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Richard A. Lupoff
Mythos Books, 274 pages

Richard A. Lupoff
Richard A. Lupoff was born in 1935. He has worked in print journalism, in information technology, as a radio show host and in book publishing. His novels include One Million Centuries (1967), Sandworld (1976), Space War Blues (1978), Circumpolar! (1984), Countersolar! (1986), Lovecraft's Book (1985), The Forever City (1988), as well as a number of mystery novels. A collection of his short fiction, Before... 12:01... and After, was published by Fedogan & Bremer in 1996.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Best of Xero
SF Site Review: Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon
SF Site Review: Claremont Tales II
SF Site Review: Claremont Tales

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Mario Guslandi

A prolific author of fantasy, SF and horror fiction Richard A. Lupoff, although a veteran in the field, shows no sign of relenting his writing output, so much so that his latest collection, Visions, includes not only a bunch of previously published stories, but also a few brand new tales.

The first section of the volume collects three stories reporting the adventures of the psychic detective Abraham ben Zaccheus, a San Francisco-based kind of Sherlock Holmes, whose Dr Watson is a certain John O'Leary. "Hebrews Have No Horns" tells how O'Leary is hired and describes his first, shocking encounter with the supernatural. "There Are Kings" is a vivid tale of Lovecraftian evil, while "Steps Leading Downwards" is a rather dull piece revolving around ancient demons and gods. As an extra bonus the book also includes the excellent "Ankareh Minu," a well constructed tale set years later, featuring ben Zaccheus' granddaughter Rebekkah, a cop equally endowed with psychic powers. Lupoff provides a balanced mix of horror and fantasy, served with a touch of humour. O'Leary's accounts of their investigations in the supernatural has always a tongue-in-cheek subcurrent that relieves the pressure of the dark atmosphere induced by the presence of terrifying monsters and other unholy creatures.

Among the remaining stories selected for the book, even though a few left me a bit disappointed, I found most of the tales extremely captivating. I particularly enjoyed "Villaggio Sogno," an offbeat, "Gothic" tale à la Isak Dinesen with a distinct dream-like quality, set in an unlikely Italian tableau. In "The Peltonville Horror," a creepy tale celebrating the era of old radio dramas, a couple of lovers have to face the ordeal brought about by the combination of a terrible storm and supernatural evil. "Petroglyphs" is an atypical western and an atypical horror story confirming Lupoff's typical, devilish storytelling ability… "Tangaroa's Eye" seems to be coming right out of a comic book, as a colourful pulp fiction item where adventure rules beyond the limits of plausibility. The delicate "Snow Ghost" is a ride through the years by a very old man dealing with the ghosts of the past.

All in all, Visions is an enjoyable collection of dark fiction. Not all the material included is top notch, but there are many accomplished stories apt to entertain and delight the reader.

Copyright © 2010 by Mario Guslandi

Mario Guslandi lives in Milan, Italy, and is a long-time fan of dark fiction. His book reviews have appeared on a number of genre websites such as The Alien Online, Infinity Plus, Necropsy, The Agony Column and Horrorwold.

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