I spent many nights burning the midnight candle to see what happened next. I'm not usually into mysteries, but really liked and recommend the Woman inI spent many nights burning the midnight candle to see what happened next. I'm not usually into mysteries, but really liked and recommend the Woman in White.
The suspense thriller has a complex plot full of twists and turns, drama, and more questions than answers. As Collins states in the preamble, the story is "told by more than one pen, as the story of an offence against the laws is told in Court by more than one witness". Drawn from his legal training, the narration method makes the mystery move quickly while giving a three dimensional view of everyone involved.
Under the guise of a sensation novel, Collins comments on England’s Victorian society. He shows how easy it was for women to be financially taken advantage of. The notions that one sex and class was better than the other is very apparent. Having read the Black Robe, I can see how the Woman in White is considered to be among his best works. His later social commentaries follow a less thrilling vein.
Written in 1859, the epistolary novel is considered to be among the first English detective novels and a forerunner for modern mystery and suspense. Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes didn’t appear until about twenty years later. Collins used devices that are still characteristic of modern mysteries.
It's a shame he only wrote two mysteries, the Moonstone being the other. They're great reads, but I preferred the Woman in White because it's more of an edge-of-your-seat suspense thriller. ...more
Equus has been a favourite for several years. I’ve read the play countless times, saw the same production two nights in a row, and watched the film veEquus has been a favourite for several years. I’ve read the play countless times, saw the same production two nights in a row, and watched the film version with Richard Burton. It’s one of the few plays that never gets stale, there's always something new.
A teenage boy undergoes therapy after committing a crime on the basis that "what the eye does not see, the heart does not grieve over". How and why could he do such a thing? That’s for the psychiatrist and audience to find out. Intense and dark, Equus is about society’s norms and religion. Shaffer takes a look at how beliefs are formed and what makes them valid or not.
Despite its intensity, Equus is morbidly beautiful. Or perhaps, its beauty is in part because of its intensity. It’s well written and is a relatively quick read. Although I’ve read other, lighter plays by Peter Shaffer, this one is still my favorite. I highly recommend it in any format available.
"The Normal is the good smile in a child’s eyes- all right. It is also the dead stare in a million adults. It both sustains and kills- like a God. It is the Ordinary made beautiful; it is also the Average made lethal. The Normal is the indispensable, murderous God of Health."
Whether one is into fantasy or not, the 430-page collection is a fine edition to anyone's library. It contains the novels "The Last Unicorn", "A FineWhether one is into fantasy or not, the 430-page collection is a fine edition to anyone's library. It contains the novels "The Last Unicorn", "A Fine and Private Place", and the short stories "Come, Lady Death" and "Lila, the Werewolf". Each is different from the others, showing Beagle's range in storytelling and writing styles.
"A Fine and Private Place" centers around a mausoleum where a recluse who speaks with the dead is offered a chance at happiness. It’s wit, charm, sadness, and beauty make it a fine and memorable piece, and definitely worth revisiting. Impressively, it's Beagle's first novel, written when he was 19.
"The Last Unicorn" follows the Unicorn who teams up with Schmendrick the Magician and a bandit leader’s wife to find out what happened to the other unicorns. It's a fantasy story that children and adults alike can enjoy. As usual the movie adaptation omitted some of the story, including the book’s end.
"Lila the Werewolf" is self-explanatory and was okay. "Come, Lady Death" is a humorous, fantasy-spin about the superficial social politics of the 19th century. It was really amusing.
Overall, Worlds Apart is a good anthology, but I liked it more for its raison d’être than the stories it contains.
11 short stories explore the futureOverall, Worlds Apart is a good anthology, but I liked it more for its raison d’être than the stories it contains.
11 short stories explore the future, society, gender, and sexuality. How do societal norms become the norm? What if sex changes were easily available? Would that change relations? If so, how? These are just a few of the questions brought up in this anthology.
Samuel Delany’s story was written in the sixties when so many things like sex, much less "deviation", were mentioned aloud. Born in 1915, Alice Bradley Sheldon felt the need for a male pen name and so used James Tiptree Jr. Although their short stories weren’t the best of introductions, I look forward to reading more by them.
Considering that way before the Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote gay and lesbian pulp fiction in the fifties and sixties, I’m really not surprised that one of her shorts was used in the anthology. There’s still a ton out there I haven’t yet read, but MZB is a long time favourite.
I’ve read stories by John Varley and Joanna Russ elsewhere and I can’t quite put my finger on it, but Varley’s rub me the wrong way. I’d be more inclined to read more by Russ though.
It's a good collection, especially considering it was published in 1986. I think nowadays there are better GLBT SF anthologies out there. ...more
Reading the short stories was as entertaining as if I were watching The Twilight Zone. I really enjoyed reading Rod Serling’s writing and adding to thReading the short stories was as entertaining as if I were watching The Twilight Zone. I really enjoyed reading Rod Serling’s writing and adding to the experience was his audible narration in the back of my mind. I recommend the collection of 6 episodes that were published in 1962, after their airing.
"There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone."
Overall, I liked Catfantastic and the authors’ insights into feline minds. Some of the stories I liked better than others, but that’s to be expected.
AOverall, I liked Catfantastic and the authors’ insights into feline minds. Some of the stories I liked better than others, but that’s to be expected.
Andre Norton sums up the sci-fi/fantasy anthology purrfectly in the introduction:
"Herein are neither Heathcliff nor Garfield but some others who have as definite personalities to make forceful impressions within their territories... Cats are presented in all shapes, colors, sizes, alike in self-confidence and general ingenuity. There seems never to have been a cat who was not entirely equal to the situation which confronts him or her. In other words, there are no extraordinary cats, merely ones to whom unusual opportunities present themselves."
I picked up the collection because it has short stories by Mercedes Lackey and Andre Norton. It was also published in 1989 by DAW, which has printed countless books and authors I’ve raved about through the years. One doesn’t need to know about or like all of the above to enjoy this collection of short stories. ...more