Kane took a story that she'd originally released on a blog, expanded it a bit, and re-released it on Smashwords. It shows the terror that one woman fe...moreKane took a story that she'd originally released on a blog, expanded it a bit, and re-released it on Smashwords. It shows the terror that one woman felt at the beginning of Haunted Week, despite being a member of the Church that gave her and her three colleagues tools to fight the ghosts that were suddenly appearing. Because she also then realized the seriousness of the terror they were facing. And that her own failing health could be the one thing her friends wouldn't be able to overcome. It's a quick little story, but it did a good job of conveying this brave woman and the experience of those first moments of Haunted Week and how truly horrifying it was.(less)
Super fun, I'd pay for a serial like this from a handful of my favorite authors any day of the week, it's so fun to look forward to the installments,...moreSuper fun, I'd pay for a serial like this from a handful of my favorite authors any day of the week, it's so fun to look forward to the installments, to anticipate what's going to happen next. It's funny because usually I want the story all at once. i don't read preview chapters of books I know already know I'm going to read, I don't like being left on a cliff of anticipate for months. But a serial with daily or weekly installments is a whole different ball of wax, it's an event and a game and a lot of fun. Plus I'll take my Stacia Kane stories any way that I can get them!(less)
It was a good story about Carol, a woman growing up in the second half of the twentieth century and the challenges she faced in wanting to become a ro...moreIt was a good story about Carol, a woman growing up in the second half of the twentieth century and the challenges she faced in wanting to become a rocket scientist and astronaut. She was hearing the same exciting messages that every other kid in America was hearing, on Disney specials and from her parents who were scientists, so why wouldn't she want to have an exciting career and go to the moon? The world was changing, but slowly. I enjoyed the way that the story wove the timeline of real world moments in history and experiences that influenced a so many people into the intimate fictional story of this woman and her family. Of course there were major rockets being launched, the first trip to the moon, but what really struck me was those Disney specials about space that I'd never heard of. It's wild to read about (of course I looked them up) the collaboration between Disney and Wernher von Braun, the former Nazi head of our rocket program, to produce these specials, and that 42 million people watched them. The challenges that Carol faced were well summed up by the quote that she read at one point by von Braun (who was her father's emotional nemesis in the story) when he was asked about women becoming astronauts in the future and he replied that they were reserving 110 pounds of payload for recreational equipment. Yup, that really happened. Which highlights the other thing that makes the story work well. Carol's journey wasn't a piece of cake. She didn't just get into the right school and persevere through sheer cussedness and triumph because she was through a straight uphill path. She hit roadblocks, she felt like quitting, she did quit, the path zigzagged, she dealt with too much family tragedy (who among us hasn't) and in the end she did persevere and in the end she did succeed. The author made her into someone I could relate to, even though I'm certainly not a rocket scientist or an astronaut. And that's what made the story successful.
I am amused by the introduction by the acquiring editor for Tor.com, Ellen Datlow, when she said that the story is science fiction by association. Because there isn't anything speculative about the story. It's science and it's fiction, and it was certainly enjoyable to me as someone who generally prefers science fiction or fantasy. But even though it's a good story, it shouldn't qualify for any speculative fiction awards, as they seem to be aware by adding that disclaimer.(less)
Yoon Ha Lee's Effigy Nights was nominated for a 2014 World Fantasy Award for best short story. I was excited to see this story on the list, I'm a big...moreYoon Ha Lee's Effigy Nights was nominated for a 2014 World Fantasy Award for best short story. I was excited to see this story on the list, I'm a big fan of the author's, and it was great to see a couple of different stories on the list as well from the ones I'd been seeing on every other award list. I like a couple of them well enough but it feels like there must be a few other terrific stories out in the world that different judges might have seen or felt differently about, and here we see one of them.
It was really a neat story. Sci-fi in many ways, set on a planet being invaded by starships. But it was also very much fantasy, as was clear by the tone right from the start and as the story began to unfurl. It almost sounded like a fable. And it kind of played out that way. I saw one reviewer suggest the she/he? would have liked to see more of this world, that the world building was so good that it would have been better as a novel or that maybe more story could come from this, but I think that misses the point. I thought that the end was perfect because it was totally the end. It surprised me and delighted me in that twisted way that these kind of things do. Though I saw signs that things might go that way to some degree, I didn't expect what I got. It was really a very fun story for that. And for not what I'd call world building, but for creating such vivid images, the author engages all of the senses to make her world come alive. I don't know that I understand the details of this world enough to explain it to anyone, some of it doesn't make much sense to me at all because it's so fantastic. But it wasn't meant to have to stand on it's own as a logical system of government or anything like that. It really is a fable, a dark fairy tale. And it felt real for the span of the story because it was so alive with colors and scents and sounds and feelings. I'm glad that this story was nominated for the World Fantasy Award so that I could discover it.
As much as I love Clarkesworld, I didn't read the rest of the magazine at this time. I have several newer editions of the magazine to read already.(less)
I read a story of Ballingrud's in Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales and he was one of the author's I liked well enough to really remember afterward, I...moreI read a story of Ballingrud's in Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales and he was one of the author's I liked well enough to really remember afterward, I really became a fan. I wanted to read more of his short stories but at the time the way to do that was to get this book and it wasn't out yet. And I was disappointed to see that it was being published by a small press and I didn't think my library would be getting it. I'm so thrilled to see that since it's release the collection has been nominated for several awards, including but not necessarily limited to the BFSA, the Shirley Jackson Award and the World Fantasy Award. Pretty impressive for an author's first collection! And lucky for me, I was wrong. First, Tor.com released a story from the book, "The Monsters of Heaven," so I got a small taste now. And I just saw that my library does have the book on order, so I'll get to return to the collection soon and read the rest of it.
Monsters was dark and weird and sad. It was very rooted in the reality of what happens between a couple when a child is lost, but it added the element of something happening out in the world, these "angels" arriving, and how one specific angle would impact the dynamic between this devastated couple. I'm looking forward to seeing if there's any pattern or connection between his stories, if the monsters are as often human as otherworldly. (less)
I've been reading a lot of more serious short fiction lately, so I was really in the mood for this for a change. Previous anthologies edited by this p...moreI've been reading a lot of more serious short fiction lately, so I was really in the mood for this for a change. Previous anthologies edited by this pair have been very good and full of a great mix of stories. But these all pretty much blended together and just weren't as fun and charming as they should have been. It was only stubbornness and a lazy sense of momentum that made me bother to finish the book. The only stories that were really good were Seanan McGuire's and Scott Sigler's. Even some favorite authors' stories were just OK. It was just a really mediocre book.(less)
I got this because The Dead Sea-Bottom Scrolls by Howard Waldrop was nominated for a Locus Award for best short story in 2014. His story was interesti...moreI got this because The Dead Sea-Bottom Scrolls by Howard Waldrop was nominated for a Locus Award for best short story in 2014. His story was interesting, but it did thrill me., I think some others in the category are stronger. And the rest of the book didn't do it for me either, even though I'm very into short stories right now. I picked it up several times, read a couple of the stories, but something about the tone of the book wasn't working for me. Maybe it's because our basic idea about Mars has just changed as a culture, it's not the thrilling adventure that it was imagined to be in the '50 and '60, and that reality permeates the stories even when the authors try to set it aside and write something fantastic. I don't know. And now I just saw that the book won the Locus Award for best anthology this year, so what do I know? Obviously some people liked it. And liked the editors, which helps get it picked up and read by more people with a positive frame of mind maybe. Their names got my attention too, their anthologies are usually quite good. But I marked it "partially-read-was-enough".(less)
There were only two series I was still allowing myself to buy, until this came out in hardback. Even if I could rationalize the money, I don't want si...moreThere were only two series I was still allowing myself to buy, until this came out in hardback. Even if I could rationalize the money, I don't want six paperbacks and three hardbacks. But I'm lucky enough to be able to get them from the library and not have to wait a year for the paperback, most people don't have that option. I'm sure the publisher has the profits predicted and figures on coming out ahead.
Anyway, the book was good, as usual. The dogs were great. Owen was, well, a character. I just didn't love that Atticus and Granuaile didn't interact for almost any of the book. I'd rather see a strong couple working together than this artificial being kept apart that too many series do. And because so much of the book was just the three individuals acting alone and their internal monologues, it was a bit more distant that I'm used to from this series. Introspective journal entries after the fact aren't the same as interactive action scenes. I did like having the three points of view and I liked that it enabled the characters to cover the world in a new way, but it did have a trade-off.(less)
I was only able to read Tansy Rayner Roberts' story now, but I'd love to read the whole book at some point. Roberts' story was fun, an adaptation of T...moreI was only able to read Tansy Rayner Roberts' story now, but I'd love to read the whole book at some point. Roberts' story was fun, an adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe but with a twist. It made good use book's theme of of one small step. It's interesting to find this adaption from her since I'm currently reading her weekly serial adaptation of The Three Muskateers as well, which has the twists of gender swapping and being science fiction. I guess she likes to think about how to make old stories fresh again, like so many authors who've written reinterpreted fairy tales.(less)