New Arrivals, Current Reading May 27 – June 2, 2013

Just two things this time. After Carl Vincent’s posts about Spectrum Fantasy Art Live last year and this, I wanted to take a browse through the Spectrum annuals I have. I saw that I’d fallen behind, so ordered the two missing volumes.511ksUL5Q2Lspectrum-18-cover

Spectrum 18 and Spectrum 19 by Cathy and Arnie Fenner – fantasy and science fiction art – collection of images from the annual Spectrum show in Kansas City.

After looking through these volumes I was struck by two things: the quality of the artwork is exceptional; the number of dark, nightmarish images seems greater every year. I suppose this is because of the popularity of vampires, zombies and monsters of all kinds in games and on book covers the last few years, but please give me a break from befanged, bloody-mouthed women such as that on the cover of #18!

The market undoubtedly drives the kind of images art directors solicit and buy, so what’s popular sells. Still, I always find many images in these books that I do like, some of them very much indeed.

In addition to the two art books listed this week, I read about half of The Best of Adventure, volume 1 from Black Dog Books, The Case of the Vagabond Virgin by Gardner (review last Friday), and am continuing to read The Song of the Sky, and a couple of short story collections.

What did you get, new, used or from the library, and
what have you been reading?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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17 Responses to New Arrivals, Current Reading May 27 – June 2, 2013

  1. Getting Spectrum is always a good investment in my mind. I too often find several images that either do nothing for me, or frankly disgust me. But there are always many more that I enjoy. I don’t mind dark art if it is a) well done and b) isn’t overly gory/tasteless. Of course those things are a matter of opinion.

    I’m going to be reviewing Spectrum 19 soon, as I did not last year, and have a copy I will be giving away (should have done it sooner as maybe you would have won and saved a few bucks). I look forward to going through it again prior to the review.

  2. Richard says:

    Carl, but first something more on SFAL, right? Wait… oh. I just looked and you did one today.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    The only book I got in was MR. SERMON by R. F. Delderfield. Back in the ’70s we read and enjoyed a number of his family sagas but I didn’t read this one.

    Books read: from the library, POINT & SHOOT, third in the incredible Charlie Hardie trilogy by Duane Swierczynski. If you look up the phrase “over the top” in a dictionary these books would fit, but in a good way. I’ve liked all of Duane’s books that I’ve read and this is no exception.

    From my ABE purchase, AMERICAN BEAUTY by Allen Steele. I really liked the only Steele collection my library had, ALL-AMERICAN ALIEN BOY, so bought this one and boy, was it a big disappointment. There were no stories in it that I thought came up to anything in the previous book. Maybe it’s me (but I don’t think so) but this was just not in the same league.

    Online, I finished the first volume in a projected series, Clark Howard’s COLLECTED SHORT STORIES – 1960’s. This was somewhat uneven, in that some stories that probably seemed original 45 years ago have been so done over the ensuing years that I saw the solutions coming early on. Nevertheless there are a lot of excellent pieces here and it is well worth seeking out for fans. Howard is definitely one of the best short story writers in the mystery field.

    For the month of May I finished 12 books (my goal for every month, though I’ve fallen short most of the year) including five volumes of shorts. I also read 80 short stories, the highest monthly total in the year and a half I’ve been keeping track.

  4. I’m reading a mammoth book, William Gaddis’s THE RECOGNITIONS (954 pages!). I take periodic breaks from the book and read short story collections. I’m working my way through that Vachss volume you suggested.

  5. I only picked up a couple magazines this week. Read a fly fishing book, and I’m hoping to wrap up Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain, a highly regarded book related to the Iraq war. It’s running about a B or B+ for me so far, I suppose.

  6. Richard says:

    Jeff, you just keep ploughing through the books. It’s amazing. My reading has fallen apart laely. I have started three books in a row that I gave up on after 40-50 pages. It’s probably just me, but why force myself to read something I don’t like? Sorry to hear that Steele book was a bust, especially since you bought it. Have you read his (if it’s the same person) HEX? I’m not familiar with the name Clark Howard.

  7. Richard says:

    George, I’d say the Vachss book was more of a curiosity than a recommendation.

  8. Richard says:

    Chris, when does fly fishing season open there? I’m not a fishing person, but I did try it once. Learning to cast I got the hook in my leg. I’m always cautious about mentally grading books before I finish them.

  9. Patti Abbott says:


  10. Ken Lawrence says:

    I’m a bit confused by part of your post. The text says the contents of each book is a “collection of images from the annual Spectrum show in Kansas City.” So is this the artwork from the Spectrum Fantasy Live event? But that hasn’t been going on for 19 years, right? Is there another Spectrum event?

  11. Richard says:

    Ken, you’re right my text is confusing. There has been a Spectrum art show for 19 years – well, 20 if we count this year’s show – which solicits entries and is judged, awarding gold and silver medals in several categories. The books are the catalog of the show, in a way. The Fenners, who have created and run that show decided a couple of years ago to have an art con in connection, inviting many artists to have booths displaying and selling their work. That con is now the site of the awards for the Spectrum art show. So, a closed, judged show plus a convention where artists can exhibit, meet the public and each other, and sell work.

  12. Ken Lawrence says:

    Okay, I get it now. Did you go this year?

  13. Richard says:

    No, sadly I did not. However my friend Carl offered to pick me up a print or something while he was there, so I’m looking forward to seeing that, whatever it is.

  14. I’m waiting for a delivery myself and getting antsy.

  15. Evan Lewis says:

    Ooo. Best of Adventure. Great book. Either volume.

  16. Richard says:

    Evan, I enjoyed the first one but will wait a while before reading the second. I just have too many other things on my reading plate.

  17. Spectrum Fantastic Art Live is a three-day celebration of the art and artists that bring to life the fantastic worlds of our favorite science fiction, fantasy, and horror books, movies, and comics. SFAL allows fans and artists to mingle, shop, learn and be inspired through exhibits of original works of art, panel discussions and workshops hosted by some of the most notable members of this artistic community. They can get their personal portfolios critiqued by leading industry Art Directors and revel in the vast creative energy that permeates every facet of the experience. Our goal is to honor our industry, celebrate the creators and mentor new talent.

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