Mar 24, 2020

Book Recommendations March 2020

Dear Friends and Customers,

As you will know from our last newsletter, the Otherland is still open - however, we kindly ask you to wait outside if you see that there are five or more customers already inside, and keep your distance from other customers while you're shopping. We take a lot of care to make your visit as safe as possible for you and everyone else.
Of course, you can also just order your books - just write us an e-mail or call us (for the time being under +4915901500988); and by the way, we're quite happy to talk books and give recommendations on the phone!
You can also order surprise book packages - just tell us the following:

- Which genre do you prefer?
- Do you want your books in German or in English?
- What have you recently read?
- How many books do you want, and/or how much do you want to spend?

... then we'll send you your books and an invoice by mail!

If you want to come by, but minimize your exposure, you can also write us in advance which books you want; we'll pack them in a bag for you and include an invoice.

Stay safe, stay well - and take care of yourself and of others!



Destroy All Monsters by Sam J. Miller
Harperteen Euro 20,00

I remember vividly how well I liked Miller‘s Blackfish City. This new novel? Ash and Solomon have had a traumatic experience when they were twelve. Ash has suppressed all memory of it and Solomon has retreated into an inner world populated with monsters of many shapes. If she wants to save her friend from slipping deeper and deeper into the Darkside, Ash has to face her past and confront whatever it is that has happened. I don’t know about you, but I really want that mystery solved now. I also want to know what Solomon’s Darkside looks like. From reading Blackfish City I imagine it to be painted with dark but beautiful colors – and Miller’s really good in monsters. Looking really forward to this read!

Do You Dream of Terra 2 by Temi Oh
Saga Press Euro 9,95

An Elite Academy in Britain trains six teenagers for a space voyage. After a 23-year travel they shall reach Terra-Two, an earth-like planet in a nearby solar system. Four adults round out the crew. The undertaking becomes urgent, because Earth (as so often these days), is dying. From what readers say about this book it seems to waver between young adult and a novel for grown-ups.  It’s clearly character- not action-centered. The young people work out their usual anxieties and uncertainties, but underlying the whole story there seem to be more grown-up themes at work. What attracted me to the book (and might eventually make me read it) is the edition we used to sell before the one that we have now in stock. Instead of the astronaut-helmeted face, there were two bright suns on the cover trying to penetrate the misty haze above an unruly greenish sea. Several horizontal lines blurred and distorted the image and the title. Strange and dreamlike, very foreboding. And aha, dreams do figure into the story! Dreams and visions about a utopian planet occur way ahead of the discovery of Terra Two and the similarities between them are striking. What to make of this?! I’d really like to give this one a try and see how/if Temi Oh (what a great name to have!) makes it work.


False Value by Ben Aaronovich
Gollancz Euro 18,50

I was wondering if we would ever get another Peter Grant novel, since the last volume seemed, well, like the last. The faceless man was officially toast and the story seemed more or less complete. But thanks so much to Ben Aaronovitch there is a new novel around Peter’s exciting life between impending fatherhood and a new job for a London start up. Of course there are secrets hidden in the basement and Peter still can’t get magic out of his life. Only time (if you are a slow reader) will tell if he manages to save London this time.

A Blight of Blackwings by Kevin Hearne
Orbit Euro 17,00

To be honest, I was quite disappointed in this book. I loved the first volume and couldn’t stop talking about it for weeks (thank god I am paid to talk about books, at least once a week). Hence my excitement with the release of volume two. I am not really sure what my problem was here. I just felt bored and disappointed in the plot. It started too slow and felt not as fluid as Kevin Hearne’s usual style. It also wasn’t funny. I don’t know. I hope someone else will love it and convince me soon to give it another chance.



A Sick Gray Laugh by Nicole Cushing
Word Horde Euro 25,50

Mental illness as subject matter of horror is a tricky thing... One prominent example is Paul Tremblay’s appraised A Head Full of Ghosts - if you look at the novel’s goodreads page, you will see that in the very first question asked there is laden with heavy accusation that he does harm by linking the subject to horror. Not that I want to compare Cushing’s A Sick Gray Laugh and the former in any way. I just want to underline my first sentence that mental illnesses in horror literature is a tricky thing. I also want to stress that Cushing manages to handle even such a delicate subject in such an original, fantastic, unique, funny, weird and disturbing way that I completely admire and applaud her for this accomplishment! THIS BOOK IS A TREASURE TROVE! It deals with Noelle Cashman (Nicole Cushing?), an acclaimed author who suffers from anxiety, OCD and paranoid psychosis and her work is deeply connected to her mental illness: she writes about the phantasmagoric visions she experiences when she is unwell. But a new medication turns all of this upside down. Even though it helps with her symptoms, (she starts jogging, joins a softball team and regains hope) she starts perceiving her environment covered in a thick gray coat of slime - the Grayness.
Astonishingly sane for a novel about madness and depression, this is also an uncompromising, philosophical meditation on a wide range of topics: history, utopian cults, literature, sports and “staying sane in an insane world”. I love this book and THAT cover… that cover!

Miscreations - Gods, Monstrosities and Other Horrors edited by Doug Murano, Michael Bailey
Written Backwards Euro 19,00

Having finished Ellen Datlow’s Ghost anthology, I thought I would steer clear from horror anthologies for a while. But with beautiful, spooky illustrations (by Hagcult), a foreword by the ravishing horror author Alma Katsu and with an eccentric array of stylistic variety (such as horror poems, epistolary short stories or stories in interview form, besides your tedious normal short stories) I find it very hard to resist this outrageous piece of work! I am looking forward to this experience! [İnci]



Termination Shock by Greg Stolze
Crankshaft Constellation Euro 24,99

Around 2050, interstellar society noticed that there was an intelligent species sitting around in the Sol system and decided to save humankind from their backwater-hellhole Earth. The consequence: A bunch of clueless humans wandering around in space and trying not to totally fuck things up …
Greg Stolze is pretty much my favourite rpg author I just love reading his stuff, from his postmodern urban fantasy game Unknown Armies to his truly weird fantasy setting in Reign. Always to the point, always with a twist (usually of the knife). Termination Shock is no exception. The system is pretty simple, straightforward indie fare that puts of focus less on whether you fail or succeed, but how. The setting echoes all kinds of things from Farscape and Firefly to the Hitchhiker’s Guide and any number of Sitcoms, with plenty of room for going dramatic and dark or just flat-out goofy.

The Book of Unremitting Horrors by Dave Allsop and Adrian Bott
Pelgrane Press Euro 31,95

This is kind of the modern horror classic of RPG bestiaries: A collection of creatures that haunt the cityscapes, the left-behind rust belt hinterlands and the world wide web and that range in flavour roughly from Clive Barker via Thomas Ligotti to the Silent HIll computer games, from the funky-funny-gory to the quietly and seriously unsettling. Each creature comes with a piece of short fiction, a desription full of scenario hooks and stat for Pelgrane Press’s range of Gumshoe games, meaning you can use them with all these great investigative RPGs by Pelgrane: Esoterrorists, Trails of Cthulhu, Nights Black Agents, Yellow King and even Ashen Stars and Time Watch, if you feel that your SciFi-Campaign could use some bone-crunching horror!
I don’t know about you, but in times when I’m horrified by something real (which frankly, I kind of am), it’s not the worst idea to focus on horrors of the imagination to take my mind of things. If you’re like me, this is the book you need on your bedside table to read a page or two each day right now. [Jakob]

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