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Review: Oasis by Joan De La Haye (Fox Spirit)

Ever since I read Joan’s ‘SHADOWS’ (reviewed here) I knew that Joan was a writer that I would continue to enjoy – and with her novella, OASIS, I wasn’t disappointed.

OASIS falls into the Zombie-Apocalypse sub-genre of Horror, yet it’s also an exploration of character- and family bonds in the face of horror and unrelenting danger.

The world of OASIS is a blasted wasteland – the planet has been ravaged by powerful and deadly solar flares, which decimated the world’s population and also changed humanity at the cellular level. The tale begins with a family that finally emerges from the relative safety of their bunker, having practically no choice but to brave this terrible new world – and when they finally do emerge, they are thrown into a situation that tests them on every level.

OASIS is a short tale -you can read it in one sitting- but Joan managed to illustrate the relationship this family has, gives us insight to how they managed to survive and keep their sanity, and how the isolation of the bunker and not knowing what was happening in the world affected them. When they emerge from the bunker and join up with a group of soldiers, they begin to realize that the world has changed utterly – the desolate, water-bereft landscape brutal and memorable, the effects of the solar flares hammered into the reader.

When the true danger that this group must face finally emerges, Joan does a great job of ramping up the tension, but also manages to interject some humour into the tale, nicely breaking the often grisly descriptions of wounds and violence. I also enjoyed the characters and how they reacted in the situations they faced – there isn’t ‘one’ hero upon which the plot turns, no easy way to fix what’s happened to the planet, no easy way to survive; but OASIS is in no way a bleak tale.

OASIS is sharp, brutal, spiced with humor, and a great addition to the ever-growing sub-genre of Zombie Apocalypse tales. It stands on its own and yet again showcases Joan’s great talents with words and storytelling. If you’re looking for a quick read that’ll give you thrills, terror and zombies, or if you’re a fan of Joan’s expansive and creepy imagination 😉 then this book is for you. 🙂

8 / 10

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To order your copies of OASIS, click here for Amazon US (paperback, Kindle-edition) and here for Amazon UK (paperback, Kindle-edition).

Check out Joan’s website here, and check out her publisher’s website here: Fox Spirit.

Until next week,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Fox Spirit, Reviews

 

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Contributor Spotlight (Part Three): AfroSF – Science Fiction by African Writers (Edited by Ivor W Hartmann)

Happy Monday! 🙂

I’m back with the third and last part of the AfroSF Contributor’s Spotlight – if you’ve missed the first two posts, check out the first one here and the second one here. And if you’re still wondering just what AfroSF is (which you shouldn’t be!), then check out this post. 🙂 I also interview Ivor Hartmann, the editor and publisher of AfroSF, in that post.

AfroSF is the first ever anthology of Science Fiction by African writers only that was open to submissions from African writers all across Africa and abroad. It will be released in December 2012 in an ebook edition first and later a print edition. AfroSF – Science Fiction by African Writers is edited by Ivor W Hartmann and will be published by StoryTime.

In Part Two of the Contributor’s Spotlight I featured Martin Stokes, Ashley Jacobs, Anthony Gashagua, Nick Wood, Cristy Zinn and Uko Bendi Udo.

Let’s get on with this last post, shall we? 🙂

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Joan De La Haye

Joan De La Haye writes horror and some very twisted thrillers. She invariably wakes up in the middle of the night, because she’s figured out yet another freaky way to mess with her already screwed up characters. Her novels, Shadows (reviewed by me here) and Requiem in E Sharp, as well as her novella, Oasis, are published by Fox Spirit.
You can find Joan on her website.

Nnedi Okorafor:

Nnedi Okorafor is a novelist of Nigerian descent known for weaving African culture into creative evocative settings and memorable characters. In a profile of Nnedi’s work titled, ‘Weapons of Mass Creation’, The New York Times called Nnedi’s imagination ‘stunning’. Her novels include Who Fears Death (winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel), Akata Witch (an Amazon.com Best Book of the Year), Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature), and The Shadow Speaker (winner of the CBS Parallax Award). Her children’s book Long Juju Man is the winner of the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa. Her first comic ‘The Elgort’ was featured in the Mystery in Space anthology (DC Comics/Vertigo) and her compilation of short stories, Kabu Kabu (Prime Books) and chapter book Iridessa and the Secret of the Never Mine (Disney Press) are scheduled for release in 2013. Nnedi holds a PhD in Literature and is a professor of creative writing at Chicago State University. Visit Nnedi at www.nnedi.com.


Sally-Anne Murray:

Sally-Ann Murray lives in Durban and lectures at UKZN. Her imagination, however, knows no bounds. In 2010, her novel Small Moving Parts won the MNet Literary Award and the Herman Charles Bosman Prize. She is busy with a second novel, and has published strange stories in English Studies in Africa (2012) and English Inside Out (2011).

Sarah Lotz:

Sarah Lotz is a screenwriter and novelist with a fondness for the macabre and fake names. She writes urban horror novels under the name S.L. Grey with author Louis Greenberg (The Mall reviewed by me here) and a YA pulp fiction zombie series with her daughter, Savannah, under the pseudonym Lily Herne (Deadlands reviewed by me here). Her latest solo novel, The Three, will be published by Hodder in the UK and Reagan Arthur in the US in 2014. She lives in Cape Town with her family and other animals.

Rafeeat Aliyu:

Hello there. I’m Rafeeat Aliyu and I’m an African flying machine. While my home base is located in Abuja, Nigeria, I naturally have the tendency of drifting and after jumping from Abuja to the UK, then to the south of France, then back to Abuja, I am now in East London (but may be in Eastern China the next time you blink). I write for a living, mostly non-fiction essays and opinion pieces for websites and blogs, so this will be my first published piece of fiction. I have a wide variety of interests that are not limited to; listening to Japanese folk metal music; researching on African and world history/ies; picking up new languages; watching Korean historical dramas; reading and watching wuxia, cooking spicy dishes and meditating on the Yoruba cosmos.

My interests in histories, cultures, traditions, reading and music greatly influence my writing. Assorted sources of inspiration roll around in my brain and then I end up writing out a story that is the result of all that action. It may due to this that I always have difficulty summarising what I write, so bear with me as I briefly outline the brain process behind Ofe!, my contribution to the AfroSF anthology. Immediately before I wrote Ofe! I was reading a lot of queer and lesbian speculative fiction, in particular lesbian steampunk. Before that, I read several detective/mystery pulp fiction stories. Then, add to this the fact that as a post-colonial Yoruba woman, I have an ongoing interest in learning more on Yoruba philosophy and cosmology. I also enjoy watching Yoruba movies, especially those that are infused with elements of magic and have humans with powerful abilities. This brings me to main idea behind this story, at the time of writing Ofe! I was plagued with the idea of an Africa with superheroes…superhumans moreso, and I imagined a world where human beings with extraordinary powers existed but lived undercover. What would happen to bring these human beings out of hiding?

Ofe! is also the brainchild of listening to Simphiwe Dana’s albums Zandisile and The One Love Movement on repeat while ruminating on the possibilities of science fiction (and steampunk) present in Dogon, Yoruba and Chinese mythologies. I truly hope you all enjoy reading Ofe!.

Biram Mboob

Biram Mboob was born in The Gambia in 1979. His short stories have appeared in a number of magazines, including Granta and Sable, as well as a number of anthologies including Tell Tales and Dreams, Miracles and Jazz. Biram earns a living as an IT Consultant and lives in South London.

Chinelo Onwualu:

Chinelo Onwualu is former journalist turned writer and editor living in Abuja, Nigeria. She has a BA in English from Calvin College and an MA in journalism from Syracuse University. Her work has appeared in Saraba Magazine, Sentinel Nigeria Magazine and the 2010 Dugwe Anthology of New Writing. Follow her on her blog at www.chineloonwualu.blogspot.com.

Efe Okogu

Efe Okogu is a Nigerian Writer, Anarchist, and Hobo. His publications include “The Train Game” in the anthology Diaspora City, “The Birth of the Blue” in Chimurenga, “Cigarette” in The Ranfurly Review, “Taxi Girl” in Thieves Jargon, “Deathpat” in the anthology Best New Writing 2011, “Restless Nature” in Decades Review, “Sweat and 419” in NigeriansTalk, and “South of the River” in Curbside Splendour.

He’s spent his entire adult life on the road and has witnessed a unifying theme – institutions ranging from governments to the IMF are used by the rich and powerful to steal resources and life from the people. The devastation of the planet is merely a by-product.

Proposition 23 is set a couple of centuries in the future: the earth is dying; artificial intelligences are on the rise; humans are implanted at birth with neuros which they use to interface with technology; the world is run under one system; and anarchists plot revolution from the shadows.

And me. 🙂

And since most of you know me, I’m not going to say much about myself. 🙂 I’ve been blogging and reviewing here since 2008, and most of you know that I’m a bookseller, too, and that I’ve got a great passion for Speculative Fiction. My story in AfroSF is titled ‘Angel Song‘, and is, I guess, a story that brings together war, religion, and SF. I’d like to say that I explore these three subjects a bit in the tale, but that’s for you to decide. 🙂 I hope you’ll dig it, though, just I’m pretty sure you’ll dig the rest of the tales in AfroSF. 🙂 You can follow my writing endeavors over at The Writer’s Life, and if you’d like to check out some of my writing, head on over to eFantasy and check out their Dark Fantasy Special – my story, Twisted, was included and published in that issue. 🙂
***

Here’s a list of the authors and stories that will be appearing in AfroSF:

‘Moom!’ Nnedi Okorafor
‘Home Affairs’ Sarah Lotz
‘Five Sets of Hands’ Cristy Zinn
‘New Mzansi’ Ashley Jacobs
‘Azania’ Nick Wood
‘Notes from Gethsemane’ Tade Thompson
‘Planet X’ S.A. Partridge
‘The Gift of Touch’ Chinelo Onwualu
‘The Foreigner’ Uko Bendi Udo
‘Angel Song’ Dave de Burgh
‘The Rare Earth’ Biram Mboob
‘Terms & Conditions Apply’ Sally-Ann Murray
‘Heresy’ Mandisi Nkomo
‘Closing Time’ Liam Kruger
‘Masquerade Stories’ Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu
‘The Trial’ Joan De La Haye
‘Brandy City’ Mia Arderne
‘Ofe!’ Rafeeat Aliyu
‘Claws and Savages’ Martin Stokes
‘To Gaze at the Sun’ Clifton Gachagua
‘Proposition 23’ (Novelette) Efe Okogu

AfroSF will be published in December and available practically everywhere through Amazon, so please spread the word about this sure-to-be-excellent SF anthology! 🙂

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in AfroSF, Spotlight

 

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Africa Rising: AfroSF – Science Fiction by African Writers (Edited by Ivor W Hartmann)

So thrilled, proud and excited to share this news with you! 🙂

But first, let me introduce you to Ivor Hartmann, the brains, guiding light, my editor and publisher behind this exciting project; Ivor helped me with awesome edits to get ‘Angel Song’ even better than it was!

***

Ivor W. Hartmann, Zimbabwean writer, editor, publisher, visual artist, and author of Mr. Goop (Vivlia, 2010). Nominated for the UMA Award (‘Earth Rise’, 2009), awarded The Golden Baobab Prize (‘Mr. Goop’, 2009), and finalist for The Yvonne Vera Award (‘A Mouse amongst Men’, 2011). His writing has appeared in African Writing Magazine, Wordsetc, Munyori Literary Journal, Something Wicked, The Apex Book of World SF V2, and other publications. He runs the StoryTime micro-press, publisher of the African Roar annual anthologies and AfroSF, and is on the advisory board of Writers International Network Zimbabwe.

Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background, your reading tastes?

I’m a Zimbabwean writer, editor, publisher, and visual artist, primarily at the moment. I’ve also been a Fine Art painter — oil on canvas, abstract surrealism mainly — for seven years just out of high-school, went into organic farming/permaculture for six years, then Visual SFX and music video directing until 2007. After co-writing a SciFi movie script for fun, I decided it was time to return to the writing field, which led me to what I’m doing now.

I’m currently reading Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor, and here’s my last ten books or so read, which should give a good idea of my reading tastes: The Apex Book of World SF 2 – Ed. Lavie Tidhar, Open City – Teju Cole, 2312 – Kim Stanley Robinson, The four Space Odyssey books – Arthur C. Clarke, Mona Lisa Overdrive – William Gibson, Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro, Operation Shylock: A Confession – Phillip Roth, Underworld – Don DeLillo, The Crying Of Lot 49 – Thomas Pynchon, and Cosmopolis – Don DeLillo.

Have you been writing since you can remember or was it something that grew with time?

I first started writing when I was fourteen — a blood-soaked werewolf tale that scared the hell out of my demure English teacher got me started — and continued to do so until I was nineteen. At which point I had two choices that appealed to me, one was writing, the other was fine art. Fine art won out, but mainly because I felt the need to experience the freedom and richness of life beyond school as much as possible before I could start to write about it seriously. A good idea, who knows, but when I did get back to writing sixteen years later armed with serious intent, I had certainly accumulated a vast hoard of personal life experience to draw from.

Please tell us a bit about your writing, do you have a favourite genre to work in, and what about that genre makes it your favourite?

Characters, concepts, and underlying themes, are the kings when I write, so usually I don’t think about what genre it might be by the time I’m done. However, they do end up a fair bit in Speculative and Contemporary Fiction, and of Spec Fic, SciFi more than Fantasy/Horror/etc. I’ve always had a soft spot for SciFi in both reading and writing. There is a freedom of imagination SciFi gives you from what has, is, happening, to what could happen, and yet is still grounded in the realities of our universe, in as much as we currently understand them, which advances daily.

You’ve had stories been published in various anthologies and journals – is there any experience that stands out, hopefully in a positive way? And what do you consider to be the most important lesson you learned?

My first short story ‘Earth Rise’ was accepted by Something Wicked and then edited with Vianne Venter. This was my first editing experience and Vianne’s professionalism, patience, and skill, set the tone for the editor and writer I wanted to become.

Perhaps, the early understanding (the earlier the better), when first getting into writing, that while writing is a solitary pursuit, publishing is a team effort.

You’ve also become a respected editor – what have you learned about the craft of writing through editing?

I’ve learnt more from editing and writing over the past five years than all my 34 years of reading. But to be fair not by that much. Between reading, writing, and near daily edits, I have seen my understanding of the craft grow and mature more than I thought possible. But no matter how much one learns, there’s always more to learn, it’s a never ending process — even a genius takes ten years to just master a field, never mind what comes beyond that. In general, I’m a great believer in learning by doing, and this autodidactic approach in areas that interest me has served me well all my life.

AfroSF is the first anthology of its kind – can you talk about the process of how you got it going?

The AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers anthology has been a dream of mine for five years. In 2007, when I returned to writing the first story I wrote (or I should say completed rather) was ‘Earth Rise’, a Science Fiction short story. As soon as I looked for somewhere to publish it, preferably an African publication, the harsh realities of African publishing, and publishing for African writers in general, in 2007, became quite apparent. Including the fact, a pan-African anthology of Science Fiction by African writers only had never been published, and thus the dream of AfroSF was conceived.

Long story short, I created the micro-press StoryTime that first published StoryTime, a weekly African literature online magazine, from June 2007 to June 2012. In 2010, StoryTime launched African Roar, an annual multi-genre anthology of African writers, co-edited by Emmanuel Sigauke and I, that’s now in its third year. So, by late 2011, I felt the time had come to pursue the AfroSF dream.

If one looks at the last 50 years of publishing in terms of SciFi and African writers, some real gems have never been collected into one volume. Thus, the temptation to have a mix of reprints and original works was very strong (and a lot easier in terms of editing), but the vision I had for AfroSF needed to include the forward-thinking spirit embodied so well in SciFi as a genre. Therefore, in December 2011, I put out the call for submissions for original (unpublished) works only.

The first story I received for the anthology was from great and wonderful Nnedi Okorafor, which for me kind of set standard for all submissions that followed — fifty two in total, so not a lot, but more than I had hoped for and a great start for a first anthology. In this, Lauren Beukes was also of great help when she put the word out on the subs call, and suggested a few South African writers who might be interested.

A word on the selections and editing process I employ. As with the StoryTime magazine and the African Roar’s, when I read the AfroSF submissions I was looking for great themes and new ideas well expressed, in this case in the SciFi genre. This is to say, ideas and themes trumped imperfect prose, which I knew from experience could be dealt with in edits — depending on how much time the editor and writer can devote to the editing process. Now, this approach doesn’t always work, but what it does do is give writers whose work I selected the chance to work on at least one edit of their story with an editor, and I could see how it went from there.

Although I had StoryTime on hand to publish it, in terms of this anthology being a first and such I did seek bigger publishers who could get it out there in a much bigger way than I can. So, as soon as I had a rough unedited first draft I sent it out and about and did get some interest from a few publishers — which was a good sign for anthology as a whole. However, in the end no one came to the party in any realistic way, so I returned to the original plan of publishing it though StoryTime — first as an eBook that will then fund a POD print edition with its sales, this being a realistic, micro-press publishing model I have used with the African Roar anthologies and I know works. However, specific country rights for the anthology will remain open for negotiation and translations, etc., if it does garner any serious interest after the first edition eBook release.

Why Science Fiction?

SciFi, like most fiction genres that aren’t Contemporary except perhaps Romance and Crime to an extent, is highly underdeveloped in African literature as a whole. Now I could go into all the reasons why, but let’s look to the future instead.

SciFi is the only genre that enables African writers to envision a future from our African perspective. Moreover, it does this in a way that is not purely academic and so provides a vision that is readily understandable through a fictional context. The value of this envisioning for any third-world country, or in our case continent, cannot be overstated, nor negated. Science Fiction helps drive social and technological change. If you can’t see and relay an understandable vision of the future, your future will be co-opted by someone else’s vision, one that will not necessarily have your best interests at heart, at all. Thus, Science Fiction by African writers is of paramount importance to the development and future of our continent.

Why, in your opinion, does the publishing industry in South Africa and, indeed, the rest of the continent, seem to not want to get behind SFF the way, say, Crime Fiction has been supported and encouraged?

Mainstream African publishers go for the lowest risk with highest return to their investment, this being Textbooks, Nonfiction, and a far third Contemporary Fiction. Historically, in general, it is writers and independent publishers who create and develop new (or underdeveloped) genres. Mainstream publishers will only climb aboard when the market has already been created or at least well seeded. Crime Fiction over the last twenty years and especially the last ten in South Africa is a classic example of this in action.

AfroSF has a very good chance of helping to lead Africa’s SF writers into a long-term attention-grabbing position in the field of short form and, with time, novel-length SF – what are your wishes, your dreams, for this anthology?

The main aim of this anthology was to encourage African writers to break out of the comfort zone of Contemporary fiction and develop all the other genres that are underdeveloped in African literature. The simple fact is we can’t all be the next Dambudzo Marechera, Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Zakes Mda, etc. There are over one billion people on the African continent, if only 0.001% are or become a writer, that’s ten thousand writers. In other words, more than enough writers to explore every possible genre and perhaps make some new ones too.

Looking at the list of contributors for AfroSF, it’s obvious, and wonderful to see, how diverse it is – how, if at all, does African SF differ from SF written by non-Africans? What do you think we bring to the genre?

African writers bring our unique perspectives, and importantly, our unique African mythologies to bear when we write. These perspectives and mythologies are a refreshing change and voice sorely needed in the wider world of fiction dominated by Western perspectives and mythologies.

What’s your advice to African Speculative Fiction writers considering, for example, that the Agent doesn’t seem to have a role or place in our continent’s industry?

The pleasure of African publishers is that for the most part any African writer can approach them, with no agent required. This means that until you break into the international writing scene one doesn’t actually need an agent to start with. I don’t have an agent, I don’t look for agents, and agents tend to come calling when they can see there’s a profit to be made from taking you on. So until then keep writing, and keep approaching African publishers with your work. In the end, your work is what will speak for you in the loudest voice.

What can readers expect from AfroSF, what kind of reading experience? Multi-sub-genre, for example?

The AfroSF stories have a bit of everything in the realm of SciFi, from Comic, Military, Hard, Soft, to Apocalyptic, Space Opera, Cyberpunk, Biopunk, Aliens, and even Time Travel, and more, and fairly liberal mixings thereof. The stories represent a diversity of voices and themes specifically rooted in the SciFi genre, from some stellar established and upcoming African writers. If you love SciFi, you’re going to love this anthology.

Finally, we know that AfroSF will be released in December: early, middle, just in time for X-Mass?

AfroSF will hit all the Amazon sites in an eBook edition first in early December 2012. Then, depending, we will release a POD print edition later to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. It will also be signed up to Paperight, a fantastic new company that can turn any copy shop worldwide (and especially in Africa) into a budget books printer and seller.
***

I read through these answers just before I set them in this post and I’m extremely excited about this anthology! Definitely something that I’ll start reading as soon as I’ve got an eARC, and of course, review. 🙂

AfroSF is the first ever anthology of Science Fiction by African writers only that was open to submissions from African writers all across Africa and abroad. It will be released in December 2012 in an ebook edition first and later a print edition.

Here’s a list of the authors and stories that will be appearing in AfroSF:

‘Moom!’ Nnedi Okorafor
‘Home Affairs’ Sarah Lotz
‘Five Sets of Hands’ Cristy Zinn
‘New Mzansi’ Ashley Jacobs
‘Azania’ Nick Wood
‘Notes from Gethsemane’ Tade Thompson
‘Planet X’ S.A. Partridge
‘The Gift of Touch’ Chinelo Onwualu
‘The Foreigner’ Uko Bendi Udo
‘Angel Song’ Dave de Burgh
‘The Rare Earth’ Biram Mboob
‘Terms & Conditions Apply’ Sally-Ann Murray
‘Heresy’ Mandisi Nkomo
‘Closing Time’ Liam Kruger
‘Masquerade Stories’ Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu
‘The Trial’ Joan De La Haye
‘Brandy City’ Mia Arderne
‘Ofe!’ Rafeeat Aliyu
‘Claws and Savages’ Martin Stokes
‘To Gaze at the Sun’ Clifton Gachagua
‘Proposition 23’ (Novelette) Efe Okogu

Starting Monday (8 October) I’ll be doing a series of posts spotlighting some of the authors – a bit of background on them and their stories to get you all excited. 🙂 Many names you’ll already know (Nnedi Okorafor, Sarah Lotz, Tade Thompson, Sally Partridge, Nick Wood, Joan De Lay Haye), and most you will get to know and hear plenty about. 🙂

By the way, if you’re also a reviewer and would like to review this anthology before or around its release date in December, let me know or contact Ivor directly. 🙂 And if you’re an SF author who would like to read AfroSF and perhaps offer a blurb, again myself or Ivor can help you out. 🙂

So, until Monday,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2012 in Announcements, Spotlight

 

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Review: Shadows by Joan De La Haye

It’s taken a very (VERY) long time for me to get to Joan’s novel, and I’ve got no excuse – if Joan got a bit angry with me then I can totally understand that, and yes, I did read plenty of other books before getting to Shadows. In a way, I have Joseph D’Lacey to thank for getting me to finally pick up Shadows – he’d written such good stories (in Meat, and in The Killing Crew –review coming up- and most recently, in Snake Eyes –review also coming up soon-) that my thirst for good Horror novels really became strong. I finally got started with Shadows, and what can I say – it’s such a damned good book that I feel like an idiot for not reading it sooner!

A word of warning about Shadows, though – this is a truly disturbing novel, a vision of madness and depravity the likes of which I’ve not really encountered before. It pulls absolutely no punches and is brave and brilliant because of it.

Shadows follows one woman’s descent into madness and revenge, a descent which affects everyone around her. Sarah is a woman looking for love, acceptance and stability – but there are plenty of obstacles in her way, the least of which is her struggle to deal with her father’s suicide. When we meet Sarah she’s on the verge of falling apart, and as the novel progresses things just get worse. She’s the perfect example of a character who is beaten down in almost every aspect of her life, and as such her part of the tale (the main focus of the book) is not particularly nice to read – I can’t say that I enjoyed it, but by ‘enjoy’ I mean watching the particular brand of violence in a movie like ‘Hostel’ – you watch with a kind of sick fascination, wincing, feeling your stomach roil. But you continue watching, because something in you (which you would rather not acknowledge or pay attention to or even try understand) can’t stop watching. So, in that sense I didn’t enjoy Sarah’s story, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good, in the particular kind of meaning that ‘good’ has in relation to this book. By the end of the novel I felt like I had journeyed to hell and back with Sarah, and I felt enlightened, having been given an intimate glimpse into a world that I would definitely not want to be a part of.

But Sarah isn’t the only character – there’s Sarah’s boyfriend, Kevin –an asshole through and through, and I particularly enjoyed his story, though the character was a prick, and when I dislike a character that is meant to be disliked, that means the writer did a damned good job.

There’s Kevin’s sister, Kevin’s lover, Sarah’s sister, Kevin’s parents – and one particular character that may or may not exist – Jack. All of them swirl together, upsetting each other’s carts and lives, and how this happens is like watching the onset of violent insanity – the various plots and how they interweave are an excellent example of good plotting. What Joan also does in this novel is let the story unfold from two different POVs – First Person, in Sarah’s case, and Third-Person for the rest of the characters. It’s a tiny bit jarring in the beginning but I soon got into the flow, and I still can’t decide which character(s)’ plot and POV I ‘enjoyed’ the most.

But here I warn you all again – if you’re open to reading a book that is genuinely disturbing, in some cases distasteful, and creepy as hell, then I’m pretty sure you’ll ‘enjoy’ Shadows. If you don’t like being removed from your comfort zone, if you don’t like challenging yourself, then you’ll probably put this book down and never touch it again.

I think this novel is excellent, and showcases Joan’s writing-ability as well as her twisted imagination. I think it’s a damned ‘good’ book, and I hope you’ll read it, too.

I give Shadows a resounding 9 / 10 – in terms of sheer twisted imagination, Joan is, in my opinion, South Africa’s Clive Barker.

Print

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shadows-cover-small

To order Shadows, click here for Amazon UK and here for Amazon US.  🙂

If you’d like more info about Joan and her work, check out her website (with excerpts) here and her page on Goodreads here. And do go check out Fox Spirit, her publisher – great titles available! 🙂

Have an awesome weekend, and till next time,

Be EPIC!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Reviews

 

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Coming your way soon: Shadows by Joan Del La Haye

I was very happy when I heard this news! 🙂

Joan is a good friend of mine and her novel, Shadows, has found a new home! 🙂

Generation Next Publishing will be publishing Shadows at the end of the month, first as an eBook edition and then in paperback format. 🙂 And the cover that the guys at GNP have designed is sublime – sent chills up my spine when I first saw it. Here it is:

I’ll be reviewing Shadows soon! 🙂

I’ll post the details as soon as Shadows is available. 🙂 Want more info about Joan and her work? Then check out her blog here; head over to GNP here and to read a review of Shadows, click here. 🙂 Massive congrats to you, Joan!

Be EPIC!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 12, 2011 in Announcements

 

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Vlogs and Grandpa’s Ghost

Hey Everyone,

I don’t have anything specific for you today except to point you towards Joan Del La Haye’s blog; Joan is a South African (like me, and yes, we rock, 🙂 ) Horror writer, and a cool person besides. 🙂

The first reason to head over is to read her short story, Grandpa’s Ghost – a cool little story featuring a pretty damn dysfunctional family;

And then you can check out Joan’s Vlogs – here’s the first, and then Joan reads two scenes from her novel, Shadows (one of the scenes is hot and steamy, so be warned!). 🙂

Until tomorrow,

Be EPIC!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 23, 2010 in Announcements

 

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