February 19, 2013

LA Times review, and more

So, last Friday, Jeff Vandermeer reviewed AMERICAN ELSEWHERE for the LA Times.

“American Elsewhere” conjures up echoes of the best works of Ray Bradbury and Stephen King. Among its many virtues, Bennett’s convincing portrayal of Mona may be his greatest accomplishment. This strong yet flawed woman drives the novel’s success. When she pistol-whips a very large man, we feel both her competence and the weight of the act. During a tension-filled exploration of the eerie abandoned laboratory and observatory, we fully experience her fear and her levelheaded determination under duress.

This is pretty ding dang neat, y’all. I saw Jeff at my first and only WFC, in 2010, when he told a story about capybaras on a panel, and I chimed in, having met the exact capybara he was discussing in a damn Lowes, of all places. (That story is recounted here.) So it was really nice to see that review, but felt surreal to see Jeff’s name at the top.

Also, I was profiled in the Austin Chronicle, which is really, really cool because when I was first trying to be a writer one of the things I thought was, “I sure wish I could be a cool Austin writer and get in the Chronicle.” (Still not cool, fyi – you can tell because I took this picture.)

Paranormal Haven also has a really great review up:

I have never read a book quite like American Elsewhere. The synopsis says it’s an American Supernatural novel. I had no idea that translated to horror, but maybe I should’ve. While it wasn’t what I was expecting, I was blown away by it. The first half of the book I spent going, ‘what is this!?’ The central story revolves around Mona and Wink, but mainly Wink. Its many denizens are peculiar, to say the least, and the secrets laying behind every face in Wink are worth discovering. I can’t say what Wink is, or why it is, that would be the biggest spoiler ever. In fact, I was extremely surprised with how Wink reveals itself.

As does Fantasy Literature:

Bennett nicely mixes classical mythology, Lovecraftian gothic, quantum science and what’s-in-the-woods horror. There are flashes of weird humor, like in the set of flash cards (flash cards??) Mr. Parson gives Mona. He has a knack for making the simplest objects frightening, like a fax machine, an old telephone, or a rabbit skull. Those rabbit skulls are terrifying.

All sorts of fun stuff.

As for me, I’m mostly just working at the dayjob. It feels like we’re toward the end of February, a very long month, but we’re really just middlish. I’ll be in Dallas on March 13 for Offworld, a cool thing Wordspace Dallas is doing. You can show up and hear me read or throw fruit or money at me, I’m fine with either.