Posts Tagged Short Stories

Friday Finds @Bibliophage’s Book Buffet |May 13

{{Friday Finds is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading }}

The Margarets
How to Live Safely in A Science Fictional Universe
 The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction    
  • The Margarets – By Tepper, Sheri S.  I tag-surfed over to brainfluff and found a lot of reviews of books I like, and the blog’s using  the same theme I had until two months ago! Small world.  Anyhow, I also am a fan of Sheri Tepper, so this goes on my list.
  • How to Live Safely in A Science Fictional Universe– By Yu, Charles.  Undermyappletree says that this is an SF-time-travel book which focuses on the human issues. The timelines are completely not linear – important characters choose to live ‘achronologically’.
  • The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction 60th Anniversary – Anthology.  Hm… I was tracking down works by a particular author, but now I don’t recall who it was.
  • 84, Charing Cross Road – By Hanff, Helene. A book created of a series of trans-atlantic letters spanning years – I saw a review at reading fuelled by tea.  I’m not sure whether this is fiction or real correspondence, but I love the phrase ‘epistolary novel’.  I also would like to say that my garden is there for slugs to eat; but, slugs don’t like thistles or horsetail rush 😦
  • Lilith’s Brood– By Butler, Octavia E. This is going to be the June book in the wsf book club – going to get a head start.  If I want first to finish the 8 or so books physically waiting on my TBR shelf, I’d best get a move on.

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Stars – Janis Ian and Mike Resnick, editors

Cover of "Society's Child: My Autobiograp...

Happy 60th this month, Janis

Ian, Janis and Resnick, Mike (eds) – Stars: Original Stories Based on the Songs of Janis Ian 

I think one word is elegiac, though these are not all loving memories, or more dark than bittersweet. Sometimes it’s more like the final crumbling of an ashed curl of paper, all that remained of a scrap-book. Janis Ian is a folk singer – go here to listen to her. Now that I realize that she wrote one of the best stories in the anthology (IMO) I am extra impressed. In the majority I have to say these stories ring dark, but it is a very successful blend.

This dazzling, highly original anthology, ignited by the meeting of songwriter Ian and a host of SF writers affected by her music at the 2001 Worldcon, showcases 30 mostly superior stories, each based on one of her songs. (from a review at Ian’s site)

Three stories were chosen for inclusion in that year’s best anthology by Gardner Dozois.  I did not check ahead of time which stories were chosen – I’d prefer to do my own rankings before being influenced. Once I am finished and I’ve picked my favorites, I am going to research and see which ones won.  Tune in to the end of the post for the surprising results

My favorites

Two Faces of Love 1. When the Silence Calls Your Name by Tanith Lee. Wow.  Five star short-story. I am not entirely certain what the point, or turning point is; but this story provided one of those ‘perfect moment’ things that a short story should aspire to.  A woman flees an ended relationship to stay in a friends’ cabin on a remote cabin, and her world dissipates around her. Her inner monologue, limited third person, starts to blend seamlessly with second person as things thin to nothingness.  There is a part 2 story, but oddly it really did not complement the first piece so well, and I would rate part 2 as a ‘3’.

Second Person Unmasked by Janis Ian- the best second-person narrative I have read. It blends from being (you think) an almost-cliche’d serial-killer narrative, and then flows forward and through to turn your expectations inside-out.  I don’t know if it has a moment of absolute beauty in it, hard to do with a serial killer as protagonist, but it’s very well done.

Read the rest of this entry »

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The Very Best of Charles de Lint – Charles de Lint

This anthology of stories by Charles de Lint was chosen by reader vote. The stories are arranged in aPoordog Farm way that leads you gradually into the urban fantasy landscape that he’s created over his career. It’s a good refresher for people (like me) who aren’t able to name off the characters of Newford by heart.  Don’t be put off by the initial light-weight fairy-tales: once this scene is set, de Lint surveys the dark and the meaningful in fictional Newford, as well as the uplifting and magical.

For the first seven stories in, I was finding the tales diverting but not special.  I laughed a little, but nothing moving.  Perhaps these are more to set the scene than to really sweep you away.

The tone shifts some after that, more to loss and some redemption. Timeskip sees a young woman swept into the past by an encounter with a ghost.  Freewheeling, Winter was hard, and a Graceless Child have the same sort of feeling.  A Wish named Arnold ends with more hope as a lifelong magic companion is given freedom and is so not lost.

In the second half of the book, the stories continue the intensity, finishing off with several thought-provoking tales.

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Skylife, Space Habitats in Story and Science – ed Benford, Gregory; Zebrowski, George

Skylife is anthology which is an excellent introduction to the genre of sci fi, especially the hard mechanics of how human might colonize space. It includes influential classics by Clarke, Asimov, and Bradbury.

You might consider it more of a reference volume than something to read for recreation. Still, if you like the nuts-and-bolts, this will catch your interest.

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