Posts Tagged Short Stories
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
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.
This anthology of stories by Charles de Lint was chosen by reader vote. The stories are arranged in a 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.
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.