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Mummify This!

By Denise Dumars     December 01, 2000

Trials, Tribulations, Shopping...

Even small presses are trying to offer something special this holiday seasonwhich, despite every idiot on the planet going to the Del Amo Mall in Torrance, CA, the day after Thanksgiving, still is not expected to live up to, well, expectations.

Was that a sentence or what?

Anyway, Dark Tales Publications is offering the new J. Michael Straczynski novel Tribulations, previously mentioned in this column, at a 40% discount for the holiday season. Visit www.bookface.com and click on 'Tribulations' to get this new noir novel (say that three times really fast) for only $14.99. Might make a good gift for the Straczynski fan, along with one of the ever popular 'Save Crusade' t-shirts.

Not to be outdone by Dark Tales, Gauntlet Press is making available signed limited edition gift certificates from some of their most popular authors. Press 'gift certificate' at www.gauntletpress.com for info on certificates you can redeem, along with a print illustration from a Gauntlet title signed by the author or artist. Signers include Clive Barker, Poppy Z. Brite, Richard Matheson and more.

Intelligent consumer? Green Party member? Tree-hugging hippie? Shop with a conscience at www.greenmarketplace.com. And check out just how evil that corporation is who makes your favorite gift at www.responsibleshopper.com. Then take that Ralph Nader bumpersticker off your car before some angry Gore supporter trashes it (the car, not the bumper sticker.)

Fiction Focus

Last Resort may bring to mind that place where Robert Downey Jr. spent Thanksgiving weekend, but it's also the title of a new mystery by Lynn Turner. This is the first in a new series called the Gottingen Witch Mysteries, featuring Keely Dunwich, a Nova Scotia sleuth. In Last Resort, Keely comes to live in her late grandmother's house, which she has inherited along with Grandma's familiar, a fat cat who initiates her into the mysteries of Wicca. When a grisly murder upsets the normally peaceful small town, former lawyer Dunwich is soon on the case. Sounds like fun in a cold climate.

Shariann Lewitt has an interesting SF book out. Rebel Sutra, called 'an interplanetary epic of love and revolution,' promises 'real aristocracy, real revolution.' Huh. This appears to be about ordinary humans vs. the genetically enhanced. Throw into the mix teen love and a really big computer, and I guess we have an SF novel.

Something really special you could get the SF fan on your list is Redemolished and no, I won't make another Robert Downey joke. This is, all in one volume and all for only $14.95, a collection which includes Alfred Bester's classic novel The Demolished Man along with essays on Bester by famous folks, outtakes from the novel (if that's the right word) and two stories, including the 'proto-cyberpunk' tale 'The Four-Hour Fugue.' A lot of good stuff for a good priceit'll be on my wish list, for sure.

Edward Gorey fans are still, of course, in mourning, so it's good news that The Haunted Tea-Cosy, Gorey's 'Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas' has been brought out again in hardcover for fans to enjoy. Why not give it to that humbug on your listthe story, after all, includes ghosts, tombstones, and a great big bug. Recommended for everyone who hates Christmas cheer.

Something new by Peter S. Beagle is always welcome, though I'll forever be giving out copies of A Fine and Private Place, which is my favorite Beagle book and probably my favorite novel, period. His new work is the bittersweet fantasy A Dance for Emilia, a story of friendship lost through death...or is it? 'Even lifelong friendships can't survive death, can they?' the dust jacket asks. I don't know. I guess we'll have to read the book to find out. Based on his own loss of a friend, this book unites the mourners through a cat.

The latest Nebula antho is probably the most exciting one in years. Edited by Gregory Benford, Nebula Awards Showcase 2000 features Sheila Finch's 'Reading the Bones,' Bruce Holland Rogers' 'Thirteen Ways to Winter,' and Jane Yolen's 'Lost Girls,' just to name a few. Rhysling poetry winners John Grey and Laurel Winter are included as well. A great lineup of work this time.

Now, you all know how much I enjoy crossover novelsthat is, work that spans two or more genres. So I have two examples for you that look like real kicks in the head. Once a Wolf, by Susan Krinard is the second werewolf book she's written. But wait! It's not just a werewolf bookit's also a romance novel, and a Western! In the book we meet desperado werewolf El Lobo and the refined werewolf Lady Rowena Forster. We can assume these two get together eventually, because there just can't be that many werewolves running around the Old West.

Another interesting crossover I found out about is the Fanuilh & Liam series by Daniel Hood. The newest novel in this series, King's Cure, is due out Dec. 5. This is a fantasy series in which a guy named Liam solves crimes along with his pet/familiar/business partner, who is a dragon. I'm not making this up! So these are mystery/fantasy crossovers. The dragon, apparently, has no sense of humor, but the reader will have to in order to buy this idea. Sounds pretty funny to me.

Nonfiction Notables

Leave it to Llewellyn Publications to have a witchy book for every holiday. Yule, by Dorothy Morrison, subtitled 'A Celebration of Light and Warmth,' attempts to draw together different traditions for the winter holidays. Lore, recipes (such as the wonderful-sounding 'Crockpot Wassail') and spells such as a winter love ritual make this a good all-around book for those of us who celebrate Yule/the Winter Solstice around this time of year.

A bit more substantial book on the same subject is The Return of the Light: 12 Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice by Carolyn McVickar Edwards. This book tells how the solstice is observed in a variety of cultures and religious traditions. Sounds like interesting folklore and a little cultural awareness never hurt anyone.

Now, here's another book for my wish list: Gothic: 400 Years of Excess, Horror, Evil, and Ruin, by Richard Davenport-Hines is not the history of the Dumars family in the New World, but rather purports to be an overview of Goth stuff from literature to music to whatever, starting with the classics such as Bram Stoker and Sheridan LeFanu. This looks awfully fun, and is from the same guy who edited Vice: An Anthology, which isdarn it all!out of print.

Stuff I Won't Read et al

The e-book world conference took place in New York City on November 6-7. VP and Senior Editor at Random House Jonathan Karp said that e-books won't replace real books, just enhance them, whatever that means. (It means Random House isn't selling many e-books.) Big shots from the publishing world showed up; Stephen King's agent showed up; and presumably they all talked about how to make money on something nobody wants to pay for, much less read. Someone from Microsoft was there so you know it was some sort of a set-up, anyway. My advice is to get off the computer (after reading this column, of course) and, as the bumper sticker says: Read a fucking book.

Say it ain't so! Rosie O'Donnell, not to be outdone by rival talk show host and magazine entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey, is editorial director of a new version of McCall's. The new magazine will have the clunky title Rosie's McCall's and I don't know about you, but I feel bad that trees will die for this thing.

I Want My Mummy

There's way too much fun stuff on TV this coming Sunday night, Dec. 3. We'll have to just skip X-Files entirely, which is no big deal these days anyway. Get your mentat and a dwarf to torture and sit down to view the SciFi channel's Dune miniseries at 9 PM.



And for all of us Egypto-nuts, Dr. Bob Brier hosts the new Learning Channel program Unwrapped: the Mysterious World of Mummies, scheduled for 8-11 PM. Archaeology magazine had announced that Brier, or 'Dr. Bob' as he's known to his fans, will mummify a body 'live' on this broadcast (well, neither the show nor the body will actually be 'live'that's the way they talk in TV-land), but I was not able to confirm that with the Learning Channel. Anyway, if you don't want to miss Dune, the Mummy show will repeat on December 8 and 9 at the same time. For more info, or to ask Dr. Bob a question, go to www.tlc.discovery.com. And for those of you who don't know what the big deal about Egypt is, well, for one thing they invented beer, dudes and dudettes!

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