Read another John Ferris novel, Fiends, a good take on the admittedly small psychic-Iceland-elves-take-over-a-small-Southern-town-and-skin-hippies genre. A shame really. Iceland elves are metal af. Despite the synopsis on Goodreads, the elves, The Unwashed Children of Eve, are not vampires at all, but Huldufólk. (“Elf” is apparently a pejorative, and Huldufólk is the polite term. I assume “elf” gets thrown around a lot on Huldufólk rap albums.)

Next was A Grin of the Dark, by Ramsey Campbell. It is a clown-based twist on the book/film/book that kills you/drives you mad/compels you to murder idea. Tubby Thackeray’s silent films are almost impossible to find and even his name has been almost completely erased from film history, only a few mentions of a court case where the philosophy professor-turned-grotesque-clown was charged with inciting a riot after a screening of one of his films. Our protagonist, saddled with unemployment and a girlfriend whose parents might actually be from hell, hopes to revive his career by digging up Tubby’s lost body of work. It doesn’t go well. If you have clourophobia, avoid this, it’s all ghostly laughter and greasepaint, IT meets The Ring. But there is an internet troll in the plot that I swear is modeled on Tulpa at his most wound-up and the awful in-laws are hilariously awful indeed.

And finally, I read The Haunted Vagina, by Carlton Mellick III. This is my second work by Mellick after being drawn in a year or so ago by his prosaically titled Baby Jesus Butt Plug. The Haunted Vagina is, as you might infer from the title, about a girl with a haunted vagina. Steve tries to learn to live with the ghostly voices from Stacy’s vagina because otherwise, she is perfect. But when an epic bout of 69 causes an adult human skeleton to crawl out of Stacy’s vagina and Steve is forced to beat it to pieces with a night table, he decides he has had enough. But the seductive Stacy convinces Steve to explore her haunted vagina, and he finds an entire haunted world. Short, to the point, and surprisingly sweet, I really liked like this novella. With such evocative titles as Satan Burger, The Faggiest Vampire, Zombies and Shit, The Menstruating Mall, and Razor Wire Pubic Hair, I will be reading more Mellick in the near future.


I’ve not made any progress, again, on The Skinner by Neal Asher. I’d make excuses, but I don’t have any that are good. I can’t even promise I’m going to get serious about reading next month, either, now that I have a Zelda game to play again. *And no one ever saw Riven again*


I am simultaneously reading three very different biographies of Sir Richard Francis Burton.

Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton: A Biography by Edward Rice (1990)

A Rage to Live: A Biography of Richard & Isabel Burton by Mary S Lovell (1998)

The Devil Drives: A Life of Sir Richard Burton by Fawn M Brodie (1967)

Since I’m typing this on my phone in the dark so I don’t miss the morning deadline, I will share some commentary below later on. (I’ll also add links to save you having to enact your own book-acquiring labor.)

Brett L

I started 3 or 4 trashy urban fantasy “series” on Kindle unlimited. I just have to face the fact that I’ve reached the Sturgeon Limit on LitRPG and Urban Fantasy. The rest are crap. I did read Pianist in a Bordello, a debut novel that is an all-in-good-fun romp about a budding politician discussing his growing up around an often-absent (except as deus ex machina) lefist radical father and California Republican Senator grandfather. Despite the cartoonishness of his politics, a good read.

Also, I listened to Adm. William McRaven’s Make Your Bed, which is an expansion of the great commencement speech he gave to the University of Texas’ graduating class of 2014. Still a short book, a quick listen, and great for gearing yourself up for the New Years’ resolutions and setting yourself up for the inevitable failure and disappointment.

Old Man With Candy

Because I cheerfully flaunt my nerdhood, I will confess to having received an e-book version of the classic Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill and am digging my way through. This is the 3rd edition, and it’s about double the size of my previous copy- and the additions ain’t filler. If you love electronics (and I do), this is the Torah.

Web Dominatrix

I’m nose deep in two great but distinctly different books right now. The first is Good Manners for Nice People who Sometimes Say Fuck, which was a delightful Christmas gift that explores how we became so rude and what we can do about it. And, after my usual Christmas Eve tradition of watching Hogfather, I’m back on a Terry Prachett kick that usually lasts til mid- February. I’m also reading his book Making Money.