BookMusings: (Re)Discovering Pagan Literature

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Addendum: On Pagan Fantasy

A few weeks ago, I listed some of the best Pagan-authored and Pagan-friendly fantasies that I had read, to date. I am happy to report that I can now add two more titles to that list.

First is Apex Magazine. I downloaded a one hundred page sampler and was immediately hooked. Every issue -- and the publication is up to number fifty-two -- contains short fiction, poetry, essays and interviews. Many of the pieces which have appeared in Apex draw heavily on mythology and folklore, and feature Gods, Goddesses, monsters, tricksters, and heroes both familiar and strange. For example, Elizabeth Bear's "The Leavings of the Wolf" (Norse myth), "The Moon to Sappho" by Sonya Taafe, "Kamer-taj, The Moon-Horse" by Dr. Ignacz Kunos, and "Coyote Gets His Own Back" by Sarah Monette.

I highly recommend that anyone interested download the sampler issue, or browse the listings on the Apex site, Amazon or Barnes and Noble and get the issue that most interests you. Newer issues are only a few dollars a piece, with older issues are a very reasonable .99 cents. There are also collections, such as The Book of Apex and The Apex Book of World SF.

Perfect for short bus or train commutes, or lunch breaks at work.

Then there is Omens, the first book in Kelley Armstrong's new Cainsville series. Working in a bookstore, I knew of Armstrong's work, such as her Otherworld series, but had never read anything by her. The premise for Omens intrigued me enough that I took a chance -- and I was very very happy that I did so. Omens starts out as a straight up thriller: Chicago debutante Olivia Taylor-Jones finds out that she is adopted, and that her birth parents are notorious ritualistic serial killers. Hounded by the media and abandoned by her adoptive mother, she winds up in the tiny town of Cainsville, Illinois. That's when the paranormal elements of the tale begin to manifest: Olivia's quirky superstitions turn out to be omens, and she is one of the few people gifted enough to interpret them correctly. Cainsville itself is ... well ... there are no churches, there are stone gargoyles everywhere, a lucky black cat adopts Olivia, and some of the residents are much older, and much more Other than they appear. The story really kicks into gear when Olivia teams up with lawyer Gabriel Walsh, nephew of Cainsville's resident psychic, and they start digging into the murders ... and someone really doesn't want them digging ....

Think of Omens as The Thin Man crossed with Welsh mythology crossed with men in black government conspiracy theories. It's an intriguing mix, which kept me fully engaged for all four hundred and sixty-plus pages. I am definitely looking forward to the next book. 

So, there you have them: two new options of fans of Pagan- and Pagan-friendly fantasy. Whether you are looking for a quick read or something lengthy that you can savor over a long holiday weekend, I highly recommend Apex Magazine and Omens.

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Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine Eternal Haunted Summer. She is also the editor-in-chief of Bibliotheca Alexandrina. She thinks it is incredibly unfair that she must work for a living rather than being able to read all day. In her next life, she would like to be a library cat.

Comments

  • Jamie
    Jamie Wednesday, 04 September 2013

    Thanks for sharing! I'll check it out.

  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski Wednesday, 02 October 2013

    Thanks for this updated list (and the original)! Jane Yolen in general is ALWAYS an excellent read, and she respects her source material whenever she deals with myth and folklore.

    Rachel Pollack is also a professional tarot reader; she has an excellent short story in InterFictions. I highly recommend the magazine and anthologies as some of the absolute best short stories, of any genre, currently being written.
    http://interfictions.com/

    Don't forget the Clockwork Phoenix anthologies and Mythic Delirium magazine, either: http://mythicdelirium.com

    Cheers!

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