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S. P. Somtow

Forfatter af Vampire Junction

88+ Works 3,054 Members 33 Reviews 4 Favorited

Om forfatteren

S. P. Somtow is a composer, film director, and author of over forty books His prolific output spans the genres of horror, science-fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and children's literature. His work has won or been nominated for dozens of major awards, including the John W. Campbell Award, the vis mere Locus, the Bram Stoker, the Hugo, and the World Fantasy Award He has written and directed two feature films -- The Laughing Dead and Ill met at Moonlight -- and will soon direct Timetwist from his own script. His epic ballet, Kaki, premiered as a Royal Command performance in Bangkok and he recently conducted the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. Somtow -- otherwise known as the Secret Godfather of the New Age -- currently lurks somewhere in the bowels of Los Angeles vis mindre
Image credit: S.P. Somtow


Værker af S. P. Somtow

Vampire Junction (1984) 259 eksemplarer
Moon Dance (1989) 207 eksemplarer
Mallworld (1983) 204 eksemplarer
Do Comets Dream? (2003) 193 eksemplarer
Starship & Haiku (1981) 142 eksemplarer
The Riverrun Trilogy (1996) 136 eksemplarer
The Aquiliad (1983) 131 eksemplarer
Light On the Sound (1982) 126 eksemplarer
The Darkling Wind (1985) 118 eksemplarer
Valentine (1992) 118 eksemplarer
Jasmine Nights (1994) 113 eksemplarer
V: The Alien Swordmaster (1985) 112 eksemplarer
Vanitas (1995) 107 eksemplarer
Throne of Madness (1983) 101 eksemplarer
The Shattered Horse (1986) 99 eksemplarer
Utopia Hunters (1984) 91 eksemplarer
The Vampire's Beautiful Daughter (1997) 73 eksemplarer
The Crow: Temple of Night (1999) 72 eksemplarer
The Fallen Country (1986) 67 eksemplarer
Darker Angels (1999) 62 eksemplarer
Riverrun (1991) 54 eksemplarer
V: Symphony of Terror (1988) 42 eksemplarer
Aquila and the Iron Horse (1988) 41 eksemplarer
Forest of the Night (1992) 39 eksemplarer
Aquila and the Sphinx (1988) 34 eksemplarer
The Ultimate Mallworld (2000) 31 eksemplarer
Dragons Fin Soup (1999) 31 eksemplarer
The Pavilion of Frozen Women (1996) 28 eksemplarer
Fire from the Wine Dark Sea (1983) 27 eksemplarer
The Wizard's Apprentice (1993) 14 eksemplarer
Other Edens (2005) 12 eksemplarer
Fiddling for Waterbuffaloes (1992) 12 eksemplarer
Forgetting Places (1987) 11 eksemplarer
The Other City of Angels (2008) 9 eksemplarer
Bluebeard's Castle (2003) 8 eksemplarer
The Bird Catcher (2018) 7 eksemplarer
Opus 50 (2013) 4 eksemplarer
A Lap Dance with the Lobster lady (1998) 4 eksemplarer
Yestern (2013) 3 eksemplarer
L'Année du caméléon (2005) 3 eksemplarer
The Stone Buddha's Tears (2013) 3 eksemplarer
Darker Angels 2 eksemplarer
Dinosaur Ballet 2 eksemplarer
Gingerbread 2 eksemplarer
Red as Jade 1 eksemplar
Mae Naak (vocal score) (2005) 1 eksemplar
Aquila [novelette] 1 eksemplar
Hunting the Lion 1 eksemplar
Helena Citronova: libretto (2018) 1 eksemplar
Messages de l'au-delà (1998) 1 eksemplar
Vanilla Blood 1 eksemplar

Associated Works

Now We Are Sick: An Anthology of Nasty Verse (1991) — Bidragyder — 347 eksemplarer
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Seventh Annual Collection (1990) — Bidragyder — 281 eksemplarer
The 1980 Annual World's Best SF (1980) — Bidragyder — 271 eksemplarer
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifteenth Annual Collection (2002) — Bidragyder — 265 eksemplarer
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Ninth Annual Collection (1996) — Bidragyder — 239 eksemplarer
Vampire Sextette (2000) — Bidragyder — 234 eksemplarer
The 1982 Annual World's Best SF (1982) — Bidragyder — 212 eksemplarer
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifth Annual Collection (1992) — Bidragyder — 202 eksemplarer
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fourth Annual Collection (1987) — Bidragyder — 201 eksemplarer
Strange Dreams (1993) — Bidragyder — 186 eksemplarer
Wings of Fire (2010) — Bidragyder — 179 eksemplarer
The Ultimate Frankenstein (1991) — Bidragyder — 167 eksemplarer
The Museum of Horrors (2001) — Bidragyder — 150 eksemplarer
The Apex Book of World SF (2009) — Bidragyder — 149 eksemplarer
Peter S. Beagle's Immortal Unicorn (1995) — Bidragyder — 148 eksemplarer
Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond (2013) — Bidragyder — 146 eksemplarer
The Ultimate Dragon (1995) — Bidragyder — 135 eksemplarer
Peter S. Beagle's Immortal Unicorn: Volume 2 (1999) — Bidragyder — 122 eksemplarer
Vampires: The Greatest Stories (1997) — Bidragyder — 121 eksemplarer
Tombs (1995) — Bidragyder — 114 eksemplarer
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2020 (2020) — Bidragyder — 112 eksemplarer
Elsewhere, Vol. II (1982) — Bidragyder — 104 eksemplarer
On a Bed of Rice (1995) — Bidragyder — 78 eksemplarer
Best New Horror 3 (1992) — Bidragyder — 74 eksemplarer
The Ultimate Witch (1993) — Bidragyder — 74 eksemplarer
The Ultimate Zombie (1993) — Bidragyder — 71 eksemplarer
Tales from the Planet Earth (1986) — Bidragyder — 65 eksemplarer
Confederacy of the Dead (1993) — Bidragyder — 61 eksemplarer
Ripper (1988) — Bidragyder — 49 eksemplarer
Dancing With the Dark (1999) — Bidragyder — 49 eksemplarer
Isaac Asimov's Werewolves (1999) — Bidragyder — 43 eksemplarer
Visitations of the Night (Grails) (1994) — Bidragyder — 42 eksemplarer
Urban Nightmares (1997) — Bidragyder — 33 eksemplarer
Chrysalis 5 (1979) — Bidragyder — 31 eksemplarer
Sense of Wonder: A Century of Science Fiction (2011) — Bidragyder — 30 eksemplarer
Great Tales of Madness and the Macabre (1990) — Bidragyder — 25 eksemplarer
Grails: Quests, Visitations and Other Occurrences (1992) — Bidragyder — 24 eksemplarer
Other Worlds (1979) — Bidragyder — 22 eksemplarer
Cold Shocks (1991) — Bidragyder — 21 eksemplarer
Chrysalis 8 (1980) — Bidragyder — 20 eksemplarer
Chrysalis 9 (1981) — Bidragyder — 18 eksemplarer
I, Vampire (1995) — Bidragyder — 16 eksemplarer
Univers 1982 (2001) — Bidragyder; Bidragyder — 14 eksemplarer
Isaac Asimov's Near Futures and Far (1981) — Bidragyder — 10 eksemplarer
The Bantam Spectra Sampler (1985) — Bidragyder — 9 eksemplarer
Analog 4 (1982) — Bidragyder — 8 eksemplarer
The Roots of Fantasy: Myth, Folklore & Archetype (1989) — Bidragyder — 4 eksemplarer
De sang et d'encre (1999) — Bidragyder — 4 eksemplarer
S-Fマガジン 1983年 09月号 — Bidragyder — 1 eksemplar

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This book was okay, It was probably my least favourite, however I did like the evil character that is a serial killer Dirk Temple and the woman that is psychic/a shaman.
This book is based in Thailand, it is about a Journalist named Stephen Lelloit and his wants to make a documentary or tv show about the sex industry in Thailand but it is a little exploitative of the women that he talks to.
His grandmother Linda Dusit who is the Shaman, can astral project herself into the spiritual/astral realm while there she senses an evil presence which is Dirk Temple.
Dirk Temple who is my favourite character because he is depraved and psychotic, he goes on a killing spree so he can metamorphose into a godlike being and then rule over human beings to collect their souls.
However things don't exactly work out for him so eventually he is punished. One of his murder victims and her brother are finally set free.
… (mere)
EvilCreature | 2 andre anmeldelser | Sep 17, 2022 |
This blast from the past is a collection of short stories from the early 1980's. The scenario is this: Centuries from now, the human race will be visited by an advanced race called the Selespridar. They'll shunt the solar system into a parallel universe to keep us in quarantine as they (slowly) judge whether humanity has evolved enough to become part of the greater pan-galactic civilization. Considering the stories in this book center around 30-kilometer-long shopping mall in the vicinity of Jupiter, you can probably guess that we have a ways to go.

The tales of Mallworld are amusing, though they elicit more of a quick grin than any LOLs. (Of course, they were written before LOLs, so that might be a factor.) Many of those are anachronisms/malapropisms committed by characters in their references to our ancient era. The overall purpose of the collection seems to be to take pot-shots at the vapidness of American consumer society while telling tales of common people confronting the crushing pressures brought to bear by wealth and power and winning peace and contentment in the end. There's a lot of worse things you could be reading.
… (mere)
Hamburgerclan | Feb 9, 2019 |
Mallworld is a brilliant playground for stories. Between 1979 and ’81, S.P. Somtow published a slew of seven stories set in the titular Malllworld, a mall 30 kilometers long situated near Jupiter, floating in the void. Somtow’s vision of consumerism gone amok was simultaneously ahead of its time and forgettable. His ideas helped lay the groundwork for what would become cyberpunk (and the Mall of America): A grimy marriage of technology and class division, with extensive corporate intrigue and rebellious no-care attitude.

Mallworld’s a wonderful place, and the best moments of these stories revel in the mall’s consumerism, but many Mallworld stories are also mired in dated stereotypes and sloppy writing desperately in need of an editor. Somtow — then writing under the name Somtow Sucharitkul — moved on from Mallworld in ’81 and continued to develop his writing with quirky sci-fi, fantasy, and horror fiction alongside a music career, but most of his work is either self-published or out-of-print today.*

[N.B. This review features images and formatting specific to my book site, dendrobibliography: Check it out here.]

The lore of Mallworld poses a far-future where the Selespridar — tall, blue humanoids with purple hair akin to dreadlocks and who emit a pheromone attracting humans uncontrollably — have caged the human race, effecting an opaque shield just beyond the orbit of Saturn. Humanity, then, has lost access to the stars, until such a time as they prove themselves socially advanced enough to the Selespridar.

The Selespridar themselves are ridiculous, and the hammiest part of the stories. Most of their powers are more magic than sci-fi, and their alien sense of ethics is mindnumbingly backwards even by human standards. Not all of the nine stories deal with the Selespridar, thankfully, but those that do are the weakest links and are perhaps why Mallworld is largely forgotten today.

On the other hand, the stories that focus on the corporate worship of Mallworld and the grimy underworld in the mall’s forgotten corners offer endlessly creative and addictive. The Way Out Corp., a company that has bankrolled suicide into both a product and entertainment; Storkways Inc., which controls the market on genetically-modified children and has made natural births unfashionable; Copuland, a theme park-cum-brothel that works hand-in-hand with the Way Out Corp.; the Churches of Colonel Sanders, St. Martin Luther King, Jr., and St. Indiana Jones, which need no further explanation

The earliest stories and the opening frame narrative are the weakest points, focusing on the Selespridar over the mall itself. The frame narrative loosely ties the nine short stories together and is written as half the conversation between two Selespridar discussing the future of humanity. It’s bad, and adds nothing to the stories themselves. In only four pages, it features plot holes and the worst aspects of the magical aliens, who joke and jab about how dumb humanity is while saying plenty of dumb things. The nine stories are meant to be their reading nine minds within Mallworld itself, picked at random, but this never makes sense as some of the stories take place over multiple years, one the Selespridar reading minds also shows up as a character frequently, and most of the narrators are directly related to one another and from a very close-knit, small family. Either skip it, or read knowing it gets better.

The first two stories — also among the first published — are serviceable prototypes for Mallworld. ‘A Day in Mallworld’ (1979) and ‘Sing a Song of Mallworld’ (1980) offer fascinating glimpses of colorful consumerism, but they’re mostly buried under Selespridar lore — boring — or shallow characterization. The former is a tale of a Bible Belt runaway landing on Mallworld for the first time. She immediately meets a Selespridar who’s wandering among humans looking for the meaning of life. They wander the variety of churches representing the future of religion until finally realizing that books providing life with meaning. It’s a dated and cynical message swamped in naivete about technology.

The latter is more interesting, but signals a serious issue with this series’ male narrators: They’re misogynistic twerps who fall in love on sight and demand that women sleep with them. Their demand for sex often drives the plot, which makes these nothing but shallow boys’ stories. The narrator here is our introduction to the barJulians, a wealthy family that built Mallworld generations ago, and have amassed most of human wealth to splurge on whatever they desire. A bored 17-year-old virtuoso, this barJulian wanders Mallworld looking for distractions from his musical career, and stumbles upon a cult of children living in the skin of Mallworld. Instead of diving into this cult, his story is about ‘rescuing’ one of its members so she’ll sleep with him. Not cool. Also featured is a life-sized game of pinball. Cool.

The third story, ‘the Vampire of Mallworld,’ really picks up the pace and shows the possibilities of this world. It also, obviously, casually introduces vampires into a consumerist sci-fi vision of the future without batting an eye. A TV producer and actor working on his own reality TV show — long before reality TV — about Mallworld’s darkest secrets finds the ultimate secret: An underground suicide parlor where guests watch volunteers get slaughtered by a starving vampire. Introducing a network of barJulian family secrets, corporations selling suicide, baby wholesalers embroiled in corporate conspiracies, talking TV cameras full of snarky backtalk, and, of course, vampires, it’s easy to see the seeds that would eventually flower into cyberpunk here. ‘The Vampire of Mallworld’ is best described on simple terms: Batshit crazy.

That vampire story was one of the last Mallworld stories written in 1981, and shows how Somtow’s writing style and ideas were evolving past shallow characters and shallow messages on consumerism. The following story, ‘Rabid in Mallworld,’ is another early outing, most similar to ‘a Day in Mallworld.’ ‘Rabid’ expands on the Selespridar lore, showing the stages of their multi-century life cycles. It’s not a bad story, but it’s forgettable, and the family drama that’s meant to be at the forefront is lost behind a bulwark of sci-fi gobbledygook.

The longest story, ‘Mallworld Graffiti,’ is two stories fitted together. A reprisal of the misogyny from ‘Sing a Song’ fills up the first half, and a page-turner about social justice and dystopian realities next door the latter half. An artist tries to win the heart of a barJulian by sculpting her likeness in a massive fixture of ice orbiting Jupiter — he obsesses about her, about how much he deserves her, about how much he wants to show the world by sleeping with her. Then the narrative shifts, and instead he’s atoning and miserable, spending his days helping those in need at the mall’s ‘Graffiti,’ which is a massive collection of public messages and cries for help. Eventually another Mallworld is seen next door via a rip in reality, and he meets another him trying to escape the oppression of their world’s Selespridar overlords. If this sounds completely irrelevant to the ice sculpture, tail-chasing escapades, that’s because it is. It’s also much better.

‘The Darkside of Mallworld’ is another highlight, and another precursor to the cyberpunk movement. We follow a repo agent working for Storkways Inc., hunting down and stealing children whose parents fail to pay their monthly dues. Repossessed children are taken to used kid lots and sold to whoever’s willing to pay. This amazing scenario leads into another: Our repo’d kid escapes and we chase her into Mallworld’s darkside — floors where stores couldn’t pay their rent, long abandoned by commerce and left to slowly rot. Mallworld’s darkest corners are now ruled by competing gangs torn from butchered mythology. It’s the Mallkyries at war with the Amazons. The Mallkyries seek an honorable death in order to make it to Mallhalla, an afterworld where they can purchase all the coprokinetic sculptures their souls could want.

‘The Jaws of Mallworld’ was the original closer for the 1981 and 1984 editions of Mallworld, and it’s a weird one. The title is a reference to Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws, as a portal between the Atlantic Ocean and the floor of Copuland releases endless torrents of salt water and sea critters into Mallworld. A man-eating shark moves in, and Copuland shifts from selling sex with ‘porcupines’ — modified people with 30 or more sets of genitalia — to selling death in the jaws of the visiting shark.

With the 2000 and 2013 reprints of Mallworld, Somtow wrote two new stories set in the universe: ‘A Mall and the Gneiss Visitors’ and ‘Bug-Eyed in Mallworld.’ They’re both among the series’ best stories, and show a lot of growth in Somtow’s writing. The Pope and the bug-eyed barJulian aren’t shallow wells of sexual desires like earlier protagonists, but developed observers with developed goals.

Geology is alive in the ‘Gneiss’ story, and are visiting our solar system in order to rescue long-lost family from human abuse. The Black Stone of Kaaba arrived centuries earlier, and hides in plain sight, waiting for a chance to escape. Without rescue soon, it’s feared, the Black Stone will die alone and turn into what we think of as a normal rock. A future Pope narrates this story, a woman who was genetically-engineered to be the Pope: She’s a figurehead who stands naked and pure in a world where Catholicism has bought out and merged with Hinduism, and where Jesus returned in the 21st century to combat Mormonism. She travels with the geologic visitors to help return their lost family.

‘Bug-Eyed’ tells of a corporate takeover, of an elaborate ruse set off by smarter species — cetaceans and the Selespridar. Curly the whale gives our narrating barJulian the keys to the shield enclosing our solar system around Saturn’s orbit, and shortly after Mallworld’s suffered a corporate takeover. His credentials barred from traveling within Mallworld, he buys a new body — that of an ancient race of giant insects that doubled, we mythologize, as detectives. Born anew as a giant preying mantis in an overcoat, our barJulian travels to a new department store literally devouring all of Mallworld with promises of savings and sales. He has to choose between saving himself and all of humankind.

These two stories seem immediately more complex than the older ones, and, along with ‘Vampire’ and ‘Darkside,’ are the most fun to read. The closing of the frame narrative is about as dumb as its opening, unfortunately.

Mallworld‘s stories all exude charm and creativity like no other, but it’s impossible to say most of them are actually any good. Characters are two-dimensional stereotypes, and plotlines are as self-involved and shallow as the concept of Mallworld demands. Stories like ‘a Day in Mallworld’ and ‘Sing a Song for Mallworld’ are immediately forgettable slogs, but then ‘the Darkside of Mallworld’ and ‘the Vampire of Mallworld’ are classic, goofy tales of cyberpunk, required reading for fans of the genre.

Somtow’s stories are worthwhile for sheer creativity, and the writing comes second. Even when they fall flat, Mallworld gets by on just plain coolness. Given the growth in Somtow’s writing between the 1979 and 2000 stories, I hope he returns to Mallworld once again: A new collection or a novel devoted to the best parts of Mallworld — its dark underbelly, the corporate intrigue, and other human elements — could kick a little life into cyberpunk and open lots of younger readers to this forgotten gem of the genre.
… (mere)
3 stem
tootstorm | May 23, 2017 |
This was a re-read for me - but it's been over 20 years since I first read it. It's interesting to come back to something after so long. I'm happy that I still really, really liked it.
It's a reading experience that's more like experiencing a poem or a song than a typical novel. This is not to say that the plot is not clear and easy to follow (if anything, the plot might be overly simple, given such a rich and complex universe), but it is suffused with almost a synaesthesia of the senses, with music and glittering darkness. It's full of weird and wonderful imagery.
That said, perhaps some people might find it dated in some ways - personally, I found it giving me a nostalgia for the time period when it was written, which was much more filled with over-the-top fantasy, with an unabashed flair for the dramatic. Although this is sci-fi, it's definitely aesthetically influenced by the goth scene of the time, and reminds me of when goth was all about beauty, decadence and playing at cruelty and power, skirting the edges of convention. Some people found goth rock too bombastic too. I don't.

I wish Somtow would write more SF. Being a conductor is all very nice and worthwhile, but.... More Books! :-)
For now, I think I'll re-read this entire series.
… (mere)
AltheaAnn | 1 anden anmeldelse | Feb 9, 2016 |



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