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A Night in the Lonesome October: 04/08/15

cover art

A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny is one of two books I alternate with for Halloween / October reading. The other is Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree.

Zelazny's book, though short, can be read over the course of a month, as each chapter is a different date in the month. The narrator, a dog, outlines his duties in the game that comes on Halloween when conditions are correct. His master and the other players take sides as either openers or closers (those who want to open a portal of unthinkable evil, and those who want to make sure that doesn't happen).

Part of his duty (and the duties of the other familiars) is to figure out who is in the game. It seems this year there is a new participant, as described by his familiar, a pack rat. But things aren't adding up and people are ending up dead (unusual, but not unheard of), and the things in the mirror are especially restless.

To add to the charm of this book are the illustrations by Gahan Wilson. Though the book is from the mid 1990s, Wilson's line drawings remind me of the sorts of things included in the pulp science fiction of the 1970s. That's probably because he was illustrating them back then! Anyway, it's a newish (does 20 years old count as newish?) horror story with a deliciously retro feel to it.

Two stars

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