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Clive Barker

("The Neverending Search", art by David Ho)


"The Age Of Desire"
© 1986, The Inhuman Condition
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ wonder award
--/ shock value

"A group of scientists are doing experiments with hallucinogenic love drugs. A victim of one such Aphrodisiac experiment runs away from the lab and soon things start to get very nasty..."
review: 31-Aug-06 (read in 1994)


"The Body Politic"
© 1986, The Inhuman Condition
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award
--/ shock value

Totally "Weird Tales" material. This story introduced me to Barker, and installed a healthy respect for that crazy writer. Something that Fritz Leiber wrote in good old days: an alienation of our body (starting with hands). "Charlie has the strangest thoughts. He thinks his hands are planning a revolt, plotting against him and the whole human race. Crazy, right? Well...when he wakes up to find that his hands have done, he's not so sure any more"
review: 31-Aug-06 (read in 1994)


"The Books Of Blood"
© Berkley, 1984
--collection/anthology : 1985 World Fantasy W
--collection : 1985 Locus

--/ fourth place dark f collection
--/ wonder award
--/ shock value

"Confessions Of A Shroud"
© Berkley, 1984
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ wonder award
--/ shock value

"Down, Satan"
© 1986, The Inhuman Condition

© Berkley, 1984
--/ cool dark f story
--/ shock value

"Hell's Event"
© Berkley, 1984
--/ cool dark f story
--/ shock value

"Hellraiser" (nv)
© 1988, Dell Books
--/ cool dark f novel
--/ shock value

"Human Remains"
© Berkley, 1984
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ shock value

"Imajica" (nv)
© 1991, Dell Books
--horror/dark fantasy novel : 1992 Locus /2
--Translated Novel : 1998 Imaginaire W

--/ cool dark f novel

"In The Hills, The Cities"
© Berkley, 1984
--short fiction : 1985 British Fantasy W
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award
--/ shock value


"The Inhuman Condition"
© 1986, The Inhuman Condition
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ wonder award
--/ shock value

"A guy and his friends beat up a vagrant for fun, stealing from him a piece of knotted rope... That same day, the guy who took the knotted rope from the vagrant,begins to unravel it.With the unravelling of the rope his friends suddenly start to die out,one by one...And a lot of evil starts to be unleashed.The same vagrant whom was a victim has to help the guy battle this evil." A blockbuster for the senses, with a crazy monster-creation twist.
review: 31-Aug-06 (read in 1994)


"The Inhuman Condition" (coll)
(also as "The Book of Blood IV")
© Simon & Schuster, 1984
--/ fourth place dark f collection
--/ wonder award
--/ shock value

A scary and sobering collection of dark fantasy tales. Barker has a wicked imagination and these offerings are not for the faint of heart. However no one can deny the intensity and sheer "pop-culture" brilliance of some of the stories, which have become essential reading for any modern-day pulp-terror fiction reader. Here is the blurb from Amazon: "A master storyteller and unrivaled visionary, Clive Barker has mixed the real and unreal with the horrible and wonderful in more than twenty years of fantastic fiction. The Inhuman Condition is a masterwork of surrealistic terror, recounting tragedy with pragmatism, inspiring panic more than dread and evoking equal parts revulsion and delight."
review: 31-Aug-06 (read in 1994)


"Jacquiline Ess: Her Will and Testament"
© Berkley, 1984
--novella : 1985 World Fantasy
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ wonder award
--/ shock value

"The Midnight Meat Train"
© Berkley, 1984
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ wonder award
--/ shock value

"New Murders In The Rue Morgue"
© Berkley, 1984
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ shock value

"On Jerusalem Street"
© Berkley 1984
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ shock value

"Pig Blood Blues"
© Berkley, 1984
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ shock value

"Rawhead Rex"
© Berkley, 1984
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ shock value


© 1986, The Inhuman Condition
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ shock value

"A modern day ghost story with a small twist. An evangelsit and his troupe check into a motel where a murder most foul had taken do the deceased couple, for they're there to recreate the murder or try and reconcile, who can tell. Witty and strange."
review: 31-Aug-06 (read in 1994)


© Berkley, 1984
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ shock value

"Sex, Death And Starshine"
© Berkley, 1984
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ shock value

"The Skins Of The Fathers"
© Berkley, 1984
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ shock value

"Son Of Celluloid"
© Berkley, 1984
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award
--/ shock value

"The Yattering And Jack"
© Berkley, 1984
--/ fourth place dark f story
--/ shock value


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Ephemera Interview with Avi Abrams

Enchanting Victorian Fairy Tale Art

"Then world behind and home ahead..."

Exceptional British Scifi Artwork from the 1950s

Space Pulp Art by Ron Turner and other British artists

Pulp Pleasures: Eando Binder

Great space adventure fiction from the 1930s
"Where Eternity Ends" and other rare gems

Epic Fantasy: the Start of the Journey

Part 2 of our "Best Classic Fantasy" series
incl. works by Henry Kuttner, Tolkien, etc.

Strange Shadows: Best Classic Fantasy

Fantasy "glitches in the matrix",
...lovely baroque magical lands, and more

Classic Cyberpunk SF Novels: Reviews

Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, K. W. Jeter, et al
(awesome must-reads)

10 Possible Sources of "Avatar" in Classic Science Fiction

Going beyond the obvious "Dances with Smurfs"...
(many stories worth reading)

"Steampunk" Anthology: Full Review

some truly crazed stories in there...
(plus artwork by John Coulthart)

"Dune", Plus Often-Neglected
Other Novels by Frank Herbert

"Dune", plus some overlooked gems:
"The Santaroga Barrier" and "The Green Brain"

Universe at Play:
Two Must-Read Novels of the Fantastic

"The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon...
and David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas"

Two of the Most Entertaining SF Novels from the 1980s

"Vacuum Flowers" by Michael Swanwick...
and Tim Power's "The Anubis Gates", of course!

"The Body Snatchers" and Other Alien Pods

Fiction by Jack Finney, Vance, Simak and Bloch
mind impostors and emotion imitators

Exploring the Noir and the Grotesque

Jack O'Connell "The Resurrectionist"
and other newest examples of the bizarre

Overpopulation, Sex and Sensibility

Robert Silverberg's "The World Inside"
and other classic sf blasts

H. P. Lovecraft "At the Mountains of Madness"

and other masterpieces of terror
including original illustrations

"Constellations", edited by Peter Crowther

original anthology, 2005
full review: mind-bending stories

The Ultimate Guide to New Writers of SF&F

more than 2,000 writers, 1990-2009
Ratings, awards, web links

The Surreal Office

"The Situation", "The Cookie Monster"
Weird fiction by Jeff VanderMeer and Vernor Vinge

Mind-shattering Novels of Philip K. Dick

"UBIK", "Now Wait for Last Year", etc.

Theodore Sturgeon's "More Than Human"

There’s a problem with this new gestalt being: needs a conscience.

Jack Williamson's "Legion of Space" Series

Classic Space Opera
The ultimate weapon, controlled by a gorgeous woman

Astounding Stories, August 1934

Jack Williamson, Nat Schachner, "Doc" Smith
Epic space opera gems and horror surprises

Rare Pulp SF&F, Issue 3

Leigh Brackett, Fritz Leiber, Vic Phillips
Rediscovered gems of wonder & adventure

William Gibson's Novels

"Pattern Recognition", "Neuromancer"
A Fractured Delight...

Alfred Bester "The Computer Connection"

"Bester was the mountain, all the rest of us..."
Pyrokinetic writing in one neat package

Two Novels by Samuel R. Delany

"Nova" and "Babel-17"
New Wave Milestones, and then some.

Theodore Sturgeon's "The Cosmic Rape"

(and more reviews of his fiction)
Classic SF at its best and most humane

Travel Distant Worlds!

Vintage Space Travel Posters, and more.
Part 3 of Pulp Sf art series...

Alastair Reynolds' Epic Novels

"Chasm City" and "Revelation Space"
And it's only the beginning...

Rare Fantasy Gems by C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner

Hidden Gems of Pulp Fiction
When two star writers become husband and wife

Grand Old Times... in the Future

Overview of Pulp Art
A Loudly Lurid Universe of Sci-Fi Illustration

Exclusive: Interview with Nancy Kress

From High Fantasy to Hard Science Fiction
A Spectrum of Wonder

Jack Vance

"To Live Forever"
and other Vance extravaganzas

Alastair Reynolds

"Pushing Ice"
Cosmological "noir" chase across space

Charles Stross

"Missile Gap"
Mind-bending Cold War world-building

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 2

Rare stories from the "Age of Wonder"
incl. David Keller, Horace Gold etc.

Ultra-Rare Serials from "Fantasy Magazine"

"Cosmos" + "Challenge From Beyond"
incredible line-up of writers

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 1

Neat & Rare Stories
incl. the mad rally story "The Racer"

Astounding Stories, June 1935

Full Issue Review
incl. Gallun, Schachner, Campbell

Astounding Stories, May 1941

Full Issue Review
incl. Heinlein, Asimov, Eric Frank Russell

Horace Gold; P. Schuyler Miller

"Apocalyptic Blockbusters"
"Inflexure" and "Spawn": guilty pleasure

Interview with John C. Wright

Plus his advice to new writers
Adventures in Space & Magic

Frank Belknap Long

"The Horror from the Hills"
Great Lovecraftian Weird Novella

Interview with Jeff VanderMeer

Plus his Recommended Reading List
A Triumph of the Bizarre

Alastair Reynolds, Part 2

More "Galactic North" Stories
A Mixture of Hard Sf, James Bond & Jaws...

Alastair Reynolds Review

"Galactic North"
staring down infinity...

Most Shocking Article

"Holey Fools" by M. Christian
Warning: Gross Subject Matter

Alfred Bester Review

"The Stars My Destination"
"...nail it to the Retro Hugo voting board..."

Larry Niven Review

"Neutron Star"
"better get GP alien ship hull"

Poul Anderson Review

"Ensign Flandry"
"or how to start a sub-genre..."

Thomas M. Disch Review

"The Squirrel Cage"
"...seriously mind-bending stuff..."

Henry Kuttner Review

"Mimsy Were the Borogoves" (The Last Mimzy)
"...great storyline for a pretty average movie..."

Robert A. Heinlein Review

"The Moon is the Harsh Mistress"
" caused a tooth ache, and put my brain on freeze..."

Frank Herbert Review

"Destination: Void"
"...a layered cake of ideas and a scientific extrapolation on a genius level..."

Harlan Ellison Review

"The Abnormals"
"...editors slapped the most outrageous titles on his stories..."

James White Review

"All Judgement Fled"
"...the tension is palpable, soon to grow almost unbearable..."

Grand Adventure Strikes Again

Space Opera Article, by Avi Abrams
Based on Arthur Clarke's "Against the Fall of Night"

William Gibson Review

"Burning Chrome"
"...sheer pyrotechnics and exuberance of style..."

Ace Double: Murray Leinster

"The Pirates of Ersatz /The Mutant Weapon"
"...the characters might as well be cats or hamsters..."

Astounding Stories, May 1935

Pulp SF Magazine Review
with many original illustrations

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"SF&F Reading Experience" is part of "Dark Roasted Blend / Thrilling Wonder" family of sites. We try to highlight the most entertaining and rewarding science fiction and fantasy, with emphasis on memorable reader experience, not necessarily general acceptance by the critics. Have fun, and delve into our extensive ratings and reviews!

Most reviews are written by Avi Abrams, unless otherwise noted. Reviews also appear on our unique historical retrospective page Wonder Timeline of Science Fiction. Feel free to submit your own review, if a particular story is not listed here.

All major OFFICIAL AWARDS are highlighted in BLUE
("winner" has a letter "W" by it, otherwise it is a runner-up only)

Our PERSONAL AWARDS (ratings) are highlighted in RED and PURPLE:
--/ first place :
--/ second place :
--/ third place :

--/ fourth place :

--/ cool : (equal to fifth place)

These awards are given in the following categories:
- novel :
- series :
- novella :
- story :
- collection :

Also, there are our personal STYLE / GENRE SPECIFIC AWARDS. These reflect the story's content and the lasting impression on the reader:

--/ wonder award
sense-of-wonder, "visual intensity" and inventiveness

--/ idea award
originality of idea / concept

--/ adventure award
exhilarating plot, excitement / action

--/ style award
outstanding literary qualities, inimitable style

--/ romance award
intense and beautiful love / relationships

--/ humour award
funny and cool

--/ emotion award
touching, lasting impression, sensitivity

--/ shock value
altogether wild

--/ awesome scale
mind-boggling; further enhances sense-of-wonder

--/ rare find
very hard to locate, mostly from old pulps, never reprinted, etc.

Again, please feel free to leave your own review or comment under every writer's entry; also recommend us other stories you liked.