Woman in Black DVD cover image

Woman in Black ( Directed by James Watkins. Starring: Daniel Radcliffe and Ciarán Hinds. Watched the DVD (no special features on the rental disk).

First off, I really like movies and books that are a bit ambiguous as to what is going on especially at the end. Also, I really don’t mind having to work a bit to figure out what’s happened and what’s happening in a film provided I feel entertained by the end of the movie.

I really didn’t have much of a clue about what the Woman in Black was about before seeing it. All I’d heard is that it was similar to Turn of the Screw (book by Henry James) or a type of psychological thriller. After seeing the movie, I’ll agree that it is very much a psychological thriller horror but it is much closer to The Grudge (2005) an American remake of the Japanese film, Ju-on (2004).

Check out this trailer for Woman in Black:


In the movie, Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is a lawyer who is sent to deal with all the papers at Eel Marsh House outside the village of Cryphin Gifford. The house is located away from the village on a jutting piece of land that is cut off during high tide. The owners are dead and Kipps firm is settling the estate. On the train he meets Mr. Daily (Ciarán Hinds) who lives near the village and offers to drive him to the village in when they arrive at the station.

In the village, Kipps leans that he doesn’t have a room at the inn. The local lawyer is acting strangely and the villagers seem to want him to leave as soon as possible –preferably without going out to the house. Of course, Kipps must do the job he was sent there to do before his son and the nanny arrive in a few days for what he’d hoped would be a holiday. (Kipps is a widower and a single father still mourning the loss of his wife who died giving birth to a son, Joseph.)

With that setup, most viewers would expect that with rich landowners dead and the house empty and a cagey local lawyer, that the entire village is up to something. However, from the first scene of the film, you know that something more sinister is going on. The problem is that no one is talking and since Kipps is the person that the camera is following, viewers can only wonder at what he sees and doesn’t see and try to piece together the backstory from the clues as Kipps discovers them.

There’s also a great deal of little things that happen subtly in the background and if you blink you miss them — such as the eye looking back at Kipps from a moving picture viewer that he finds in the house — only no one is there in the room with him. He comes across documents that hint that the house holds many more secrets than just strange noises and shapes seen in windows or out of the corner of his eye as he works.

There’s not much more I can say without spoiling the movie for you. The house and the surroundings are perfect for such a movie — dark and mysterious with times when it is cut off from the rest of the world. Sullen villagers who don’t want anyone to upset the fragile balance they have achieve with the evil that walks among them.

The setting and direction manage to keep you glued to your seat, hoping against hope that what you fear is going on is wrong and fearful that you’re right. Then there’s the hope that everything will turn out okay at the end after all. Maybe it did. Maybe it didn’t make any difference at all. That’s where the ambiguity comes in — in the end you make your own decision about what kind of ending the movie has and whether it is optimistic or pessimistic.

As always, I’m interested in the views of others. So if you’ve seen the movie, what did you think about it?

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The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy by Regina Jeffers
The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery by Regina Jeffers. Ulysses Press; Original edition (April 17, 2012) ISBN: 978-1612430454. Trade Paperback. (List: $14.95 / Amazon: $10.17 / Kindle: 9.66)

When The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy opens, the Darcys are worried because they haven’t heard from Geogiana since she headed north to open her husband’s home and ready it for his return. Georgiana and Colonel, now Major General Fitzwilliam were married in a previous book. However, the Darcys can’t do much about it as they’re preparing for Kitty Bennet’s marriage. There’s plenty to keep everyone busy.

Things take a desperate turn when notice is sent to the family that Major General Fitzwilliam was dead. Efforts were made to contact Georgiana, knowing she shouldn’t be alone at this time of grief. However, the news is shocking when they learn that Georgiana is missing and presumed dead on the moors. The Darcys spring into action to find out what happened to her.

Meanwhile, the reader is privy to a second story line. A lovely woman was found injured on the moors and taken to the MacBethan’s castle. Her memory is fragmentary at best after a fall from her horse. She has hazy memories of screams and pleas for help prior to awakening in a very plain room in the castle. The Lord of the castle takes her under his protection. She’s beginning to fall in love with him but something is holding her back — she feels there may be someone else in her past. More than that, she’s aware that she’s not an injured guest, but a prisoner and must watch all she says and does.

Then of course there’s another tread throughout the novel of George Wickham and his thirst for vengeance, his greed, and his hatred of Darcy. His actions twine about the other two plot threads.

Jeffers manages to keep the reader guessing as to the identity of the woman in the castle. Is she Georgiana? If so, how could she even think about falling in love with someone other than Fitzwilliam? If she isn’t Georgiana, then who is she? Does that mean Georgiana is really dead?

The point of view characters never really give away the few facts the reader is really desperate to know concerning Georgiana. They only know what they can learn from others or interpret from what they’ve found out. Even when you’re in the mind of the injured woman in the castle, you don’t learn who she is because her head injury means she doesn’t know who she is either.

The pace drags in a few places but seem to be mostly when the reader needs information that the characters have learned or are in the process of learning. Otherwise, it moves smoothly between the various plot lines and characters, all filling in needed information and helping us get a better feel for what is happening and the background.

That said, I found the book frustrating. At any time the author could have told us who the woman was and what had happened to Georgiana. By the end, when all is revealed, I felt that I’d been sitting on pins and needles for hours hoping everything would turn out okay and fearing that it wouldn’t. That Jeffers could pull such an emotional reaction from me, speaks to how well I thought she handled the misdirection and obstruction required by the main story line of Georgiana’s disappearance.

The characters are all very much as they were in the original work by Austen. There’s been no appreciable change to their basic character except that Geogiana, in the first part of the book, has come into her own as a strong, independent minded woman of her times. There are far more characters as lives have moved on, and there have been marriages and children added to the various family groups. Luckily, there’s a list of the major characters and their relationships to bring readers who haven’t read previous books up to speed on who’s who.

The book was released in April so should be readily available to those who enjoy the Pride and Prejudice follow-on books. If you’ve already read the book, I’d love to hear your opinions.

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Cover of Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale
Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale. Trade Paperback. ISBN: 978-1608196258. 288 pages. Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (January 31, 2012) (Amazon: $14.61 / Kindle: $9.99)

Charlotte Constance Kinder is nice. She’s been nice almost from birth. She did all the right things. She got married and had two children, Lu and Beckett. Once the children were in school, she got a bit bored and started her own online business. It was a great success and she sold it for a lot of money. Bored again she started another company which also was successful. Then Charlotte’s husband divorced her. Charlotte was blindsided by this and continually tried to figure out what she did wrong. By the time her ex married his mistress, Justice, Charlotte barely felt anything anymore. But she was still nice — it was habit by now.

On the suggestion of a friend, Charlotte read the novels of Jane Austen. Of course, we can guess what happened next. Charlotte felt emotions again — gentle, tiny flutterings, but emotions none the less. When the children go to stay with their dad and stepmom, what’s a mother to do? Book a vacation in Austenland, of course.

I’d read Austenland when it first came out so it’s been a while. I still loved meeting some of the characters that I’d first been introduced to then. Charlotte was more than ready to enjoy Austenland, after all she was nice and appreciated the little niceties of civilized behavior that Austen portrayed in her books. Readers who’d first visited Austenland in the previous book will note right away that Austenland has fallen on hard times of late. Of course that could be due to the war with the French — provided you stay in character. For those of us, in this time period, we see the signs of marital strife over assets coupled with an economic downturn.

Never the less, Charlotte’s vacation is going well, until she finds a body. No one believes her and she must decide what to do, how to find out who was killed, and who is to blame. This is a vacation that will change Charlotte’s perceptions of herself and her previous life. Once her vacation in Austenland is over, Charlotte will never be the same.

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale is much darker than the Austenland. The previous book was basically a romance and this one is a murder mystery with romance. The characters are interesting and as quirky, witty, charming, and annoying as you’d be likely to meet during a Regency country house stay. The story is also told from Charlotte’s point of view, with flash backs to previous periods in her life. Charlotte makes a great point of view characters as she has a habit of arguing with herself — some of which made me laugh out loud.

If you enjoyed Austenland, you’re sure to enjoy Midnight in Austenland. However, you don’t need to read the first book in order to enjoy this one. Pick up the book, settle down with your beverage of choice and slip away with Charlotte to Austenland.

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Malice Domestic 22 – Friday

1:10 p.m. The Poison Lady – Luci Zahray

The highlight of Malice Domestic for many members (based on the attendance at the panel) is the talk on poison that is given by Luci Zahray, affectionately called The Poison Lady. Zahray is a pharmacist in a very busy hospital in Texas. Her talks vary from year to year and focus on poisons, poisoning, and how writers can use poisons as part of their plots.

This year’s talk was about poisonous plants. She covered Aconite, also called Monkshood and wolfsbane, which is a hearty perennial and grows wild in most of the US. Then came the opium poppy plant which actually doesn’t like to be cultivated and grows best where neglected and can sometimes be found in the wild having escaped from gardens. Then there’s Hemlock which looks very much like Queen Anne’s Lace except that the stem is hollow and has purple dots on it. A tidbit I found very interesting is that Queen Anne’s Lace is not as prevalent as most people think, and that what they believe is Queen Anne’s Lace is really poison hemlock. (Kind of scary actually.) There’s also water hemlock which grows wild and is an even more potent a poison. Coltracine (?) was the last plant covered and it also grows wild throughout the country. Other plants touched upon during the talk were Lily of the Valley and Oleander.

It’s amazing to learn that so many poisonous plants are so readily available if one’s villain was inclined to use it to achieve his/her goal.

2:10 p.m. Oh, Sir Just One More Thing. William Link was interviewed by Doug Green. William Link is this year’s Poirot Award Honoree. He’s just written a book of short stories about Columbo. Link and his partner Dick Levinson wrote or developed the scripts for Columbo, Manix, Murder, She Wrote, as well as some other shows. Since the death of his writing partner, Link has been going solo with screenplays and short fiction.

Link was witty, funny, and entertained us all with stories of his experiences writing for movies and television, the actors and actresses he worked with, and his writing partner. The time just flew by, not to mention the wealth of information for writers that was sprinkled throughout his comments and answers.

3:10 p.m. You’ve Got Fan Mail: Honored Guests and Fabulous Fans. Panel: Verena Rose (Moderator), Rhys Bowen, Parnell Hall, and Mary Higgins Clark.

The panelists talked about the most interesting, strange, and otherwise curious mail or email they get from fans. Clark mentioned a letter that said she must be reading the writer’s mind because her book was the same the fan had written in her head and she thought she should get 50% of the royalties. Bowen mentioned that most of her current email was of the “don’t let her marry Daniel” type. They noted the mail that puts you in your place: Clark said she got mail from a 13-year-old boy who said he’d just read the first half of her book <B>Where are the Children</B> and hoped one day to read the other half and another letter that said, “you’re books are so good I don’t mind the boring parts”.

Clark recounted an incident where someone said she stole her book and it took two years of depositions to finally get the case dropped. It seems the woman had sent her script to just about the whole world except Clark. The panel then affirmed that that was exactly the reason that authors will not read the unpublished works of others – it’s just too perilous.

The panel then went on during the Q&A to discuss how you can find great ideas in the news by asking “what if”, “suppose”, and “why”. There were many other writing tips discussed and suggested for the beginning writer.

5:10 p.m. Opening Ceremonies. The toastmaster was Rhys Bowen, assisted by Verena Rose of the Malice Domestic Board. Each of the honored guest were introduced followed by the listing of the nominees for the Agatha Award. The award voting takes place during the convention and the winners will be announced at the awards banquet on Saturday evening.

Silent Auction: The hospitality room is also the site of the silent auction. Themed gift baskets are set about the room and you check them out and write your bid on the accompanying bid sheet. Most consist of a basket, books by an author, and items that relate to the books contents. Sometimes the baskets are by a groups such as Poe’s Deadly Daughters. This year there were at least 5 chances to bid on having your name be used for a characters in someone’s next book. The money from the silent auction goes towards a local charity to assist education and reading among children.

There was also a standard auction, also for charity. At least one of the items that I saw at the preview was a collection of items related to Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series (a couple of books) and True Blood (the HBO series) which included a vial of true blood and a Merlotte’s apron. There were also many other interesting and intriguing items. We missed the auction (having to be home in time to have Gumshoe Review go live on schedule) but in previous years this auction has been not only for a good cause but very entertaining to those attending as the auctioneer solicits bids from the audience.

Malice Domestic: Saturday, May 1st.

Due to traffic and other minor inconveniences we didn’t get to Malice Domestic until just before the lunch break. I talked to people at registration and learned that there were about 500 attendees this year. Based on an eye-ball estimate, I’d say that the ratio of professionals to fans is really good. If you can only do one conference and you’re a budding mystery writer, Malice Domestic should be a conference that you seriously consider attending. The panels are not simply fluff but serious opportunities to learn more about the art of writing, plotting, character development, and use of setting, among other skills.

We checked out the dealer’s room. You’d think with the number of books that come into the office every month that I’d never need to buy books. But, you’d be wrong. We picked up several that I’d been meaning to read such as P.D. James’ About Detective Fiction (a review will follow eventually).

1:30 p.m. Behind the Curtain: An Inside Look at Unusual Settings. Panelists: C. Ellett Logan (Moderator), Marian Moore Hill, Judith Koll Healey, Penny Warner, Joanne Dobson.

Each of these authors use setting as an integral part of the story.  Hill and Healey write historical mysteries.  Warner uses San Francisco and its environs.  Dobson uses a small New England college campus.

The combination of characters and settings drive the plots for these authors.  Each author supported the need to visit the settings you intend to use and to really understand the place, its quirks, its place in society and the people who inhabit that setting.  The more you know about the place the easier it is to move your characters around in it.

Most agreed that setting often determines the nature of the crime that is committed.  There was a lot of discussion on how each of the authors use setting in their books and why they picked the time/place/setting that they did.  When setting is used right — the story would be impossible to have anywhere else because then the setting wouldn’t be right.

One of the more important tips from this panel was to “write what you love not necessarily what you know”.  If you love a time or place you’ll find a way to learn what you need to know and the love will shine through to help make a good story — if you only write what you know, you’ll not grow as a writer or a person.

2:50 p.m. Urban Fantasy Mysteries: Stories with an Extra Dimension.  Panelists: Casey Daniels, Kris Neri, Maria Lima, Mary Saums, and Dina Willner (Moderator).

During the introductions it became clear that all of these authors read avidly as children and young adults.  They tended to read fantasy, science fiction, and mysteries.  Then there came some writers who brought magic to the modern world and once they found that mix which made urban fantasy — why not add a mystery.

The most important thing to do in writing supernatural mysteries is to set limits for your characters or magical system and stick to them.  There have to be rules and you need to live by them.  You need everything in a traditional mystery but you also have someone with supernatural powers that also misses the clues and that person must not be able to solve the crime with magic or it’s cheating.  You must play fair within the limits and rules that you set up for your world/series/story.

As important as it is to have rules and limits, you must have consequences if you try to break the rules or the limits you set up.

4:10 p.m. Guest of Honor Interview.  Parnell Hall interviewed by Dorothy Cannell and Sharon Newman.

Parnell Hall is an interesting person.  He’s been an actor, a songwriter/singer, and of course a mystery writer.  Rather than try to give you an idea of the life and times of this year’s Guest of Honor.  I’ll let you learn a bit about him yourself.  Here’s the link to Parnell Halls YouTube videos.

Unfortunately, we didn’t attend the banquet where the winners of the Agatha Awards were announced, but you’ll find the winners’ list in the Gumshoe Review News Column.

We were scheduled to cover another event on Sunday and would miss the program items on that day.  However, on the way home Saturday, our transmission decided to drop two gears so instead of going to that event, we’re at home until we can get the car into the garage on Monday.

If you never attended a Malice Domestic but love traditional mysteries, consider adding it to your calendar for next year.  Details will be on their webpage.

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Cover of Cowboy Trouble by Joanne KennedyCowboy Trouble by Joanne Kennedy. ISBN: 978-1-4022-3668-6, 416 pages. $6.99 mass market paperback/ $4.79 Kindle edition. On sale March 2, 2010.

Libby Brown always wanted to have a farm. That was definitely impractical while working as a journalist in Atlanta — not much scope in farming on your balcony. However, when her love life goes up in flames, she decides “chickens will never break your heart” and buys a ranch and heads to Wyoming. She barely arrives before her next door (but miles away) neighbor show up to welcome her to the area. Luke Rawlins makes a fine first impression even though he’s decked out like a cliché movie cowboy. But she welcomes the help and the information and who wouldn’t want to spend time with those eyes and the dimples. There’s a lot to learn about running a ranch with a herd of chickens while holding down a job on the local paper.

She begins to meet the people of Lackaduck, Wyoming. There’s the handsome sheriff who seems very committed to his job and is definitely making an effort to get to know Libby. Luke seems to always be around and the tension between the sheriff and Luke is palpable. When Libby hears that there’s next to no crime in Lackaduck but there is an unsolved murder still on the books, her journalistic juices start to flow.

I’d never read anything by Joanne Kennedy before but she sure got my attention with Cowboy Trouble. The story moves at a snappy pace with the point of view shifting smoothly from Libby to Luke to fill in some background information and keep the reader in the information loop. The unsolved mystery drives the story as Libby uses all her skills to identify the killer or at least to turn up some new evidence in the case.

On the level of a mystery, the story is top notch. Kennedy plays fair with the reader and the clues are all there to be collected so that the reader should be able to figure out what’s going on. Of course, the fact that Libby is a bit slower than the reader just adds to the tension. We can guess what’s going to happen but no matter how much you yell at the page, Libby just does her own thing.

The book is billed as a romance and there’s definitely all the expected tropes of a romance. Kennedy has a light touch and even while ratcheting up the tension on the mystery, she keeps the romance boiling and the humor unexpected but appropriate and a welcome tension reliever. Though I must warn you that even though the sex is very low key and more vague innuendo than exactingly detail (vague is good, and Kennedy is great at this) some of those scenes sizzle so much I thought the book was going to spontaneously combust.

All in all this is one heck of a good book when you just want to put your cares on the back-burner and forget about your problems for a few hours. Libby is strong, independent, witty, and definitely not to be trifled with. Kennedy manages to write Libby as a fully developed character who doesn’t do dumb things just to move the plot along. She does occasionally do some real dumb things, but always with solid reasoning behind the acts — you could imagine if you were Libby you’d do something similar.

Reading Cowboy Trouble by Joanne Kennedy is like stepping into another world and being the proverbial fly on the wall. If you enjoy mystery, romance, or a bit of both — you’ll want to add this to your To Be Read stack (and maybe bump it to the top).

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Edgar Allan PoeEdgar Allan Poe was born January 19, 1809. He was a writer, poet, and critic. He wrote mysteries, horror, and just plain weird stories. His poetry was often sad and/or depressing but mostly unforgettable. Classics Illustrated #4: The Raven & Other Poems has a good selection of his poetry illustrated by Gahan Wilson.

I first read many of his short stories in a collection that my grandfather let me read when I was quite young. Some of the stories kept me up at night with a flashlight for company and to keep the shadows at bay. Many people know of Poe’s writing even if they haven’t read it themselves. I doubt there are many people in the English speaking world who don’t connect raven’s with the word, “Nevermore”.

In Baltimore, there has been a tradition that on Poe’s birthday someone in the dead of night leaves a rose and a bottle of cognac on his grave. This year the watchers who keep a vigil waiting for this person to show up reported that the tribute to Poe was not left on his grave. A tradition of over sixty years maybe at an end. There have been two visitors to the grave. The first left a note and said he couldn’t do it anymore and someone else took up the mantle. Was the mysterious visitor ill? Has this person now gone to talk with Poe in person beyond the veil? Who knows. The watchers who wait for this yearly visitor will keep their vigil for another two years before they give up hope.

Whether this mysterious visitor once again visits Poe’s grave to leave a tribute of a rose and a bottle of cognac, people will go on reading Poe’s works, and enjoying the genres that he helped to develop. There may not be any more tributes left at his graveside but his legacy to literature lives on with readers everywhere.

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Sherlock Holmes, Dec. Release film
Sherlock Holmes is and was a fictional character created by Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle. According to wikipedia, Sherlock Holmes first appeared in print in 1887.

During the Christmas holidays, a new Sherlock Holmes film was released in theaters. Directed by Guy Ritchie, Sherlock Holmes was played by Robert Downey Jr., while Jude Law and Rachel McAdams played Dr. Watson and Irene Adler. Many fans of Sherlock Holmes were upset by the film because this is not the Holmes they were expecting. The plot is a bit wild but within the acceptable canon. Holmes however is more scruffy and common than most people expected.

Personally, I thought that he was closer to the Holmes I thought he was when I first read the books as a child. This Holmes could disguise himself as a laborer and get away with it. He could mingle on all class levels and blend in. That, however, doesn’t mean that he couldn’t dress up and appear in the highest levels of British society and also fit in smoothly since, as I mentioned, he could blend in on all levels. Holmes adapts and the only thing he can’t stand is boredom and ignorance. So, take a chance and see the movie, whether you like it or not will depend on your inner vision of Sherlock Holmes.

The second major complaint that I heard/read was that there was paranormal and magical aspects in a Sherlock Holmes film. Tsk. Tsk. In point of fact, Sherlock Holmes doesn’t believe in magic or the paranormal. He attacks the problem in his own way looking for clues and facts. While the movie appears to have real magic occurring, never once does Holmes say it is so. By the end of the movie you’ll know what Holmes does, and that changes how you view what you’ve already seen. Again, strictly canon in the Holmesian universe.

10 Facts about Sherlock Holmes on FactsMonk.

For my own Holmes adventure, Hyperion and I were traveling from hither and yon and managed, as we usually do, to get lost. However, we found Gillette Castle State Park. It’s in East Haddam, Connecticut and was the home of William Gillette who played Sherlock Holmes on Broadway and for years it was his image that was used as that of Holmes in magazines, books, and other print media. Gillette was a bit of an inventor and the castle has some interesting features. The one that’s relevant to this post is that he had a room set up to look like 221B Baker Street including the VR in the wall made by bullet holes. If you’re ever in the area in Connecticut, check it out. It’s high on a bluff overlooking the river. There’s a ferry that makes trips across the river and the view of the castle from the ferry is spectacular. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t find our photos of the visit so here’s one from the Gillette State Park site.)

I loved the books when I was in my early teens. I liked them even more when I was in my twenties and could appreciate the convoluted plots and Holmes’ dry wit. But I guess what I continue to like is the reliance on facts before hypothesis that Holmes insisted on. My favorite line is the one, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” This is even more astounding when you realize that Doyle fell for just about every scam that was about in his day — he was a stanch supporters of the girls who claimed to have fairies in the bottom of their garden, for example. But Doyle managed to have Holmes believe only in facts, science, and what he himself could deduce from clues.

In recent years, many authors have been writing stories using the Holmes character. I’ve reviewed several. Most remain true to the character as it was developed by Doyle. Even if they bring in paranormal appearing events, they manage to have Holmes stand true to his motto: “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

Celebrate the birthday of Sherlock Homes. Read a mystery.

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Poes RavenJust got back from the banquet and World Fantasy Award Ceremony.

Winners in BOLD:

Best Novel: This category had a tie.

    The House of the Stag, Kage Baker (Tor)
    The Shadow Year, Jeffrey Ford (Morrow)
    The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman (HaperCollins; Bloomsbury)
    Pandemonium, Daryl Gregory (Del Rey)
    Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin; Knopf)

Best Novella:

    “Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel,” Peter S. Beagle (Strange Roads, DreamHaven Books)
    “If Angels Fight,” Richard Bowes (F&SF 2/08)
    “The Overseer,” Albert Cowdrey (F&SF 3/08)
    “Odd the Frost Giants,” Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury; Harper Collins)
    “Good Boy,” Nisi Shawl (Filter House, Aqueduct Press)

Best Short Story:

    “Caverns of Mystery,” Kage Baker (Tales of Dark Fantasy, Subterranean)
    “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss,” Kij Johnson (Asimov’s 7/08)
    “Pride and Prometheus,” John Kessel (F&SF 1/08)
    “Our Man in the Sudan,” Sarah Pinborough (The Second Humdrumming Book of Horror Stories, Humdrumming)
    “A Buyer’s Guide to Maps of Antarctica,” Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld 5/08)

Best Anthology:

    The Living Dead, John Joseph Adams, ed. (Night Shade Books)
    The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Del Rey)
    The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2008: Twenty-First Annual Collection, Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link, & Gavin J. Grant, eds. (St. Martin’s)
    Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy, Ekaterina Sedia, ed. (Del Rey)
    Steampunk, Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, eds. (Tachyon Publications)

Best Collection:

    Strange Roads, Peter S. Beagle (DreamHaven Books)
    The Drowned Life, Jeffrey Ford (HarperPerennial)
    Pretty Monsters, Kelly Link (Viking)
    Filter House, Nisi Shawl (Aqueduct Press)
    Tales from Outer Suburbia, Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin; Scholastic)

Best Artist:

    Kinuko Y. Craft
    Janet Chui
    Stephan Martiniere
    John Picacio
    Shaun Tan

Special Award, Professional:

    Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant (for Small Beer Press and Big Mouth House)
    Farah Mendelsohn (For The Rhetorics of Fantasy)
    Stephen H. Segal & Ann VanderMeer (for Weird Tales)
    Jerad Walters (for A Lovecraft Retrospective: Artists Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft)
    Jacob Weisman (for Tachyon Publications)

Special Award, Non-Professional:

    Edith L. Crowe (for her work with The Mythopoeic Society)
    John Klima (for Electric Velocipede)
    Elise Matthesen (for setting out to inspire and for serving as inspiration for works of poetry, fantasy, and SF over the last decade through her jewelry-making and her “artist’s challenges.”)
    Sean Wallace, Neil Clarke, & Nick Mamatas (for Clarkesworld)
    Michael Walsh (for Howard Waldrop collections from Old Earth Books)

Lifetime Achievement Awards went to Ellen Asher and Jane Yolen.

Jay Lake did a wonderful job of setting up the ceremony and the award presenters did a great job of keeping things moving. Every category was strong and there were no losers in any of these categories as all people, books, and stories were more than worthy of the nominations.

Congratulations to all the winners.

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