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Five Autobiographies and a Fiction Five Autobiographies and a Fiction by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
"Writers tend to romanticize the sordid" one avatar of Lucius Shepard says in the longest and best of the stories here. Well, not all writers do, but it has been Shepard's stock in trade since he first began to conjure versions of the Vietnam War in stories like "R&R." It's there in the lush, overheated jungles of Central America and South East Asia that seem his natural home, and in the tales of wasted, drug-addled petty criminals who populate his vision of modern America.

The Dragon Griaule The Dragon Griaule by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
The dragon is dead, yet the dragon lives. From the very first lines of the very first story about the dragon, "The Man Who Painted The Dragon Griaule," that paradox winds its way through the narrative and ensnares the lives of the characters. The dragon is huge, its body sculpts the ridge that forms the Carbonates Valley, and for generations of inhabitants, the will of a dead dragon has been the most pervasive influence in their lives.

The Taborin Scale The Taborin Scale by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by Rich Horton
Over the decades, some of the author's most popular tales have featured an immense dragon named Griaule, who lays, perhaps sleeping, perhaps dead, next to the city Teocinte. Griaule is both a sinister and dangerous figure -- in part merely because of his size and the fact that he's a dragon, but in part for what might be called psychic reasons -- and a benefit to the locals, mainly as a tourist attraction.

The Best of Lucius Shepard The Best of Lucius Shepard by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
From the first page of this collection you are already immersed in one of the stories that made Lucius Shepard's name: "The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule." In many ways it seems a conventional fantasy; the setting somewhere imprecise in what appears to be Southern Europe, a dragon brooding high in the mountains over the remote town, a hero with an ingenious way to slay the dragon. But something separates this story from such apparent conventionality. Our central character means to kill the dragon by painting it, an act of slaughter that is also a work of art.

Life During Wartime Life During Wartime by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
The military gear of the near-future setting hasn't moved too far from the basics. Assault weapons cable into backpack processors which project range data onto helmet-mounted screens. Army-issue amphetamines have been replaced by fast-acting combat drugs like "samurai" that can make any soldier feel like Superman. The twist is the existence of Psicorps, a project born of New Age philosophy and more than a little Cold War paranoia. Psicorps' job is to identify and exploit potential psychic ability in Army recruits.

Two Trains Running Two Trains Running by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by David Soyka
The author literally "bums around" in this collection of his award winning work. This volume is a bit different in that it includes a non-fiction piece, "The FTRA Story," a shorter version of which was originally written for Spin magazine, that inspired the characters and settings of the two short stories, "Over Yonder" and "Jailbait."

A Choir of Ill Children / Louisiana Breakdown A Choir of Ill Children by Tom Piccirilli and Louisiana Breakdown by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by David Soyka
Southern Gothic is the neighbourhood haunted by Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty and William Faulkner. The style features supernatural -- or seemingly supernatural -- grotesquerie, often in a backwoods or swamp setting, rooted in a cultural folklore steaming with themes of enslavement, racial tension, repression, rebellion, religious belief, family conflicts, and clan loyalty in which God or fate influence, if not outright determines, moral choices.

Louisiana Breakdown Louisiana Breakdown by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
Summer's here and the time is right. The author summons up a potent mix of music, magic, and the hot, humid air of the Louisiana delta. It's a tale of tradition and betrayal, hope and abandonment, told by an writer who can make you feel the thickness in the air that the characters breathe. Jungles and tropical climes have long played a part in his fiction as places where reality can break down, exposing hidden mysteries and magic.

Green Eyes Green Eyes by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by Martin Lewis
This is a book that has no respect for genre. Throughout its course, the novel spans the whole of the nebulous speculative fiction genre, taking on the appearance of science fiction, fantasy and horror all in turn. Perhaps the best way to describe it is as American Gothic. Or even as a love story.

Colonel Rutherford's Colt Colonel Rutherford's Colt by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Intertwining two stories about the titular weapon, the weapon belonged to Bob Champion, a white supremacist martyr whose widow is trying to sell the gun to anyone except her former lover, Raymond Borchard. In the other, the gun belongs to Colonel Hawes Rutherford, a tyrannical American living in Cuba who uses the weapon to kill his wife's lover. Both stories focus on Jimmy Guy, a gun dealer who specializes in weapons with an historical provenance. While attending a gun show in Issaquah, Washington, Loretta Snow approaches him and asks him to sell a Colt on commission. Her only condition is that it not be sold to Borchard.

Beast of the Heartland Beast of the Heartland by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
There are few SF writers, actually there are few writers of any kind, whose words are worth reading for the sheer beauty of the prose. Lucius Shepard belongs near the top of that list, yet his prose style always serves the needs of the particular piece.

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