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Reviews: The Ark and She Walks In Shadows

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I've got two books to recommend for you today (aside from mentioning briefly the free issue of recompose you can get at the Kickstarter).  Full disclosure: I've published both the editor of She Walks In Shadows and the author of The Ark. Neither had any idea I was writing these reviews.

When you delve into Lovecraftian territories, it's often difficult to please everyone. Perhaps you enjoy the Mythos stories, but not the Dreamlands types of tales, or vice versa. Perhaps you're reading for the language, or for the ideas, or for the horror.

It is supremely difficult to deliver on all of them.

She Walks In Shadows does a pretty good job of walking that line. 

The stories here are all creepy in a very Lovecraftian way, though some are quiet and intimate tales, while others are death and destruction.

Regardless, this book's central thesis - that the ouvre of Lovecraftian tales can, and should, include female authors - is well borne out by the book itself.  Quite recommended.

Now on to Patrick Tomlinson's The Ark.

I think you can often tell a first novel - there's some rough edges, a place or two where you can almost hear the author working out what's going on. And this first novel has some of those problems.

Luckily, it has few of those problems, and they're of the type that get resolved after the first book or so.

The central murder mystery (for it is one) of this action sci-fi novel has the wonderful twist of being a sort of closed-room murder while still having thousands of people around. The plot moves quickly and satisfyingly.

The characters aren't quite as rounded as I'd like, but have enough quirks and foibles (and have to deal with the fallout from them) to keep them engaging. And the fast-moving plot kept me going through any rough spots.

The central concept - that this is the remnants of humanity fleeing the destruction of Earth - is a clever one, and something that is not mere window dressing. The science is handled well, and not in an obsessive nuts-and-bolts way.

In all, this is a strong first novel from an author who knows how to spin an entertaining story. If you like science fiction, action, or mysteries, you should definitely check this out.

I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel.

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