Boston and Cambridge have been great centers of art and literature for centuries, and today they are as creatively fruitful as ever. In the fields of speculative fiction and game design, the greater Boston area continues to be the home of many artistic innovators. If you want to experience some of the books and games that Boston has to offer, check out some of these authors and game designers. Discover your local creators!
Books:Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series, starting with The Lies of Locke Lamora, is one of the most acclaimed fantasy sagas of our time. Set in an otherworldly metropolis inspired by the city of Venice, it follows the adventures of a young thief as he tricks and cons his way through a world of wicked aristocrats and criminal conspiracies. From intrigue on filthy city streets to piracy on the high seas, Lynch pulls the reader into a world of adventure and amazement that has captivated fans through three novels, with at least four installments left to go.
Joe Hill is a household name for anyone interested in contemporary horror writing; his book NOS4A2, about a Christmas-themed sorcerer, cult leader and child abductor was adapted into an equally popular tv show. Horns, his novel about a demonic body transformation, was adapted into a movie with Daniel Radcliffe, and his debut, Heart-Shaped Box, won the Bram Stoker Award for best first novel. His graphic novel series Locke & Key has become a popular Netflix series, and even his short stories collected in Full Throttle have been optioned for movies. Wherever you look, you’ll find Joe Hill influencing popular horror and pop culture in general.
Christopher Golden has a deft hand with both traditional and graphic novels, as anyone who has read his Hellboy comics (including the incredibly popular Odd Jobs) knows it. His recent horror novels Snowblind and Ararat (a Bram Stoker Award winner) both focus on the terror of being snowbound—a terror that anyone who has lived through a New England winter can empathize with! He is also one of the most prolific writers of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels, and can jump from writing one universe to another without breaking a sweat.
Bracken MacCleod is the author of numerous offbeat thrillers, ranging from splatter-punk gore fests to tense psychological dramas. His debut novella Mountain Home tells the unfortunately relevant story of a random sniper attack on a roadside diner, while his Bram Stoker Award nominated novel Stranded is pure survival horror— a story about being trapped on a boat with more than just raging storms to worry about. White Knight puts a fresh twist on private detective novels, and his collection of short stories Thirteen Views of the Suicide Woods shows the full gamut of his abilities.
Paul Tremblay changed the face of contemporary horror with his terrifying novel A Head Full of Ghosts, a tale of demonic possession—or perhaps just illness and malice. A story told within that book, by one character to another, grew into the short story collection Growing Things, which became one of our great store favorites. The Cabin at the End of the World was a novel of both home invasion and doomsday anxiety, and won the prestigious Bram Stoker and Locus awards for best horror novel.
Alexandra Rowland is the author of the beloved A Conspiracy of Truths series, which so far consists of the titular first novel and its sequel, A Choir of Lies. They follow the journey of a storyteller in a fantasy world who ends up wrapped in a web of espionage and political intrigue, with only his creative skills to fall back on. With a diverse cast of characters, cleverly nested stories, and eerie magic, A Conspiracy of Truths made a definite impact upon arrival. Alexandra Rowland also happens to be a friend of Pandemonium, and has participated in signing events at our very own store!
James A. Moore writes the Seven Forges series of linked stories, as well as several other series—The Tides of War, Subject Seven, and Serenity Falls, to name only a few. He brings a heavy action-adventure sensibility to his fantasy creations, and isn’t afraid to branch out into mystery and horror, either. Whether his books are tales of small-town murder or fighting the gods themselves, he always knows how to keep the pace up and the blood pumping.
Hillary Monahan is behind the young adult horror series Bloody Mary, a story about what happens when the famous urban legend is summoned by a group of adolescent girls. Mary herself isn’t the only thing they have to worry about—they also have to contend with their own shifting loyalties and trust in each other. The books aren’t just horror stories but mystery novels—after all, how can you lay a ghost to rest if you don’t know their story?
Catherynne Valente is one of the biggest names in contemporary fantasy. Her imagination includes reinterpretations of Russian mythology (Deathless), furious takedowns of the way the comics industry treats female characters (The Refrigerator Monologues), and comically bizarre space Eurovison song contests (Space Opera), to name only a few titles. Her poetic language and endless font of ideas has earned her fans in many different subgenres.
Theodora Goss is best known for her gigantic gothic literary crossover series about the Athena Club, a group of adventurous ladies who are all the daughters of mad scientists. Starting with The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, she's introduced a whole new generation to classic Victorian literature by way of action-adventure and fantasy. Her collection of poetry and short stories, Snow White Learns Witchcraft, has amazed and delighted fantasy greats like Jane Yolen and Jo Walton, as well as readers of all stripes.
Games:White Wizard Games make the Star Realms card game, so popular that we have trouble keeping copies in the store! It’s a deckbuilding game about spaceship combat—destroy each other’s bases and blast through each other’s ships to triumph over your opponent! Use your strategy, determination and plain old luck to see you through to victory in this cult favorite!
Asmadi Games makes many games we carry at Pandemonium. One Deck Dungeon takes you through a randomly generated dungeon crawl, with infinite layout variations with each shuffle and expansion pack. We Didn’t Playtest This at All is a two-minute party game, with humorous cards and rules that involve rock-paper-scissors. The Golden Geek Award-nominated Red7 is a tiny and fast game that is actually several games in one and involves surprisingly intense strategy.
Explore the works of Cambridge and Boston’s literary and gaming creators, and appreciate our wonderful community!