Only the awarding of a Blue Peter badge can normally get me as excited as I am right now. You see, the shortlist for the BFS Fantasy Awards 2011 was released a short while ago, and it’s a giddy time for our beloved genre. Whilst it’s great indeed to see strong books, authors and tales being deservedly nominated, it’s still more than compelling to see who will walk away a winner in the various categories. So, down to business.
The five nominations for best novel, for the August Derleth fantasy award, are: Adam Nevill’s Apartment 16, Sam Stone’s Demon Dance, Tom Fletcher’s The Leaping, Gary McMahon’s Pretty Little Dead Things and Graham Joyce’s The Silent Land. I’ve not yet read Demon Dance, so I can’t pass comment, but a review of Pretty Little Dead things will be forthcoming later this week. I am scared to say which I prefer to win for fear of jinxing it, but I wish all nominees the best of luck. Click here to read more.. »
Tom Fletcher’s 2010 debut horror novel The Leaping was an eye opener in the direction of the new blood emerging on the circuit in its skilled author; it was also a breath of fresh air in regards to his approach to the genre.
At its heart lay a group introspective, an exploration of relationships, platonic and otherwise, within a circle of friends. And beneath this lay a slumbering, brutal tale that was equally raw, honest, and often times beautiful and bleak. Oh yes, and there was a bucket load of Mario Kart thrown in for good measure.
With The Thing on the Shore there’s a continuation of many of the same themes that made The Leaping so endearing, and compulsive. Yet there’s also a twist to the yarn that makes this book stand up for analysis on its own as equally well as its forebear. Click here to read more.. »
At its heart The Leaping is a novel of relationships, and of individuals intertwined together as they make their way through the melancholy and bittersweet paths of early adult life. The focus is on several friends who live together and all work at the same call-centre in Manchester, as they experience the fun and frustrations afforded by their environment.
Work is dull, the atmosphere and duties vacuous, but bills must be paid after all, and the group of friends compensate for a hard day at the office by enjoying good company over numerous shared activities. Be it a night out on the town, a team game of Mario Kart, joint bemusement at the quirky behaviours of others in their clique, there is a solid support foundation should any of them need it.
Told from the first person perspective of different members of the group, but primarily of male leads Jack and Francis, the novel spends a fair amount of time grounding us in the lives of its charges. Fletcher does a great job of setting the scene and explaining the individual dynamics of the composite group members. Each is more fully fleshed out through anecdotes from other characters, who also share their own thoughts and worries, and also through the identity ascribed them by their own tastes in films, books, music and games. Click here to read more.. »
I just wanted to wish all of our readers out there a Happy New Year! May 2011 bring you much joy and happiness, and many, many great spooky books.
Looking at my reading pile (which is as epic as Dan Simmons’ recently reviewed Carrion Comfort) I have to say that without even taking into account some of the cool new upcoming books headed our way in 2011, I’ve still a fair few volumes sprinkled in from the past few years and decades to make my way through. Not that I’m complaining you understand.
I am eagerly looking forward to the new horror, supernatural and weird books headed our way this year. Three books especially stand out for me that will see publication in the first few months of the year. Click here to read more.. »