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My Reading List for 2021

I have written a bit about how odd 2021 was, and that oddness crept into my reading. It’s not uncommon for me to read forty-ish books a year, and I once again passed my goal. But along with novels, I generally read some comics and short stories. Yet, this year I didn’t. Was it a lack of interest? New projects filling that time? The weirdness of the waning pandemic? Not sure! Whatever it was, for 2021, both those sections will be empty.

All that said, I had a great experience reading through the year. On the whole, I enjoyed my reading more in 2021 than last. There were a lot of new finds, I rarely came across a book I couldn’t stand, and I discovered some new favorites. That’s a win.

This list correlates with my Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge. But there are usually some slight differences between the two. This list is all strictly reading for pleasure—I typically forgo listing any research/history books I’ve read for a project as I read those differently than I do fiction. This list is always enormous, so l skip reviews except for my favorites. However, I’d invite you to follow me on Goodreads, where I occasionally leave other reviews.

Most links will go to IndieBound—now more than ever, be sure to support your local bookstore. If possible, I am directly linking to each author’s website—if you’re on the list and I didn’t find your website, please let me know about it. (I won’t link to social media, sorry.)

Okay, to the list!


📚 Novels & Novellas

  1. Cibola Burn (The Expanse #4)
    by James S. A. Corey
  2. Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3)
    by Martha Wells
  3. Ring Shout
    by P. Djèlí Clark
  4. The City We Became (The Great Cities #1)
    by N. K. Jemisin
  5. Planet of Exile
    by Ursula K. Le Guin
  6. A Killing Fire
    by Faye Snowden
  7. The Beauty
    by Aliya Whiteley
  8. The Hospital Ship
    by Martin Bax
  9. We Ride the Storm
    by Devin Madson
  10. A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century 🎧
    by Barbara W. Tuchman
  11. The Resisters: A Novel
    by Gish Jen
  12. A Demon-Haunted Land:
    Witches, Wonder Doctors, And The Ghosts Of The Past In Post–WWII Germany 🎧
    by Monica Black
  13. The Ruins
    by Scott Smith
  14. Merkabah Rider: High Planes Drifter
    by Edward M. Erdelac
  15. Whispers in the Dark
    by Laurel Hightower
  16. We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse #1)
    by Dennis E. Taylor
  17. Criterium
    by Tyler Jones
  18. The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge #1) 🎧
    by Ken Follett
  19. The City of Ice (Gates of the World #2)
    by K. M. McKinley
  20. Foundryside (The Founders #1)
    by Robert Jackson Bennett
  21. The Republic Thieves (Gentleman Bastard #3)
    by Scott Lynch
  22. The Talisman (The Talisman #1) 🎧
    by Stephen King & Peter Straub
  23. A Man of Shadows (Nyquist Mysteries #1)
    by Jeff Noon
  24. The Blacktongue Thief (Blacktongue #1)
    by Christopher Buehlman
  25. The City in the Middle of the Night
    by Charlie Jane Anders
  26. Territory 🎧
    by Emma Bull
  27. Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #3)
    by Martha Wells
  28. A Ritual of Bone (The Dead Sagas #1)
    by Lee C. Conley
  29. Inside Man (Prosper’s Demon #2)
    by K. J. Parker
  30. Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel #2)
    by Josiah Bancroft
  31. Wolf Hall (Wolf Hall Trilogy #1)
    by Hillary Mantel
  32. The Goblin Emperor (The Goblin Emperor #1)
    by Katherine Addison
  33. Cabal
    by Clive Barker
  34. The Boatman’s Daughter
    by Andy Davidson
  35. Slewfoot: A Tale of Bewitchery 🎧
    by Brom
  36. Slow River
    by Nicola Griffith
  37. Kim
    by Rudyard Kipling
  38. Revival 🎧
    by Stephen King
  39. Paradise Club
    by Tim Meyer
  40. Monstrous Heart (The Deepwater Trilogy #1)
    by Claire McKenna
  41. Subject 11
    by Jeffery Thomas
  42. City of Illusions (The Hamish Cycle #3)
    by Ursula K. Le Guin
  43. Summer Knight (The Dresden Files #4)
    by Jim Butcher
  44. The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage #3) 🎧
    by Brian McClellan
  45. The Sunless Countries (Virga #4)
    by Karl Schroeder

🏆 Favorite Novel of 2021

The Blacktongue Thief

by Christopher Buehlman

I was already a fan of Buehlman’s from his horror work. So when I heard he was writing a fantasy series I got excited. I couldn’t be happier with the result. The Blacktongue Thief worked very well for me. It is crass and funny while it remains true to its fantasy roots it explores new and wonderfully weird ideas. It’s thoroughly refreshing and has become one of my favorite fantasy novels as a result. I eagerly await the sequel.


🏅 Favorite Novel Runners-up of 2021

Monstrous Heart

by Claire McKenna

I love a book whose genre is difficult to pin down. (Surprise surprise.) Monstrous Heart’s got weird steampunk tech, in an alt-history world with blood magic, weird eugenics cults, warring magic families, and murder mysteries in a creepy Innsmouthian town. Combined with some beautiful prose, McKenna has built a world as fascinating as it is stunning. I was enthralled from start to finish.


The Beauty

by Alita Whiteley

This was recommended by M. R. Carey during our panel for TBR Con earlier this year and I’m glad I picked it up. The Beauty is a dark thought-provoking heart-of-mankind story about history, myth, and the stories we tell all set in a future world without women. It’s a bit of an allegory which isn’t something I typically enjoy, but it works well here and the story stuck with me. A small but powerful novel that is very much worth your time.


🎈 Honorable Mentions of 2021

It was tough to pick the top three novels, but I force myself to do it. But, I read so many good books this year and wanted to call out a few more of the standouts. I’ve listed them in order of reading.


💥 Graphic Novels & 📜 Short Stories

As I mentioned above, I fell short in these two categories. I read no short stories and only read one graphic novel this year (Preacher Book IV), so there won’t be 2021 lists for either category. That said, my graphic novel TBR pile is growing, and I have some new subscriptions to some speculative fiction magazines, which will expand my short story reading.

I look forward to returning to both of these categories in 2022.


🎭 Poems

Poetry is still here! It’s hard for me to keep track of poetry because I read it often and my brain doesn’t always record it. But I read some standout poems over 2021 and I wanted to share a few with you Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb” is stunning and uplifting, Wendle Berry’s “Enemies” is thoughtful and beautiful, and I revisited an old favorite of mine Yeats’ “The Second Coming.”

  1. “Burning the Old Year”
    by Naomi Shihab Nye
  2. “I Ask My Mother to Sing”
    by Li-Young Lee
  3. “The Hill We Climb”
    by Amanda Gorman
  4. “Enemies”
    by Wendell Berry
  5. “Frederick Douglass”
    by Robert Hayden
  6. “Strange Balance”
    by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
  7. “For the Anniversary of My Death”
    by W. S. Merwin
  8. “The End”
    by Mark Strand
  9. “Good Bones” …again.
    by Maggie Smith
  10. “Sorrow Home”
    by Margaret Walker
  11. “What my 11 year old said when I was crying that day”
    by Tetyana Denford
  12. “Birdwatching”
    by Lynn Ungar
  13. “Here’s A Nut”
    by Louisa May Alcott
  14. “The Second Coming” …again.
    by William Butler Yeats
  15. “Down Jacket God”
    by Moon Bo Young
  16. “December”
    by Matthew Zapruder
  17. “A Penitent Considers Another Coming of Mary”
    by Gwendolyn Brooks
  18. “Butter”
    by Elizabeth Alexander
  19. “i am running into a new year”
    by Lucille Clifton
  20. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
    by Robert Frost

Thus complete’s my reading list for 2021. I’m not going to miss this year. Between the chaos of its beginning to the slow return to whatever constitutes as normal, I think we will all be glad to see it go. But this odd year allowed me to consume a solid chunk of books, and overall the books I read were enjoyable. When it comes to my reading, I have few complaints. I’m ready to start some new reads that’ll begin my list for next year, and I look forward to diving back into graphic novels and short stories. I think my reading year in 2022 will be excellent.

How about you? What were the standout books, graphic novels, short stories, or poems you read this year? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment and let me know!


Are you looking for a good book? Want to see my reading lists from previous years? Check any of the links below and see what I was reading in the bygone days of yore.

 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 •
201820192020

Next year, why not join me? Goodreads does a reading challenge every year, and I am an active participant. First, follow me on Goodreads (leave me a review while you’re there), and once the New Year arrives, participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2022.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. Alexander

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Old Haunts — Vignettes and Visions from the City of Lovat

Old Haunts: A Serene Auseil

📍 Pathé Warren
🌃 Level Four
🕠 Early Morning

“The lights in the ceiling were dim. The thin crowd was lit only by humming neon signs, glowing Auseil branches, and the occasional pools of light that dribbled out of apartment windows.”

—Waldo Bell, Red Litten World


Credits:

“O Tannenbaum” by Ernst Anschütz, based on a 16th-century Silesian folk song by Melchior Franck, performed by Jim Rushing. (Check out his fantasy-noir novel, RADIO.)


This is just one of many.

You never know what you’ll discover in the twisted streets, quiet alleys, and busy warrens of Lovat. Enjoy these “Old Haunts”, a series of vignettes and visions presented in Glorious Monochrome® by Waite™ Radio Pictures, Inc.



Want to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information. Sign Up Today →

2021 in Ten Significant Photos

How is it already the end of December? Christmas is this weekend! In some ways, it feels like the year was ten years long, yet in others, it feels like a blip. I blame the pandemic. My perception of time has gotten funny since it started.

This is the post wherein I reflect on my last year through ten photos that marked significant places in time. It’s become a tradition here. After last year, I thought (hoped?) this would be easy, but like 2021 itself, it was an odd experience full of highs and lows. That said, as always, I found that there was more to my year than I expected and 2021 was surprising.

The rules. Pick ten photos from my past year that are the most significant to me: positive or negative—significance can be found in either. But it can’t be more; it can’t be less. Some moments will have to fall by the wayside—that’s intentional—culling is a part of this process. It helps create a more realistic and personal picture of your year. Some years will be more complicated than others, and sometimes you’ll need to discover significance in the smaller, quieter moments. This is the way.

So, I could keep rambling, but instead, let’s take a look at my 2021 distilled into ten significant photos.


My favorite photo of Willa in our garden (Photo by Kari-Lise)

Willamina, our big English Lop, passed away early in the year. We buried her under her favorite bush. She was old for a large rabbit, but her death snuck up on us. I haven’t ever met a rabbit like Willa. She was fearless, curious, friendly, loved attention and people. It was typical for her to follow us around the yard and explore as we worked nearby. Our garden isn’t the same without her.


New bathroom (Left) and remodeled kitchen (Right)

Last year I mentioned that we had declared 2020 as “The Year of the House,” and in many ways, it was. But that labor spilled over into the first few months of 2021 as well. But in the end, we got a fancy new bathroom—removing the original bathroom from the 1940s—and an upgraded kitchen. We’ve been in our house for over a decade now, and many of these updates were long overdue. I’m delighted with the result and the outcome was worth the awkwardness that came with remodels during a pandemic.


Gleam Upon the Waves and its swag set

I launched a new book! It’s true! It happened! Gleam Upon the Waves, the next chapter of Waldo Bell’s adventures, arrived at the end of March and was released to the world. You can buy it right now! When you get deeper into writing a series, things get more complicated, and this story was a long time coming. I sincerely hope you enjoy it. Thanks to everyone who picked up a copy. Double thanks to those of you who left reviews. Your excitement is what keeps me going. I couldn’t be more appreciative of my readers.


While waiting my 15 minutes, I took a selfie

The vaccine arrived! Kari-Lise and I got jabbed as soon as possible, and we got our second shot a few weeks later at a lovely little spot right by Lake Washington. It was a huge relief, and I am grateful that my city has embraced it. It’s a pretty incredible feat of medicine. I cannot think of how many lives it’s saved, and I am grateful to the medical community for pouring so much effort into its development, rollout, and distribution. Seattle is over 75% vaccinated, still vigilant, and we’ve been near the bottom in cases per capita in Washington. It makes a fella proud to call this place home.


Kari-Lise in a monochromatic space within the House of Eternal Return

We escaped! Freshly vaccinated, we took a short trip away from home to Santa Fe, New Mexico. After more than fifteen months of staying home and social distancing, it was a welcome respite and a nice change of pace. We ate incredible food. We saw cool art, and we got lost in Meow Wolf’s stunning House of Eternal Return. Santa Fe is rad, and New Mexico is spectacular. Should you like to know more, I documented the whole trip in this post.


Tyrant hanging out with me earlier in the year

After fifteen years, one of my best buddies in the world passed away. Tyrant had become an essential fixture in our lives, and it was hard to let him go. I’m grateful the pandemic allowed me to spend so much time with him during his last years. Months later, here I am, tearing up while writing this. Shortly after his death, I wrote a tribute that encapsulates him better than this tiny blurb ever could. I still miss him. Tyrant never lived up to his name. He was a good boy.


Ferry to Bainbridge Island looking back toward Seattle

We explored our home. We started doing this in 2020, and it continued into 2021. One of the best things about living in the Puget Sound area is the hundreds of islands, peninsulas, straights, bays, coves, ports, beaches, and bluffs there are to explore. We returned to favorites like Vashon Island, explored Whidbey, and went to the Peninsula a few times. I’ve often said that to experience Seattle, you have to leave Seattle it’s a city defined by the landscape around it, and these trips cemented why living here is so wonderful.


Vera with Uncle Michael (Left) and Reghan (Right)

The streak continues! This year, I have two new nieces, which brings my nibling count up to seven! Vera on the left was born in the spring to Kari-Lise’s brother Andrew and his wife, Kim. (I can assure you we have a better rapport than what you see in that photo.) Reghan, on the right, was born on my birthday (more on that later) to my sister Meghan and her husband, Tyler. Both are adorable and growing way too quickly.


For whatever reason, I found myself reconnecting with baseball. I’ve always been a fan of the Seattle Mariners, mostly thanks to being the perfect age when Ken Griffey Jr. played (the man is still my first sports hero), but the game took a backseat over the last few decades. This year was different. I found myself drawn back to the ball game and the ballpark. While the Mariners still didn’t make the playoffs, (there’s always next year) I’m finding myself looking forward to the 2022 season.


Me hiking along the Harry’s Ridge trail at Mt. Saint Helens (Photo by Kari-Lise)

I turned forty. I don’t usually care much for my birthday. I find the whole thing superfluous. But, this one is supposed to be a milestone. It’s interesting to look back on my life after forty years. The moments that stand out. While this post focuses on the events this year, hitting a “birthday milestone” like this had me reflecting on life in macro. I’ve had a good life. I’m happy. I’m healthy. I am married to the best person in the world. I have amazing friends and a loving family. I’m lucky. Forty ain’t so bad.


There’s my ten! As I said earlier, it was a year of highs and lows. I’m not alone in that. This was a mixed year for many people, and it was a mixed year for me as well. The pandemic is still present in our lives, and normal still isn’t so normal anymore. We’re still masking up, being careful, and social distancing when we can. Thankfully many of our friends are vaccinated, so hangouts were easy, and that personal reconnection was good.

There’s so much to 2021 this post didn’t cover. Trips with friends to celebrate the New Year. Paneling at TBRCon was terrific, and it set up much of my reading for the year. (I’m coming back in 2022!) Cabining. Writing retreats. A visit from my sister. Our garden. A trip to Portland for the wake of a dear friend. Beaches and tide pools. Backyard BBQs. Family and close friends both moving back to the Seattle area. Summer soccer games. Seattle’s record-breaking heatwave in June and its record rain in November. Then there’s Moth & Myth’s incredible growth. As with every year, this list could be so much longer.

So, how about you? What did you experience in 2021? What are your ten photos? Assemble them and leave a comment with a link! Let us all know about the significant events in your year.


I’ve been doing this since 2014, and even in challenging years, I’ve found it beneficial. Interested in revisiting my photos of past years? Just click on any link below and check out my selection from that specific year.

2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 
• 2018 • 20192020


Want to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information. Sign Up Today →

Raunch Review

Raunch Reviews’ New Home

Just a quick housekeeping update for regular readers. This weekend I’ve started working on the next batch of Raunch Reviews (The Dresden Files, Transformers: Beast Wars, The Mandalorian, and more!), and I realized that past reviews are scattered all over my blog. That makes them difficult to browse, and that cannot stand!

I took a little time this morning to collect them all in one handy location to solve that issue. You can find Raunch Reviews on their official Raunch Reviews page. It’s also under the “Blog” button in the upper navigation. They’re ordered by release, and any new reviews will be featured on that page after they go live.



Have a suggestion for Raunch Reviews? It can be any made-up slang word from a book, comic, television show, or movie. You can email me directly with your recommendation or leave a comment below. I’ll need to spend time with the property before I feel confident reviewing it, so give me a little time.

The 2021 Cosmic Horror Holiday Gift Guide

And lo, like a creature from beyond our understanding the darkest of holidays has arrived: Black Friday. But all is not lost! I’m delighted to introduce my eighth annual List of Lists for 2021. In it, you’ll find a plethora of paraphernalia for the weird-fiction fanatic, cosmic-horror connoisseur, or mythos maniac in your life. As with previous years, I’ve worked to assemble a list of exceptional items for all ages and budgets.

A few notes: as of last year I’m now linking to IndieBound for all books where possible. Please do what you can to support your locals. They can get you anything the big box stores can, and it’ll help out your community. Author links go to their web pages and blogs. While I’ve ordered these by price, the prices and availability are subject to change. Shipping is out of my control. I’m just sharing cool stuff made by cool people.

Happy shopping!


• Books • Music • Apparel • Games •
• Housewares • Miskatonic •


❄️ Books ❄️


Beneath the Rising by Premee Mohamed
$11.99 + Shipping (Paperback) $6.99 (eBook)

A new clean energy source might sound perfect until it awakens an ancient evil set on subjecting humanity. Now it’s up to the inventor, technological genius Johnny Chambers, and her pal Nick to stop it in this coming-of-age cosmic horror tale.


The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley
$12.95 + Shipping (Paperback) $1.99 (eBook)

A darkly twisted yet thought-provoking heart-of-mankind story about our shared history, the formation of myth, and the stories we tell. While the narrative hints at an allegory, it’s not burdensome. A small but powerful novel that is very much worth your time.


Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck
$16.00 + Shipping (Paperback) $9.99 (eBook)

I read this collection of stories by Tidbeck back in 2014 and I still think about the tales of genre-blending weirdness scattered throughout its pages. A must-have for the bookshelf of anyone calling themselves a weird-fiction aficionado. When the late and great Ursula K. Le Guin blurbs a book you know it’s got to be fantastic.


Gleam Upon the Waves by K. M. Alexander
$16.99 + Shipping (Paperback) $5.99 (eBook)

Why, yes. It’s out. The fourth book in my Lovecraftian urban fantasy series The Bell Forging Cycle is finally here. Waldo Bell finds himself outward bound on an enormous floating casino en route to the canals of Empress, the mysterious capital of the hermit-nation Victory. There Wal will discover darkness runs deeper than he ever thought possible; reality is not what it seems, and a new apocalypse is closer than anyone predicted.


Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna
$16.99 + Shipping (Paperback) $7.99 (eBook)

I’m currently reading this 2020 debut and I’m loving it. Phenomenal language, solid worldbuilding, and an engaging plot. The story follows a lighthouse keeper sent to keep the light burning to protect the sailors of the salt-swept port of Vigil. While rumors that her neighbor might be more monstrous than the mighty creatures of the deep. Bits of steampunk, gothic romance, and gaslight fantasy. It’s good.


Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark
$19.99 + Shipping (Hardcover) $10.99 (eBook)

On the heels of Birth of a Nation rides the Klan, spreading fear and violence among the vulnerable. They plan to bring Hell to Earth. But even the monstrous Ku Kluxes can die. It’s up to Maryse Boudreaux and her friend to stand in their way, and they will stop at nothing to defeat the Klan before they can end the world.


Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies by John Langan
$19.99 + Shipping (Paperback) $9.99 (eBook)

In this new collection of loosely interconnected stories, horror-master John Langan maps the branches of his literary family tree, tracing his connections to the writers whose dark fictions have inspired his own. A surreal anthology that will entertain as much as it’ll frighten.


Sweet Dreams Cthulhu by Jason Ciaramella
$19.99 + Shipping (Board Book)

In his house at R’Lyeh, Cthulhu can’t sleep! So it’s up to his pal Howard to help him get back to the land of slumber in this adorable little board book for the tiny cosmic horror enthusiasts in your life. From the creators of C is for Cthulhu and the recently released Counting, Colors & Cthulhu. Be sure to check out their plushies as well.


The Hounds of Tindalos by Frank Belknap Long
$1,051.83 + Shipping (One Copy Available—Sold via AbeBooks)

Own a piece of history with this first edition, first printing, presentation copy, of Frank Belknap Long’s infamous collection. The author inscribed this limited and softly-worn edition on the front free endpaper to American writer and editor Richard E. Hughes. Many more details are in the listing.


No book catches your interest? Check out the books featured in one of the previous guides.
• 2014 Books • 2015 Books • 2016 Books • 2017 Books •
2018 Books • 2019 Books 2020 Books


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❄️ Music & Audio ❄️


The Nameless City by Third Person Lurkin
Name Your Own Price (Digital Download)

Cosmic horror and trip-hop are generally two genres you wouldn’t expect to go together. But, this 2010 Third Person Lurkin release manages to walk that razor edge, bringing a sound as haunting, ethereal, and mysterious as it is chill.


The Outer Ones by Revocation
$8.99 (Digital Download)

This 2018 release from the Boston prog-thrash-death-metal band Revocation goes heavier on death metal compared to their earlier albums, which is fitting for a collection of songs so steeped in the lore of cosmic horror. But, like R’lyeh of old, those earlier prog and thrash elements remain, and The Outer Ones has become a favorite of many Lovecraftian death-metal fans.


Great Old Ones by The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets
$10.00 CAD (Digital Download)

You’ve probably heard that the Nineties are back, which means now is a perfect time to return to the 1996 sophomore album of the infamous mythos-influenced rock band, The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets. Punk and Cthulu with a heavy dose of that prevalent 90s-grunge sound. What’s not to love?


Sense Impacts by Chad Fifer
$14.99 (Digital Download)

The Venn Diagram of TTRPG players and Lovecraft Enthisasist is nearly a circle, so I’m sure most of you are familiar with Call of Cthulhu publisher Chaosium. Well, to aid in creating the proper atmosphere for your next gaming session, they’ve partnered with Chad Fifer (of H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcraft fame) to assemble a soundtrack of ambient soundscapes to enhance your tabletop experience.


Yig by Cryo Chamber
$19.00 + Shipping (CD) $9.00 (Digital Download)

Whenever readers ask me what music I write to, some of the first words that come out of my mouth will always be “Cryo Chamber’s stuff.” From my first to my most recent novel, the albums from this incredibly talented collective have added a dark ambient soundtrack that my brain craves when I’m carving out weird fiction. If loving a record label is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.


H. P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth 4X LP Set
$89.00 + Shipping (Vinyl, Limited Pressings)

I’ve featured many limited vinyl releases from Cadabra Records before. (In fact, some of the rare hate mail I’ve gotten was when I didn’t feature a Cadabra release.) They make incredible collector editions of some classic cosmic horror. This 4X LP Set of Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth is read by Andrew Leman and scored by Chris Bozzone. Be sure to check out Cadabra’s other LP offerings as well.


Not finding any music or audio that interests you? Check out one of the previous guides.
• 2014 Music • 2015 Music • 2016 Music • 2017 Music •
 2018 Music • 2019 Music 2020 Music


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❄️ Apparel ❄️


Elder Party Lapel Pin
$10.00 + Shipping

The history is murky, but it’s believed that Richard Nixon was the first US President to wear an American Flag lapel pin. Since then, and for some odd reason, it’s become expected by a subset of Americans that anyone running for office will wear a similar pin. And, they take great offense when you don’t. So, next time you run for political office in the US, get yourself a flag pin that does double duty and satisfies the whims of both the terrestrial and extraterrestrial.


Lovecraftian Netsuke
$28.00 + Shipping
(Limited Availability)

Providence sculptor Gage Prentiss has created a series of Lovecraftian netsuke for your kimono (or feel free to enjoy without.) Choose a Cat of Ulthar, one of the Deep Ones, ol’ Dagon on Whale, a Ghoul with Bone, or an Elder Thing. Or, better yet, collect all five!


Rage of Cthulhu Sweater
$34.99-$39.99 + Shipping

Ugly Sweater Contests are now ingrained in the zeitgeist of Western Christmas Culture, but just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you can find a sweater that allows your cosmic horror side to show a little bit. Look, if it drives your office into a sacrificial frenzy, that’s on you. It’s the downside when you slap the visage of a Great Old One on your chest. Upside: more eggnog for you.


Tentacle Cuff Links
#34.99 + Free Shipping
(US)

If you’re looking for a more subdued nod toward the cosmic horror fandom, these elegant tentacle cufflinks add a touch of weird to any fancy french cuff. One-inch wide and cast in pewter, these cufflinks aren’t tiny, but they are large enough to add a touch of weird to any fancy dress occasion.


Re-Animator Flannel
$75.00 + Shipping

Weird fiction and cosmic horror already have a cult status (in more ways than one), but Stuart Gordon’s 1985 comedy-horror Re-Animator (based on the Lovecraft short story) double-dips into that cult status. So, it’s hard not to appericate a 100% cotton flannel in glowing reagent-green created as a nod toward the classic film—featuring some subtle design accents under the pockets, cuffs, and collar.


Cthulhu Kigurumi
$79.99 + Shipping

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!” Winter is a time for coziness—and dreaming—so why not toss that old flannel pajama set away and opt for a thematically appropriate onesie created in the appearance of everyone’s favorite Lovecraftian horror: Cthulhu! Look, I know it’s adorable, and as a person coming from a household with several Kigurumi, I wouldn’t blame you for owning several.


The Innsmouth Look Mask
$550.00 + Free Shipping (Made to Order)

It’s a face only Obed Marsh could love (and maybe Dagon). But if you’re looking to take your Deep-One cosplay to the next level, look no further. This handcrafted, made-to-order silicone mask takes the Innsmouth-look in a stunningly creepy direction and allows you to apply your own custom paint scheme. Horrifying holiday fun.


Not finding apparel you like? Check out the apparel on one of the previous guides.
• 2014 Apparel • 2015 Apparel • 2016 Apparel • 2017 Apparel •
 2018 Apparel • 2019 Apparel2020 Apparel


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❄️ Games ❄️


The Well
$1.99 (Digital Download – PC/Mac)

This unnerving yet compact one-button horror game enthralled me from start to finish. Based on a poem of Lovecraft’s, the story follows a pair of laborers as they attempt to clear out an old farm after a gruesome murder. If you like this one, be sure to check out Yames’ other Secret Games.


The Shore
$11.99 (Digital Download – PC)

A walking simulator (with a few combat sequences) that oozes atmosphere, The Shore puts the player in the shoes of Andrew, a father searching for his lost daughter, on a mysterious island that will feel eerily familiar. Solve mind-bending puzzles, encourage strange creatures, and help Andrew as he fights to save his daughter’s life while uncovering the secrets to his sanity.


Miskatonic University – The Restricted Collection
$24.99 + Shipping

A set-collection card game from the world of Call of Cthulhu created by Reiner Knizia. Take on the role of a student of Miskatonic University vying against other players for the prestigious position of Head of the Library Committee. To do so, you’ll need to help Professor Armitage by exploring the Restricted Collection for items he needs. But the journey is perilous, and venturing too far can lead to madness.


Conarium
$19.99
(Digital Download – PC/Mac)

Set after the events from Lovecraft’s At The Mountains of Madness, Conarium put you in the role of Frank Gilman, a scientist and explorer, who wakes with very little memory except knowing you’re inside the Antarctic base of Upuaut. What follows is a suspense-filled tale that takes you deeper into the Antarctic and even into dreams themselves.


Unfathomable
$79.95 + Shipping
(Pre Order)

The year is 1913. The steamship SS Atlantica is two days out from port on its voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You and your friends play as one of the passengers on board. But some among you are traitors. It’s up to you to uncover the traitors (or sink the ship) before making port! (Some places this is available, some places this is on preorder, it sounds fantastic regardless.)


Nyarlathotep
$329.99 + Shipping (Two Shipments)

I’m a big fan of the Mysterious Package Company. It’s no secret. They take the customized gaming experience to a whole new level, and they have only gotten better over the years. Their latest experience, Nyarlathotep, weaves a creepy puzzle-heavy story over two dense mailings and includes a bunch of digital/augmented reality for only the most deductive of Kakuet employees.


Not finding a game you’d enjoy? Check out the games on one of the previous guides.
• 2014 Games • 2015 Games • 2016 Games • 2017 Games •
 2018 Games • 2019 Games 2020 Games


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❄️ Housewares & Collectables ❄️


Cthulhu Perfume Oil
$4.60 – $19.75 + Shipping

The very popular Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab asks a fantastic question: who wouldn’t want to smell like their favorite sleeping old one? To find out, they created a creeping, wet, slithering scent dripping with seaweed, oceanic plants, and dark, unfathomable waters. A nautical impression of their extensive Picnic In Arkham collection.


Cedric's Eatery 11oz. Mug

Cedric’s Eatery 11oz. Mug
$16.00 + Shipping

The weather outside is frightful, and you need a new mug for a warm beverage. Why not pick up a classic diner mug from Lovat’s own Cedric’s Eatery located in the entresol between Levels Three and Four. (Breakfast served all day.) An in-between place for in-between folks. Waldo Bell’s favorite hangout. Fill your mug with 11 oz. of lousy coffee, your favorite tea, or something more substantial. [From the pages of the Bell Forging Cycle.]


Tentacle Stocking
$32.50 + Free Shipping

You knew it was coming. Somehow we all did. But what is the Christmas season without stockings? And who is to say that stockings should always be shaped like human feet? How boring! This fabulous Tentacle Stocking from HPLHS adds a bit of pizzazz to your mantle, measures almost 33-inches, and has a pleasing bumpy texture. (Yeah, I featured it in the Gift Guide header image.)


“Rainy in R’lyeh” Cthulhu Umbrella
$80.00 + Shipping

This stunningly detailed umbrella features a ton of wonderfully weird touches to add an air of understated authenticity. The umbrella has a subtle silhouette that is printed on the underside of the canopy, a gilded handle of zinc alloy in the shape of the Sleeper himself, and fancy end tips molded into the form of a tentacle. It’s all downplayed but classy stuff.


Octopus Door Handle
$110.00 + Shipping

Tentacles and cosmic horror are now eternally intertwined. We fans can’t escape it, so we should embrace it. On the plus side, they can be subtle enough to hide in plain sight without necessarily drawing attention. Case in point these fantastic made-to-order brass and resin door handles. Creepy with that restrained elegance.


Lady of Innsmouth Bust
$190.00 + Free Shipping (Supplies are limited.)

This 8½” tall resin and bronze bust takes the Innsmouth look in a very different direction away from the hideous and fish-like beings with strange unblinking eyes. If you can’t tell, this year I’m into more downplayed yet thoroughly Lovecraftian art, and this Sheryl Westleigh piece fits the bill nicely. The sort of piece that can be displayed without comment but tells a deeper story when the viewer lingers on the details.


Innsmouth Apothecary Jar
$525.00 + Free Shipping (Only One Available)

This one-of-a-kind, hand-made, porcelain apothecary style jar comes from Berlin Sculpture and features sculpted elements inspired by the H.P. Lovecraft story, The Shadow Over Innsmouth. It stands at 9″ tall and is perfect for storing either sinister dry goods or more mundane normal ones. A rare collectible.


Not finding a houseware item you like?
Check out the housewares from one of the previous guides.
• 2016 Housewares • 2017 Housewares • 2018 Housewares •
2019 Housewares 2020 Housewares


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❄️ Miskatonic University ❄️


Miskatonic University Pin
$10.00 + Shipping

Class is still in session, for now, but the winter break looms on the snow-dusted horizon. Why not show you school pride by pinning this new University pin on your hat, bag, jersey, or letterman’s jacket—or anywhere else you want to pin your pin. A lovely 1″ red enamel and black metal design will have you shouting, “Onward, Miskatonic – on to victory!”


Miskatonic University Totebag
$13.30 + Free Shipping

Totebags are always welcome in our house, and the weirder, the better. You can’t get more bizarre than the grandaddy of mysterious collegiate excellence, Miskatonic University. Need a bag for groceries? No problem. Beach Day go you down? This bag will help. Found strange artifacts on an Antarctic exploration? You won’t find a better specimen bag anywhere.


Well-Dressed Miskatonic Alumni (4pc set)
$79.99 + Shipping

This set has it all—first, a lapel pin to satisfy those weirdos who demand lapel pins. Second the proper alumni cufflinks to stay classy. Third, a tie Clip because no one—especially the Old Ones—likes ties flopping everywhere. And fourth, a necklace because school pride should be the last thing you remove. Truly a collection for only the most dedicated. (Also available individually.)


Gold Lovecraft Miskatonic Key Set
$497.00 + Shipping (Includes 20″ gold chain)

What lock does the key unlock? What door does it open? This elegant and subtle nod to everyone’s favorite higher education institution is 15mm in size and is hand-made in Sofia Zakia’s Montreal studio out of solid 14K gold. It comes by itself or on a 16 or 20″ chain.


Not finding any Miskatonic University gear you like?
Check out the Miskatonic University items from one of the previous guides.
• 2014 Miskatonic • 2015 Miskatonic • 2016 Miskatonic • 2017 Miskatonic •
2018 Miskatonic • 2019 Miskatonic 2020 Miskatonic


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 ❄️ Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! ❄️

So, that wraps up the eighth annual List of Lists. Hopefully, it fills all your wriggly needs. Big thank you to everyone who has suggested items in the past to help me pad out this list. Y’all rule. If I didn’t get to your submission, fret not. There are many more holidays ahead. I always appreciate the help.

Do you have a book, game, album, or other weird fiction-related items I should feature in 2022’s Cosmic Horror Holiday Gift Guide? Leave a comment below with links to your favorite goodies for others to see, or send me an email as a potential submission for next year!


Want to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information. Sign Up Today →

Gifting My Books for the 2021 Holidays

2020 was weird enough, and 2021 seems like a worthy successor. Here in the States, our Thanksgiving is tomorrow which usually means it’s time to do our duty as consumers and start thinking about holiday gifts. Once again I wanted to share a guide for gifting my books—and hey, I had a new book arrive this year! It’s a perfect time to give Gleam Upon the Waves or any of my other books as a gift. Plus, if you order a signed copy direct from me, it’ll come with an amazing swag set.

Much of this guide remains the same as previous years, but there are a few small differences. As always, I break it down into signed paperbacks, regular paperbacks, and how you can gift ebooks.


Want Signed or Personalized Books?

🖋 Want Signed/Personalized Books?

Order from my store where I sell and ship signed and personalized books. With recent mail slowdowns, the 2021 deadline to order is now December 8th, a Wednesday. Any orders beyond December 8th might not get to you in time. (I ship via media mail, and the estimate for that is anywhere from two to ten days but it seems to be taking longer these days.) As of 2020, I only ship domestically.

I sign everything from my shop, but if you want your books personalized, make sure to leave me a note in the “Notes or Instructions” field during checkout and let me know the recipient. That’s it! Just click the button below and start shopping.


Ordering Paperbacks From an Online Retailer

📦 Ordering Unsigned Paperbacks from an Online Retailer

Don’t care about signed books? The quickest way to get paperback copies delivered would be by ordering through any of the online retailers. The majority of them offer guaranteed delivery by Christmas. Often they ship for free. (Check the details of their site.) Links to purchase are below.


Giving eBooks as Gifts

📱Giving eBooks as Gifts

Did you know you can give eBooks as gifts? It’s true! There are options available on every platform except Kobo. So, if there is an eBook reader in your life, you can still send them into the Territories and save yourself a little money in the process. Details for each store below.


K. M. Alexander's Books on Amazon Kindle

Order for Kindle →

Instructions:
1. Select the book.
2. Click the “Give as Gift” button.


K. M. Alexander's Books on Barnes & Noble's Nook

Order for Nook →

Instructions:
1. Select the book.
2. Click the “Buy as Gift” button.


Order for iBooks →

Instructions:
1. Select the book.
2. Click “Gift this Book” in the drop-down.


Order for Google Play →

Instructions:
1. Select the book.
2. Click “Buy as Gift”


I hope that clarifies the gifting and ordering options for 2021. If you have any questions, you can always leave a comment, or you are welcome to reach out to me via email: hello@kmalexander.com. Thanks for your excitement in the Bell Forging Cycle and your interest in sharing Wal’s adventures with your friends and family. I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season!