Outstanding! I put this on my to-read list after reading Palwick's haunting short story "Gestella," a new take on lycanthropy, in Sisters of the RevolOutstanding! I put this on my to-read list after reading Palwick's haunting short story "Gestella," a new take on lycanthropy, in Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology (2015, PM Press edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer).
Every story in this collection — which includes zombies, fairy tales, vampires, werewolves as well as a new perspective on Jo from Little Women — is strong, engaging and memorable.
Standouts: The Fate of Mice, Jo's Hair, Beautiful Stuff and Ever After.
A wry, funny, creepy, sad, disturbing and needed collection of feminist fiction that contains hopes and fears about how women are and will be treatedA wry, funny, creepy, sad, disturbing and needed collection of feminist fiction that contains hopes and fears about how women are and will be treated in the future.
Fabulous because it gathers together luminary stories from other topnotch collections: "Boys," Carol Emshwiller "The Evening the Morning and the Night," Octavia Butler "The Screwfly Solution," James Tiptree, Jr. (although that last line clunks) "And Salome Danced," Kelly Eskridge "Fears," Pamela Sargent
Brilliant because it introduces some delightful standout stories I hadn't yet read: "The Grammarian's Five Daughters," Eleanor Arnason "The Sleep of Plants," Anne Richter "The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet," Vandana Singh "Gestella," Susan Palwick My review of "Gestella." "Stable Strategies for Middle Management," Eileen Gunn
Also, Leonora Carrington, Angela Carter, Ursula K. Le Guin...
Somewhat ridiculous because if I keep this up, I'll just be naming all the stories and authors. Just add this to your to-read list and head over to PM Press. While you are at it you may also like:
Pairs well with: The Collected Stories of Carol Emshwiller Bloodchild, Octavia Butler Daughters of the Earth, Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century, Justine Larbalestier Tiptree Award Anthology 1 Women of Wonder: The Contemporary Years, Pamela Sargent Anything from PM Press' OutSpoken Authors series (Ursula K. Le Guin's The Wild Girls and Karen Joy Fowler's The Science of Herself for example)
Notable: When you buy this at PMPress.org the e-book is included.
I love Margaret Atwood's voice: her wry wit, wide-ranging vocabulary, well-woven sentences of varying length and pert observations. Although the firstI love Margaret Atwood's voice: her wry wit, wide-ranging vocabulary, well-woven sentences of varying length and pert observations. Although the first few linked stories, connected by the relationships of the characters, didn't capture me, I was still enjoying her style and felt, as a reader, comfortable and in good hands.
This collection has an upward trajectory. Starting with "Lusus Naturae," I was hooked. The rest of the stories "The Freeze-Dried Groom," "I Dream of Zenia With the Bright Red Teeth," "The Head Hand Loves You," and the title story "Stone Mattress" were standouts.
The stories are fanciful and edgy and filled with dangerous and untrustworthy, but likable characters. The question often lingers, "Who will betray whom?"
My favorite story was the last one, "Torching the Dusties," about an elderly woman, who is going blind and hallucinates dancing little people, in an assisted living facility under siege.
I have always loved Atwood's short story collections and Stone Mattress is another win.
Quotes from "Torching the Dusties" (I do appreciate how Atwood creates delightful, stand-out sentences long and short and, particularly, is a master at employing those lovely long descriptive ones.):
"We have to be kind to each other in here, she tells herself. We're all we have left."
"Like herself, he must be worried how he smells: that acid, stale odour of aging bodies so noticeable when all the Ambrosiads are assembled in the dining room, their base note of slow decay and involuntary leakage papered over with applied layers of scent — delicate florals on the women, bracing spices on the men, the blooming rose or brusque pirate image inside each of them still fondly cherished."
"According to Tobias, women hang around longer because they're less capable of indignation and better at being humiliated, for what is old age but one long string of indignities? What person of integrity would put up with it?"
"Now they venture forth, like mice in moonlight." ...more
And the winner is..."The Cobbler of Oz," by Jonathan Maberry with a fresh, delightful and touching take on the Land of Oz. Although this powerhouse ofAnd the winner is..."The Cobbler of Oz," by Jonathan Maberry with a fresh, delightful and touching take on the Land of Oz. Although this powerhouse of an anthology brings together a party of amazing writers, weaving beautiful threads, as a whole it often felt more remixed than re-imagined. in a field of Dorothy's, Maberry's little Winged Monkey Nyla stands out....more
The difficulty with this review will be not to gush too much...well-told short stories are potent magic and Cat Rambo's a magician.
If you have an affiThe difficulty with this review will be not to gush too much...well-told short stories are potent magic and Cat Rambo's a magician.
If you have an affinity for speculative works, fantasy with sorcerers and mermaids, science fiction with new gizmos, other worlds and aliens, this collection will enchant.
Perhaps it's time to go on a short story binge. If you appreciate short stories by Aimee Bender, Ryan Boudinot, Joyce Carol Oates, Karen Joy Fowler, Carol Emshwiller, Octavia Butler, Rebecca Brown or Julia Slavin, try these too.
Standouts from the collection include: "Seeking Nothing," "RealFur" (transgenic living fur coats, eerie and memorable as Margaret Atwood's ChickieNobs in Oryx and Crake), "Surrogates," (Insanity Chip!), and "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain" (a Nebula Award nominee and a favorite. I blogged about it and Joyce Carol Oates' "Amputee").
A note of caution: With themes of alienation, loneliness, miscommunication, and disconnection many of these stories are sad draughts.
Pairs well with:Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight, The Surgeon's Tale and Other Stories with Jeff Vandermeer, Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler and the ineffable Lightspeed Magazine.
Amazon asks the silly question, "Would you buy this book again?". Not only would I, but I likely will — the print version. It's one of those I'd like to have on the shelf. Even with improvements on the newest Kindle, I still find e-books unsatisfying for short stories. Maybe short stories are like butterflies: more visual, elusive, mesmerizing. They need to flip about and be admired.
OK, now let's go ahead and gush. Cat Rambo has some remarkable geek cred, (roots in D&D, MUD, worked for Microsoft, lives in awesome Seattle-area) and writer cred. She's learned her craft from Octavia Butler (!) at Clarion West. Publication credits. Award nomination credits. She's running for SWFA vice president. If you like Pinterest, she posts the most lovely images. Follow. Follow.
She's currently shopping a quartet of fantasy novels, which seem sure to find a home — might as well put those on the to-read list now. ...more
Thank you, public library. I was looking for Robert Olen Butler's short story collection Tabloid Dreams, but this was the book by the author my librarThank you, public library. I was looking for Robert Olen Butler's short story collection Tabloid Dreams, but this was the book by the author my library had, otherwise, I might not have tried this book of beautiful, poignant stories mostly written from the perspective of Vietnamese immigrants to Louisiana after the Vietnam War.
Every story had strength.
Notable: "The Trip Back," a businessman picks up his wife's grandfather at the airport for a long awaited reunion; "Love," a jealous husband tries to keep claim to his beautiful wife; "Crickets" a father attempts to connect to his Americanized son; and "Missing," an American living peacefully in a village in Vietnam is discovered to be a solider considered missing in action.
Now, without reservation, I'll go purchase a copy of Tabloid Dreams. ...more