Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

After the Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked the Middle East Revolts

July 8, 2012



Some guy named Kyle commented favorably on my Good Reads review of John R. Bradley’s After the Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked the Middle East Revolts, which inspired a response from me, but perhaps more importantly also reminded me how interesting and important a book this is.

I love the hell out of John R. Bradley’s books; I think he’s the best English language writer on the Middle East currently working. The guy is also terrifyingly young, by the way — according to the Wikipedia page about him, he was born in June, 1970.

Anyway, it turns out the commenter, Kyle, aka Kyle Williams, has a bio that says he’s a Harvard-educated counterterrorism analyst, and has his own book about terrorism, available free online, and a blog by the same name that on first glance seems pretty balanced and engaging.

That also reminds me that I haven’t been keeping up with my favorite international affairs blog, The Coming Anarchy, which was inspired by Robert Kaplan‘s book of the same name (about the post-Soviet collapse). The bad news is, apparently the folks at The Coming Anarchy haven’t been keeping up with themselves; their most recent update is from last October.

I’ve never been entirely clear on whether the TCA blog is Robert Kaplan fan service for international relations nerds, or simply a thematic riff on a Kaplan-esque theme; as far as I can tell, there’s no affiliation between Kaplan and The Coming Anarchy Blog. The latter tends to run a little more conservative than my own politics are, but then, I tend to run more conservative when it comes to international affairs than I am in most other matters, so I’d frankly rather enjoy a bout of conversational fisticuffs with some well-informed Tories than a Kumbaya fest with some of my fellow peace-and-love hippies who want to talk about how great Iran and Cuba are.

Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s my return comment to Kyle on interesting books about other regions that hint at what John R. Bradley does with the Middle East and North Africa. It’s worth saying, though, that as Bradley is probably, currently, my favorite English-language writer on the politics and culture of any international region, no other author comes close to him on such topics. I don’t find anybody as irresistibly readable as Bradley.

White Hunters: The Golden Age of African Safaris

June 14, 2012

Brian Herne’s White Hunters purports to be a history of “white hunters” in Africa — the term “white hunter” meaning a professional hunter, not just a Caucasian one. Sadly, it’s basically a collection of name-droppy anecdotes, with no intelligent synthesis whatsoever.

The book might be a reasonable road map to further studies on the subject, being a catalog of western hunters who worked in Africa. But this isn’t history. This is a series of book reports. It consists entirely of anecdotes culled from the memoirs of hunters, travelers and tourists, and brings nothing new to the table. There is no true synthesis whatsoever. The author occasionally tosses in an “As was typical in the African millieu of the time…” or “At the time, it was uncommon for…” but there is virtually no commentary or evaluation. It’s like he sat down with a bunch of memoirs and typed out the weirdest bits. In fact, it comes across like he didn’t retype, but clipped this stuff from Gutenberg and then paraphrased it. That seems likely, because of how intolerably long some of the anecdotes go on, long after it’s become clear they’re nothing more than anecdotes.

This approach is no more effective here than it was in Victor Ostrovsky’s By Way of Deception, which I detested even more. Herne has done a much better job than Ostrovsky of relying on first-hand, supported accounts, and in qualifying them where they might be less than factual. But then, the events related in Herne’s book are less critical in the details, since they’re presented as “rousing good tales.” I found them both rousing and good in quantities of one or two…as an entire book, they’re neither.

It’s a shame, too, because the topic of white hunters in Africa could be given a very interesting approach that incorporated synthesis of the times. Unfortunately, “the times” would have to be defined, which Herne doesn’t bother to do. The book’s marketing implies we’re talking about Victorian and Edwardian hunters, but then Herne careens all over the 20th century, even into the modern era. Huh? If he was going to do that, he should have written AN ACTUAL HISTORY of white hunting in Africa, instead of a series of anecdotes. Otherwise, he should have stuck with one general era or a couple of them, and drawn parallels that help define the times. Instead, he just blathered on indefinitely, unable to pick out the unifying threads in what he’d written (or perhaps had his research assistants read for him).

In the social sciences, I am fond of saying, the plural of anecdote is not data. And the plural of anecdote is also not “history.” In this case, the plural of anecdote is “mind-bending boredom.” Sorry.

Best Bondage Erotica 2013

June 12, 2012

best bondage erotica 2013

I just found out my story “What Vacations Are For” will be in Rachel Kramer Bussel‘s anthology Best Bondage Erotica 2013, with a foreword by Graydancer.

Needless to say, I’m thrilled, even if I will be appearing alongside the nefarious likes of my far less talented competitor, N.T. Morley. The rest of the company, I’m sure, will more than make up for it.

Some say bondage is the ultimate intimacy. Once you have allowed yourself to fully explore your fantasies of giving in and surrendering to pleasure, you may find you need a firm but gentle hand to guide you. Let Best Bondage Erotica 2013 be your guidebook of everything BDSM. Editrix Rachel Kramer Bussel and her writers put it all out on the page in stories using everything from silk ties rope to shiny cuffs, blindfolds, wires and everything you can imagine and MORE. Best Bondage Erotica 2013 offers erotic insight for newbies and experienced players alike. These stories of forbidden desires and sexual fantasies, penned by the “masters and mistresses” of the genre, will shock, scintillate, and mesmerize.


Release date is December 11, 2012.

Rachel Bloom’s Irresistible “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury”

June 6, 2012

This came to me via Paul Goat Allen, who describes it (accurately) as “irreverent.” This is NOT SAFE FOR WORK, nor presumably for the rather conservative Mr. Bradbury.

But it’s just so $@$*@$*ing catchy.

By Way of Deception: The Making of a Mossad Officer

June 6, 2012

By Way of Deception: The Making of a Mossad Officer, Victor Ostrovsky’s groundbreaking book on the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, came out in 1990. I’ve been sort of half-assedly planning on reading it ever since, and finally got around to it recently.

Unfortunately, it was a huge disappointment. The main problem is that the author doesn’t differentiate between his own experiences and things he’s reporting from other sources; it becomes fairly obvious when you’re reading it that most of the material is lifted — whether from rumor, innuendo, scuttlebutt or legitimate reporting in other sources, I don’t have the foggiest idea, because Ostrovsky’s got all the citation chops of a fourth-rate potboiler, not a serious academic or political book. It comes across as hearsay garbage. What’s more, while Ostrovsky may have broken some news at the time of first publication, there’s nothing in here that was the least bit shocking to me; much of it felt INCREDIBLY repetitious, especially in the first half.

Pretty much everything interesting is confined to the first half, where Ostrovsky discusses his training in Mossad operations; there, the details of spycraft are FASCINATING. Had the book been half as long, I would have given it 4 stars, probably. Had it been three-quarters as long, maybe three stars. But after the halfway mark, Ostrovsky just drones on and on and on and on with the same bland scandals that are basically hearsay. It ends up sounding like “Shooting the shit with the Mossad.” He he seems to be reporting most of these stories either unreferenced or taken from mainstream news stories, but damned if I can tell which is which.

What really made me feel burned, though, is that after a badly-paced second half that LITERALLY PUT ME TO SLEEP ON TWO SEPARATE OCCASIONS WHILE I STRUGGLED THROUGH IT, Ostrovsky tries to wrap it all up with a sort of vapid statement of his moral rectitude. He references an old joke that the worst thing a Mossad officer can say to another Mossad officer is “I hope I read about you in the papers.” He suggests that maybe it takes the light of public inquiry to change the Mossad’s ways.

Yeah…it all seems so quaint, post-9/11, post-Gulf II, post-Afghan War, post-globalization, following Europe’s mounting financial collapse…if the Mossad, or Israel in general, could be induced to change its ways by journalism, unfortunately Ostrovsky isn’t the one to do it, because his thinking and his reporting is too fragmented, confusing, and unclear.

If you’re interested in spycraft, read the first half of the book and skip the rest.

Three Empires On The Nile: The Victorian Jihad, 1869-99

June 6, 2012

"General Gordon's Last Stand," by George W. Joy.

In keeping with a piece of advice from Ray Bradbury that has been making the rounds, in which he suggests that writers must have a slightly creepy love affair with books, I say emphatically that this week I am creepily in love with books about Sudan.

Today, I am particularly in love with Three Empires On the Nile, a brilliant, dry, inspiring and horrifying account of the colonial hijinx that led to the grotesque mismanagement of both Egypt and Sudan in the last part of the 19th century.

The book touches on the crumbling of the Ottoman Empire and the ascendency of British imperialism, with a cast of characters that includes a parade of colonial notables including Gladstone, Gordon, Kitchener and the corrupt pseudo-monarchs of the disintegrating Egyptian vassal state.

Its second half is concerned almost entirely with the rise and fall of the Mahdist State in what is today South Sudan; the bookends of the movement’s rise and fall were the massacres at Khartoum (1885), which saw the death of Charles Gordon, and Omdurman (1898), presided over by Lord Kitchener.

Expanding its scope to include the Egyptian, Ottoman, French, Belgian, and British politics of the time, Three Empires on the Nile is brutally sarcastic toward both Colonialism and Islamism in the way that only 100 years of hindsight can provide.

Filled with colonial pratfalls and oodles of Stupid Prime Minister Tricks, it’s a riveting study in Victorian politics as well as a solid piece of historical adventure horror…oh, and it’s also a history book, not a thriller. Then again, can’t it kind of be both? Hellz yeah, if you’re a Colonialism geek like me.

The 21st-century end of the Mahdist story, incidentally, is the Muslim Brotherhood, which descended directly from the Islamism that created that group and therefore ultimately Al Qaeda, and the coup that led to Sudan becoming the very first Sunni state governed by Sharia law.

But wait, there’s more; the British expeditions into southern Sudan were originally prompted by the slave trade, which was an atrocity perpetrated primarily by northern, lighter-skinned Arabic-speaking Muslim Sudanese against the southern tribal peoples, primarily Christian and animist.

Sound familiar? Why, yes, yes in fact, the racial, ethnic and religious factors that drove the slave trade in Gordon’s time are precisely what drive it today, along with the mass slaughter of Sudanese blacks by government-supported forces, including both Sudanese government troups and Arabic-speaking Janjaweed militias in Darfur and what is now South Sudan. (South Sudan seceded last year — successfully, apparently, with international help).

But what makes this book so enjoyable is the evident disgust it heaps on the political animals of Victorian England and the arrogant and criminal disregard they showed both for their own heroes (Gordon) and their subject peoples. Concerned with resources and markets, not people, Colonialists of this era often wrapped themselves in the mantle of humanitarianism in order to royally fuck shit up. I have no doubt that at times, they believed they had the best of intentions. Of course, the other side of the coin is the frank corruption and ineffectiveness of the Egyptian and Ottoman states — or, even more so, King Leopold, who never had any good intentions for his private corporate rule over the Congo.

The title is, I believe — like all the best history book titles — a double-entendre; “Three Empires on the Nile” could be the British, Ottoman and French Empires…or it could be the British Empire, the Mahdi State and the Egyptian Empire, which may rightly be called that insofar as its conquest of Sudan was, in the minds of its leaders, explicit imperial expansion. Corruption and Egypt’s dependence on Britain meant that it could never become a real empire — but one doesn’t need to read very deeply to see the similarities between atrocities of every flavor, and the irrelevance of all good intentions in doing anything more than justifying self-interest.

The book’s very last line says it all: “Today, the price of a child slave in Khartoum is $35.”

Three cheers for Gordon and Kitchener and Gladstone. Three cheers for Muhammad Ahmad, self-proclaimed messianic redeemer of the Islamic faith, and Isma’il Pasha, Khedive of Egypt. Now somebody stick a fork in our ass and turn us over, we’re done.

A Rainbow in the Night: The Tumultuous Birth of South Africa

April 18, 2012

A Rainbow in the Night: The Tumultuous Birth of South Africa by Dominique Lapierre is, ultimately, a good book about a great story. It is only “good,” in and of itself, rather than “great,” because while parts of it are amazing, and all of it tells an amazing story, too much of it tells an amazing story in overwrought, hand-wringing fashion….like far too much writing about South Africa.

The main problem with it is that it begins as a fairly objective, fairly reasonable and very well-told history of South African history pre-World War II (which is back when the racism that would become Apartheid was not yet formalized).

That’s good — it’s going strong. The bad news is that it turns about halfway through into a hagiography of the poor. It’s also a hagiography of Mandela, which I feel like I’ve heard a thousand times. The real messy story feels like it’s avoided in favor of pouring out overwrought prose about how hard it was to be black during the Apartheid era. I’m already fairly clear that it blew pretty seriously. That’s why I’m reading a book on South Africa in the first place. Lapierre hits too hard on the same old messages of martyrdom, which makes this book not an effective history.

Don’t get me wrong…I don’t think “objective” makes a lot of sense when it comes to Apartheid, racism or Afrikaans-dominated South Africa. But I also don’t need to be beaten to death with overheated, overwrought, hand-wringing prose about the troubles of the poor. I read a LOT of books on Africa, and I see the kind of heartfelt, weepy prose engaged in here to be borderline condescending. It’s not intended that way, sure. But certainly many African writers express a deep-distaste for the hand-wringing of the West vis-a-vis Africa, and this book seems to be guilty of that. Lapierre is sort of the chief of it, having written a number of very good but very overwrought pieces of tragedy tourism (Five Past Midnight in Bhopal, for instance, and his magnum opus City of Joy). With Joy, he certainly did the right thing…spending part of the proceeds of the book to set up a foundation to help the poor of Calcutta — whom the book is about. I don’t fault his impulses, only his execution, in City of Joy as well as Rainbow in the Night. It’s not that he’s done anything wrong as that the way he does it, to some extent, dehumanizes rather than humanizes the poor of the developing world — at least to Lapierre’s Western audience.

I understand that Lapierre (and presumably his translator…not sure if this was written in English or French) are trying to communicate the agonies of being poor and black in South Africa — which are EXTREME today and were vastly more so during the Apartheid era. But I found the overdone prose in certain sections to be somewhat insulting in its obviousness.

That said, however, Lapierre’s heart is in the right place, and it’s the most accessible (and actually LEAST overwrought) thing I’ve read to-date on South Africa. The struggle the black South Africans, Mandela included, went through is amazing. I do wish there had been less hagiography and more, for instance, about the Zulu nationalist movement to the North, which opposed the African National Congress, and the criminal elements that flourished in the slums in the context of rampant soul-crushing poverty; it is in THOSE elements, it seems to me, that South Africa’s contemporary troubles have their origin.

We can attack the white Afrikaaner fascist racist murderers all we want. But as Michael Moorcock said, “All tyrants are pretty much the same, but there are many kinds of victims.” By spending the second half of this book making the racist demons as demonic as possible and the black South Africans saintly, I feel Lapierre has missed the real story in the ongoing triumph and tragedy of the struggle in post-colonial Africa overall, not just in South Africa. The result is an immensely readable book but one that’s a bit hard to take seriously as history, insofar as it concerns the Apartheid period itself (after World War II).

Speaking of which, why is this subtitled “The Tumultuous Birth of South Africa?” The author’s intention is to establish that the period from the landing of the first Dutch settlers on the Cape to the establishment of pluralist democracy is *ALL* the birth of South Africa…but out of context, it’s a little bewildering of a subtitle. It seems like it misleads the potential reader a bit.

The book still gets an honored place on my bookshelf, principally because I think it’s SO accessible that I hope it’ll be read by people who wouldn’t tackle a denser book or a more nuanced history about South Africa. The struggles the black South Africans and the Apartheid-opposing whites, Indians, those of mixed race etc. went through should be known to every person of conscience everywhere in the world.

Therefore, my nitpicks aside, if a zillion people read this book the world will be a much better place, and for that alone it gets some extra credit.

When all is said and done, it is an inspiring book and well worth reading.

By the way, Did I Mention ‘The Panama Laugh’ Was a Finalist For the Bram Stoker Award

April 15, 2012

It seems I got a day job again, and practically abandoned this blog, as well as Boiled Hard.

So I never mentioned that my military-noir-anticorporate zombie apocalypse The Panama Laugh was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award, given by the Horror Writers of America.

This is the main award given for the genre of literary horror. It’s about the most amazing thing in the world, and the last damn thing I expected. I’m flattered to have been a finalist.

I even drove to Salt Lake City for the awards ceremony at the 2012 World Horror Convention. No, I didn’t win, but WTF? I’m just lovin’ the ride.

The award went to the more than worthy Allyson Bird, and congratulations to her! And thanks to everyone who voted for me (or voted for another book they liked more — which is fine, too.)

That title again is The Panama Laugh, and you can get it wherever better books are sold. Shitty ones, too.

Thanks again to everyone who’s read the book and liked it. The sequel is rattling around in my head, but no, it’s not sold yet. Meanwhile, back at the day job…

Circlet Press’s New Ebook Edition of Francesca Lia Block’s Erotic Classic ‘Nymph’ on Sale Through Valentine’s Day

February 5, 2012


(This post first appeared on Tiny Nibbles — LINK NSFW)


Boston indie publisher Circlet Press has been publishing erotic science fiction and fantasy since the early 1990s. One of my very favorite books they ever published was Nymph, a little hardbound collection of linked erotic stories by Francesca Lia Block.

Cooked up in a gumbo pot from equal parts ultra-hotness and ultra-gothness, Nymph is an amazingly sexy exploration of a Southern California fantasyland in which a scorchingly erotic love affair with a lost mermaid can be a Venice Beach surfer’s 6 a.m. — before he even gets coffee. Packed with melancholy eroticism and urban loneliness, Nymph pirouettes across the sexual spectrum in unpredictable ways. It shows the full range of Block’s “sensual, dream-like” approach to fiction, but in Nymph, it’s soaked in explicitly romantic sexual description that can be as beautifully heartbreaking as it is erotic.

In case you’re missing my point: Nymph is one of my favorite erotic books ever. And it just came out in a new ebook edition, available at the Circlet Books website for just $4.99, in PDF, mobi and epub formats. Here’s how Circlet describes this brilliant collection:

As in her other works, Block weaves together themes of subtle magic, youthful hopes, modern urban decay, and deep emotion, told with lyrical storybook language.The stories in NYMPH bear all the hallmarks of classic Francesca Lia Block — punk-spirited characters who celebrate love, life, and art–with one important difference: this time the author carries her vision through the full range of emotion and erotic interaction that her mature audience appreciates.

An interconnected series of stories, NYMPH is a special journey through the lives and loves of characters like Plum, a Crayon-haired girl who has a gift: if she makes love with a person, that person will then meet their true love, or Tom, a burned out surfer whose luck changes when he is rescued by a mysterious, wheelchair-bound woman, or Sylvie, a chronically depressed poet who finds beauty in unexpected places. Block’s erotic explorations of these smoky, kaleidoscopic fables are anything but conventional; these are stories of love, loss, and life, about the healing power of sex and bonding.


When it came out a decade or so ago, this book raised more than a few eyebrows. That’s because Block is primarily known as the creator of the Weetzie Bat books, a six-book series for young adults.

Weetzie Bat is every bit as interesting as Nymph, and far more important in the history of sexuality, for completely different reasons. Despite its young adult audience, the Weetzie Bat series shamelessly portrayed sexual orientation, attraction and choice as mutable across a range of options. Its main character chooses to be a single mother, and invites her two gay best friends into a Beatles-fueled threesome so that the child will belong to all of them. With its celebratory pro-queer view, the Weetzie Bat series radicalized the sexual politics of adults writing young adult fiction, without including a single explicit sex scene or the faintest whisper of exploitation. Wrapped up in magic and sexuality and set in the dreamland known as “Shangri-L.A.,” the series revolutionized queer representation in young adult fiction, portraying a wonderfully wholesome exploration of alternative lifestyles, chosen families, and even true love.

Plus, it’s just a damned lot of fun to read. Unfortunately, Block’s prominence within young adult fiction meant that booksellers and libraries didn’t know what to do with Nymph, and in my opinion it’s never gotten the recognition it deserves. When it comes to urban erotic fantasy, Block’s Nymph is sui generis and, more importantly, mind-bendingly sexy.

It may be short, but it’s lingered longer in my consciousness than many a one-night stand. Like so many of Block’s erotic love affairs, the book’s brevity only makes that last kiss sweeter and saltier as you turn the final page. Because every kiss in this beautiful book is laced with Venice Beach salt spray…and tears.

‘The Panama Laugh’ Makes the Preliminary Bram Stoker Award Ballot!

February 1, 2012


This happened a week or two ago, but I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to keep up with my blog posts. Anyway…My debut novel The Panama Laugh is on the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association! I’m not a “nominee” yet, and I’m definitely not a “finalist,” yet. But I’m very excited to be on the ballot.

Needless to say, I’m thrilled, and completely blown away — this was pretty unexpected. I’m greatly honored to be in such great company. It reminds me what a privilege it’s been to work with such incredible writers over the years. On the preliminary ballot are, among others, many people I’ve worked with. There’s my good friend Shade Rupe, to whose fantastic anthology Funeral Party II I contributed “Viva Las Vegas,” and with whom I collaborated on an (as yet unproduced) screenplay; there’s my fellow Night Bazaar blogger John Hornor Jacobs; there’s Maria Alexander, who wrote several wonderful articles for me when I was editing Eros Zine, the brilliant Brian Hodge, who contributed two completely incredible stories to my Noirotica series, Caitlin R. Kiernan, a contributor of wonderful pieces to several of my anthologies including Noirotica 2 and Brothers of the Night, Nancy Holder, who contributed a magnificent story to In the Shadow of the Gargoyle, one of the Ace Books anthologies I edited with Nancy Kilpatrick, plus such luminaries as Robert Dunbar, Jeff and Ann Vandermeer, Jonathan Maberry, Adam Troy Castro, Marti Noxon of Buffy fame, John Ajvide Lindqvist, author of Let The Right One In, and — GASP — Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Alan Moore, Peter Straub, Ellen Datlow…the list goes on. I’m absolutely amazed to have my name mentioned in the same breath as people like this.

In case you don’t know about the Bram Stoker Awards, here’s what Wikipedia says about them:

The Bram Stoker Award is a recognition presented by the Horror Writers Association (HWA) for “superior achievement” in horror writing. The awards have been presented annually since 1987, and the winners are selected by ballot of the Active members of the HWA. They are named after influential Irish horror writer Bram Stoker, author of the novel Dracula, among others.


Have I mentioned, by the way, that Stoker’s Dracula is one of my favorite novels of all time?

Here’s the complete preliminary ballot, from HWA’s site. (Again — just to remind everyone — I’m not a “nominee” or a “finalist” yet. I just made the preliminary ballot…which doesn’t take away from the honor.)



Ballot Required
Lamberson, Greg — Cosmic Forces
Longfellow, Ki — Houdini Heart
Malfi, Ronald — Floating Staircase
O’Neill, Gene — Not Fade Away
Warner, Matthew — Blood Born

Ballot Required
Conlon, Christopher — A Matrix Of Angels
Dunbar, Robert — Willy
McKinney, Joe — Flesh Eaters
Oliver, Reggie — The Dracula Papers, Book 1: The Scholar’s Tale
Thomas, Lee — The German



Ballot Required
Bird, Allyson — Isis Unbound
Lee, Frazer — The Lamplighters
Reynolds, Graeme — High Moor
Talley, Brett J. — That Which Should Not Be
Wagner, Jeremy — The Armageddon Chord

No ballot required, the following works will proceed directly to the Final Ballot. Please note these works may not be described as Nominees until the Final Ballot is formally announced.
Jacobs, John, Horner — Southern Gods
Roche, Thomas — The Panama Laugh



Ballot Required
Faherty, J. G. — Ghosts of Coronado Bay, A Maya Blair Mystery
Holder, Nancy — The Screaming Season
Maberry, Jonathan — Dust & Decay
Matthews, Araminta Star — Blind Hunger

Ballot Required
Blake, Kendare — Anna Dressed in Blood
Kraus, Daniel — Rotters
Ness, Patrick — A Monster Calls
Oppel, Kenneth — This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein
Roth, Veronica — Divergent



Ballot Required
Hill, Joe — Locke & Key, Volume 4
Maberry, Jonathan — Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher
Maberry, Jonathan — Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine
Mignola, Mike and Golden, Christopher — The Plague Ships
O’Reilly, Sean; Nassise, Joe; Weick, Halston — Candice Crow

Ballot Required
Brosgol, Vera — Anya’s Ghost
Fialkov, Joshua Hale — Echoes
Jensen, Jeff — Green River Killer
Moore, Alan — Neonomicon
Smith, John — Cradlegrave



Ballot Required
Breaux, Kevin James — Dark Water: Beaming Smile
Calvillo, Michael Louis — 7Brains
Little, John R. — Ursa Major
O’Neill, Gene — Rusting Chickens
Schwamberger, Ty — The Fields

Ballot Required
Hodge, Brian — Roots and All
Kiernan, Caitlin — The Colliers’ Venus (1893)
Lindqvist, John Ajvide — The Music of Bengt Karlsson, Murderer
Shearman, Robert — Alice Through A Plastic Sheet
Straub, Peter — The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine



Ballot Required
Bailey, Michael — “It Tears Away” (The Shadow of the Unknown)
Lillie-Paetz, Ken — “Hypergraphia” (The Uninvited, Issue 1)
O’Neill, Gene — “Graffiti Sonata” (Dark Discoveries)
Palisano, John — “X is for Xyx” (M is for Monster)
Warren, Kaaron — “All You Can Do Is Breathe” (Blood and Other Cravings)

Ballot Required
Ausubel, Ramona — “Atria” (The New Yorker Magazine, April 4, 2011)
Ballingrud, Nathan — “Sunbleached” (Teeth: Vampire Tales)
Castro, Adam Troy — “Her Husband’s Hands” (Lightspeed Magazine)
King, Stephen — “Herman Wouk Is Still Alive” (The Atlantic Magazine, May 2011)
Saunders, George — “Home” (The New Yorker Magazine, June 13, 2011)



No ballot required, the following works will proceed directly to the Final Ballot. Please note these works may not be described as Nominees until the Final Ballot is formally announced.
Ball, Alan — True Blood: Spellbound (Episode #44)
Goodman, Cory — Priest
Nolfi, George — The Adjustment Bureau

Ballot Required
Gimple, Scott M. — The Walking Dead, episode 13: “Pretty Much Dead Already”
Gimple, Scott M. — The Walking Dead, episode 9: “Save the Last One”
Noxon, Marti — Fright Night
Ovrehahl, Andre and Havard S. Johansen — Troll Hunter
Sharzer, Jessica — American Horror Story, episode 12: “Afterbirth”



No ballot required, the following works will proceed directly to the Final Ballot. Please note these works may not be described as Nominees until the Final Ballot is formally announced.
Carbone, Tracy L. — NEHW Presents: Epitaphs
Hutton, Frank J. — Tattered Souls 2
Skipp, John — Demons: Encounters with the Devil and His Minions, Fallen Angels, and the Possessed

Ballot Required
Dann, Jack and Nick Gevers — Ghosts By Gaslight
Datlow, Ellen — Blood And Other Cravings
Datlow, Ellen — Supernatural Noir
Datlow, Ellen and Terri Windling — Teeth
VanderMeer, Jeff and Ann — The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities



Ballot Required
Burke, Chesya — Let’s Play White
Connolly, Lawrence C. — Voices: Tales of Horror
Gresh, Lois — Eldritch Evolutions
Haines, Paul — The Last Days of Kali Yuga
Morton, Lisa — Monsters of L.A.
Ochse, Weston — Multiplex Fandango

Ballot Required
Fowler, Christopher — Red Gloves: The London Horrors
Kiernan, Caitlin R. — Two Worlds and In-Between
Llewellyn, Livia — Engines of Desire
Oates, Joyce Carol — The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares
Oliver, Reggie — Mrs. Midnight and Other Stories



No ballot required, the following works will proceed directly to the Final Ballot. Please note these works may not be described as Nominees until the Final Ballot is formally announced.
Bannatyne, Lesley Pratt — Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America’s Fright Night
Mamatas, Nick — Starve Better
Mogk, Matt — Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies

Ballot Required
Crawford, Gary William, Jim Rockhill, and Brian J. Showers, Eds. — Reflections in a Glass Darkly
Rupe, Shade — Dark Stars Rising
Shultz, David E. and S.T. Joshi, Ed. — Letters to James F. Morton
Tibbetts, John C. — The Gothic Imagination
Wood, Rocky — Stephen King: A Literary Companion



Ballot Required
Alexander, Maria — At Louche Ends: Poetry for the Decadent,the Damned & the Absinthe-Minded
Clark, G.O — Shroud of Night
Borski, Robert — Blood Wallah and Other Poems
Simon, Marge — The Mad Hattery
Ward, Kyla Lee — The Land of Bad Dreams

Ballot Required
Addison, Linda — How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend
Boston, Bruce — Surrealities
Marshall, Helen — Skeleton Leaves
Schwader, Ann K. — Twisted in Dream
Simon, Marge — Unearthly Delights