Posted by: GravatarWon'tDeleteMyAccount | March 7, 2009

Richard Kadrey — Butcher Bird / Blind Shrike

Okay, so I downloaded this one for free from Night Shade Books, a small but impressive publisher of interesting novels and things. But as I was reading it occurred to me that it sounded familiar: I had read some of this before! Butcher Bird, by Night Shade Books, is Blind Shrike, an e-book released under a creative commons attribution-noncommerical-noderivs license in 2005, which I have sitting on my hard drive. It had a home online at The Infinite Matrix with some of Kadrey’s other works, but, while most of the rest are still there, this one’s gone.

The new version is prettier: Butcher Bird has nice cover art (by Dan dos Santos
// with jacket design by Claudia Noble) and miraculous things like proper leading and kerning, page numbers, a layout — proper design (which we can attribute to Jeremy Lassen). This is good. I’ve e-mailed the publisher to see in which domain the rights lie, as the prettier one just has one of those little c’s in a circle and says nothing about creative commons.

Wherever the rights now lie, you should download and read this one if you like inventive fantasy fiction that doesn’t just sit in someone else’s dream world. I’ve always been a little turned off by authors who write substantial quantities of fiction in the run-of-the-mill, elves and dwarves, dragons and wizards fantasy world. I suppose there’s always been a place for it, and there probably always will be, but if you, too, are turned off by that, it’s not something you need to worry about with Butcher Bird. If you like stories about angels and demons, old gods and other worlds, about life and death and the awkward places in between, this is a good read for you.

I actually first read one of Richard Kadrey’s stories in a free online zine of science fiction, called Flurb. Kadrey has a great short story in Flurb #7 called Trembling Blue Stars, and I suggest you check it out too šŸ™‚

I’ll keep you posted on whether or not the new version is cc-licensed, and on whether or not I can post up a link to the cc-licensed version if not (or, hell, a link to the new one — it is being offered as a free download). And you can always head over to Night Shade Books and download it for yourself. It’s worth it, I promise.




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