I know next to nothing about science fiction/fantasy/horror writing or writers. In fact, I may have read only two "horror" books in my life, both of which, I suspect, were more like hybrids that combined horror, science fiction, fantasy and erotica into one highly original mix. The books I read, years ago, were written by a friend of mine, Michael Blumlein.
I knew Michael because, at the time, his daughter and my son were both acrobatics students at the same circus school. Also at the time (I'm talking 10 or 15 years ago...), we lived in the same SF neighborhood, Noe Valley, where I worked as a writer/editor for the Noe Valley Voice newspaper, and often wrote feature story profiles of neighborhood artists. When I found out that Michael was a sci-fi/fantasy/horror writer as well as a doctor at UC Medical Center, I was fascinated and asked him if I could profile him in the Noe Valley Voice. This led to my reading a couple of his books - a short story collection called The Brains of Rats, and a novel called X/Y. I thought both of them were great, and they made me see that my patronizingly dismissive attitude toward all sci-fi/fantasy/horror writing was narrow and ignorant. Writing in any genre (or mix of genres) can be fabulous. It just has to be good writing, duh.
Anyway, I got an email from Michael (who I eventually talked into teaching fiction classes at the Writing Salon for a while) a couple of weeks ago telling me that he has a new novel out called The Healer, and will be doing readings at Dark Carnival bookstore in Oakland, on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 2 p.m. and at Borderlands Books here in SF on Sunday, Aug. 21st at 2 p.m.
I haven't read The Healer yet, but I want to....just read a review of it in The Agony Column, edited by Rick Kleffel, who says:
". . .Readers who like their fiction dark, biological and surreal will find a surplus of those tone colors here, along with wonderfully direct prose. What kind of creatures we'll encounter, what kinds of horror and wonder we'll see remain unknown, but it is certain that readers will have their brains turned inside-out by this writer. Whatever you think you expect from this brief description, un-expect it. Blumlein is the sort of author who manages to make all sort of left, right and U-turns when you least expect them."
If you want to read the whole review, scroll all the way down; it's at the very bottom of the page.
I think it's amazing that Michael has managed to pull off being both a doctor and a serious, practicing writer (not to mention a father of two). Yay Michael!