6.99, 3.5 hr., unabridged) November 2011. Cover by Erik Mohr.

This tightly written, gory novella offers an unusual twist on a classic legend. Georgia Quincey is the last of a long line of champions descended from St. George, charged with destroying the dragon that the saint did not actually manage to slay. Loneliness and despair have driven the young woman to a heroin addiction, but despite that, she must still follow her destiny to an epic confrontation with the creature in a rundown New Mexico town.

It’s extremely unusual for an audiobook’s narrator to have an English accent when the author, the characters, and the setting all happen to be American. In addition, both the protagonist and the antagonist are female, and the narrator is male. Perhaps the argument could be made that St. George and the Dragon is a quintessentially English story (not that that explains the gender issue), and certainly no fault can be found with Alex Foster’s dry, almost clinical, but certainly compassionate rendering. One can actually hear him take in a breath at several moments, which isn’t common in most recordings, but it doesn’t detract much from the production’s quality, which is definitely worth a few hours of your time.

I understand the concerns about using a male British reader for this particular book. I had similar concerns myself, but from the start Alex Foster blew us all away with his audition, and we all knew we had the right person for the job. His narration is exemplary.

If you’ve been putting off reading Chasing the Dragon because you’d rather have it on audio, now’s the time to pick up a copy. You can get it formatted for iTunes, iPods, iPads, iPhones, or any other media player, too. Easy peasy! And of course it’s still available in trade paperback and eBook form as well.

Chasing the Dragon in Locus

According to Locus Online, the Chasing the Dragon audiobook is reviewed in the April 2012 issue of Locus. Could someone with a copy let me know what it says? It’s in the “Locus Listens to Audiobooks” section starting on page 29. Thank you, People of the Internet!

2011 Bram Stoker Award Winners & Vampire Novel of the Century Announced

I know it’s April Fool’s Day and this list of Stoker winners might appear suspicious because it actually includes some authors and publishers you’ve heard of, instead of just the usual HWA members and small presses that almost exclusively publish them, but I assure you it’s real! I suspect the new semi-juried system is to thank for making this list of winners somewhat less embarrassing than the lists have been of late, at least in my opinion. (Though, as you’ll see, at least one of the old issues is unfortunately still alive and kicking.) So here are the winners, announced at a ceremony last night at the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City, which also marked the 25th anniversary of the awards:

Superior Achievement in a NOVEL
Flesh Eaters by Joe McKinney (Pinnacle Books)

Superior Achievement in a FIRST NOVEL
Isis Unbound by Allyson Bird (Dark Regions Press)

Superior Achievement in a YOUNG ADULT NOVEL (tie)
The Screaming Season by Nancy Holder (Razorbill)
Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Superior Achievement in a GRAPHIC NOVEL
Neonomicon by Alan Moore (Avatar Press)

Superior Achievement in LONG FICTION
“The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine” by Peter Straub (Conjunctions: 56)

Superior Achievement in SHORT FICTION
“Herman Wouk Is Still Alive” by Stephen King (The Atlantic Magazine, May 2011)

Superior Achievement in a SCREENPLAY
American Horror Story, episode #12: “Afterbirth” by Jessica Sharzer (20th Century Fox Television)

Superior Achievement in a FICTION COLLECTION
The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates (Mysterious Press)

Superior Achievement in an ANTHOLOGY
Demons: Encounters with the Devil and his Minions, Fallen Angels and the Possessed edited by John Skipp (Black Dog and Leventhal)

Superior Achievement in NON-FICTION
Stephen King: A Literary Companion by Rocky Wood (McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers)

(Here, unfortunately, is the issue I mentioned up top. With all due respect to Mr. Wood, in the year when Jason Zinoman’s superlative Shock Value comes out, not to mention John Landis’ extensive and gorgeously illustrated Monsters in the Movies, to give the award to the organization’s president for his Nth book on Stephen King minutia, strikes me as indicative that some of the old nepotistic problems with the Stokers still exist. Hopefully, the continuation of a semi-juried approach will eventually make this a thing of the past, but every time the organization eschews quality works to give the award to its own president–this isn’t the first time–the Stoker’s legacy and import are cheapened.)

Superior Achievement in a POETRY COLLECTION
How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend by Linda Addison (Necon Ebooks)

But that’s not all! The HWA, in conjunction with the Bram Stoker Family Estate and the Rosenbach Museum & Library, also presented the special Vampire Novel of the Century Award. Regular readers of this blog know that I had my virtual money on either Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend or Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, with Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire a possible but distant spoiler. Well, the winner is:

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

No surprises there, really. Frankly, I would have been more surprised if Interview had won, since it features romantic vampires and the HWA kind of hates that. But I love I Am Legend and thus am satisfied with the award.

Congratulations are in order to all the winners, and also to Rick Hautala and Joe R. Lansdale, both of whom were awarded the HWA’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award. I know Rick personally, and he’s such a great, sweet man that I kind of wish I could have been there to congratulate him in person. It’ll just have to wait until this year’s NECon, I suppose. I’d say drinks are on me, but hell, you’d have to have Mitt Romney levels of money to buy anyone drinks at NECon!