Until We Fall by Nicole Zelniker – A Review

Fiction about frightening and undesirable societies offers great opportunities for women, people of colour, and LGBTQA+ people to unpack the dangers of the present and envision their potential consequences for the future. Although dystopias make good stories, they can be so much more than just a narrative device, and function as a powerful socio-political tool. In her new novel Until We Fall, published by Jaded Ibis Press, Nicole Zelniker demonstrates just that.

The Great American Novel?: A Brief Look at the Work of T.C. Boyle

‘ve liked T.C. Boyle’s books ever since I first saw him perform at the UEA Literature Festival in 2012. I had just moved to the UK and had just started my PhD. I was excited, not just because of all the changes that had recently happened in my own life, but also because I felt as if I was now in the middle of it all. Whatever “it” was. A place where world-famous others magically appeared in packed lecture theatres to talk shop.

Quick and painless – Shorts on Recent Horror Reads

My love for horror has recently been rekindled. With yet another dreadful Saw instalment out there, one would almost forget that there’s still plenty of original stuff around. Not only that, older works are increasingly at risk of being forgotten. To support my own memory as much as anything, here’s a quick overview of some good books I’ve read in the past month.

Book Review: Michael McDowell’s Blackwater

Blackwater is a Southern gothic family saga, tracking the lives of several generations of the Caskey family, as they make their fortune in the fictional town of Perdido, Alabama. Connecting the many subplots is the story of Elinor, a woman who mysteriously appears during a flood, marries one of the Caskeys, and proceeds to rule the clan. Oh, and she’s also a river monster.

How I Self-Published My Fiction – And Why

Self-publishing is often frowned upon, seen as a vanity exercise that removes the gatekeeper function of traditional publishers and releases floods of drivel onto an already saturated media landscape. My own opinion is a bit more nuanced. I think publishing and self-publishing can easily exist together. Indie and DIY approaches have long been common in other creative sectors, such as music and film. And with everyone broadcasting themselves on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, I can’t see why self-publishing my thoughts in book form would be a weird or embarrassing thing to do.

Chainsaw Sisters: A Review

Picture this. A novella about two sisters: Sis and Amy. One of them alive, one of them dead. The living one muscular and feisty. The dead one reincarnated… as a chainsaw. Together they set off to get their revenge on Amy’s killers. Cue rampage, gore, mayhem. And, in case you missed it, a talking chainsaw.

Reading as Escapism: Charles Willeford’s Hoke Moseley Novels

On day two of an almost complete lockdown, with nothing to do and nowhere to go apart from my NHS job, I’m feeling a need to write about literary escapism. My local library shut down indefinitely last Saturday, and although I’ve managed to get a stash of books that’ll last me a few weeks, I’m already missing my trips to pick up new ones. It’s all temporary, of course, and all for a good cause, but I’m probably not the only one for whom life feels rather odd and claustrophobic at the moment.