There is nothing wrong with horror as a genre. I'm just surprised that no one mentioned it in the descriptions. The editoThis is Horror, Not Fantasy.
There is nothing wrong with horror as a genre. I'm just surprised that no one mentioned it in the descriptions. The editor talks a lot about "genre" fiction, and I was a bit confused at first because these stories are not like the fantasy genre I am used to. But once I realized they were horror genre I could see how they fit perfectly. Maybe it's just because I am a real Witch that the words: magic, esoteric, and arcane do not mean horror to me.
"The Wrong Fairy" by Audrey Niffenegger. I bought this book because it contained a story by her. This story is about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's father, who was an alcoholic and painted pictures of fairies. In the story a fairy appears to him while he is committed to a lunatic asylum to dry out, and the Queen of Fairies commissions him to paint pictures of her children. Which he does, until he dies. The facts of the story are essentially true. Charles Doyle was committed to Sunnyside for alcoholism and did draw and paint fairies.
"If I Die, Kill My Cat" by Sarah Lotz. A South African cleaner specializing and cleaning up after dead bodies finds a small black cat in the home of a dead Austrian Druid, and a strange note saying "If I die, kill my cat." She takes in the cat and soon people around her begin to have dangerous accidents. It seems that the government has hired Druids to remove bad luck from dangerous roads and that bad luck has to go somewhere.
"Shuffle" by Will Hill. This story has three parts. In the first part a young man and his friends summon a demon as joke that ends with with two of them dead. In the second part he plays blackjack in a casino and wins a lot of money. In the third part he plays three card Monty in the street and deliberately loses all the money he won. In the end we see what the demon gets out of it.
"Domestic Magic" by Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem. A teenage boy complains that he has to take care of both his little sister and his crazy mom. But when his crazy mom puts his little sister in danger he has to do something to stop her.
"Cad Coddeu" by Liz Williams. A wild man who can't remember his own name sees a shape changer being chased by tree warriors and helps her escape an evil Druid.
"Party Tricks" by Dan Abnett. Political party politics is easier to manipulate if you are an immortal shape changing sorcerer.
"First and Last and Always" by Thana Niveau. Never do love spells!!! Ever!!!
"The Art of Escapology" by Alison Littlewood. I'm not sure that anyone really escapes in this story. If it were a hopeful fantasy story maybe the father wanted to escape and so he did. But it seems more like the father was possessed and kidnapped and never managed to escape.
"The Baby" by Christopher Fowler. I hope this story is a snapshot of how things used to be, and modern young girls don't have to go through this. This young girl makes bad choices and suffers the consequences. But really it's the adults who should have known better and are really responsible for what they do to her.
"Do as Thou Wilt" by Storm Constantine. I was pleasantly surprised by this story. A mature woman is recovering from a relationship with a man who is a psychic vampire. No fangs or blood. He just leaches the life force out of his victims. She got away but a friend of hers tells her the man is still out there doing the same thing to other women. At first she doesn't want to get involved, but in the end she takes steps to stop him. What I liked about this story is that it is entirely plausible. This sort of thing does happen in modern Wiccan circles and it would be handled in pretty much this way. The only part that was the least bit "supernatural" was the vision that the wife has at the end. And that is probable too. People do have visions like that. Whether you believe in them or not.
"Bottom Line" by Lou Morgan. I was a bit disappointed by this story. Magic as a destructive addiction. And one man's attempt, and failure, to escape.
"MailerDaemon" by Sophia McDougall. Grace is an unemployed computer programmer who suffers from nightmares. Her online friend Seven Magpies offers to send her a demon named Mr Levanter-Sleet who likes "girls in trouble" and doesn't like other demons, or boys. Grace accepts, and her nightmares go away. But when her boyfriend spends the night he gets nightmares and tries to kill himself. If Grace wants to be in a long term relationship with a man she needs to get rid of Mr Levanter-Sleet. I thought Seven Magpies was unnecessarily Fae. I mean was she really a child? or some supernatural creature? And why?
"Buttons" by Gail Z. Martin. Apparently this is a short story about some existing characters who live in Atlanta, Georgia, and dispose of dangerous artifacts for a living. In this case a button from a Civil War uniform leads to a haunted house and old magic gone wrong. Nice use of Voudoun as a solution to a problem.
"Nanny Grey" by Gemma Files. An unscrupulous young man gets fed to the family demon of a woman he tries to rob. Lots of hints at a back story but no explanation of what exactly the woman is getting out of her relationship with Nanny Grey, or why Nanny Grey is bound to her.
"Dumb Lucy" by Robert Shearman. A magician wanders a wasteland with a silent little girl doing magic tricks for what people they can find. Maybe. Or maybe he went insane after he abandoned his wife. I have no idea what is going on in this story. ...more
Fascinating story. As a book lover I really related. I was going to lend this book to a teenager I know but I thought it might be a little too dark foFascinating story. As a book lover I really related. I was going to lend this book to a teenager I know but I thought it might be a little too dark for him. Definitely an adult book. (Although there is no sex in it.)...more
This book was chosen by my Science Fiction book group because it was supposed to be a Sci-Fi dystopia abThere is Fantasy in my Science Fiction! Again!
This book was chosen by my Science Fiction book group because it was supposed to be a Sci-Fi dystopia about illegal immigrants in the US. It is that. But the sci-fi component is minor. All the technology is currently available. We aren't tattooing immigrants, or implanting GPS trackers, or force sterilizing them, yet. But we are imprisoning them and setting up internment camps.
There is a definite fantasy element to this story. Some of the immigrants, and one of the main characters who has Native American blood, have magical powers.
You can call it Magical Realism, or Urban Fantasy, but it isn't Science Fiction.
**spoiler alert** Puts the Post in Post-apocalypse.
This was a very strange book. I wonder if this is the face of post-modern sci-fi. Usually post-mode**spoiler alert** Puts the Post in Post-apocalypse.
This was a very strange book. I wonder if this is the face of post-modern sci-fi. Usually post-modern writing is self-referential, which this isn't. This is very quiet book.
There are five or six characters who's lives we follow. The story jumps around in time.
I think my mother might like this book. Except for the parts that made me like it. She likes realistic fiction about people's lives. I like SF&F.
Within the story, "Station Eleven" is a two volume self-published graphic novel about a damaged space station that has escaped the destruction of the earth. I think it is a metaphor for the world after the plague. With the islands and bridges of Station Eleven echoing the survivors of the plague in their isolated encampments, and Undersea rebels representing the wandering cultists.
But the author of the graphic novel dies of the plague, so she never sees that world. For her "Station Eleven" seems to be a metaphor for modern life with all of us living isolated lives with conflicting goals. Some of us trying to do the best we can with what we have, while others fight to return "home", to some better imagined life.
That is the kind of book it is.
At one point Arthur (the actor) says of Miriam (the graphic artist and his first wife) that she preferred painting the pictures to writing the dialog. And I think that is true of this whole book. The author spends most of her time painting elaborate pictures of moments and very little on plot or dialog. It's more like a poem than a narrative. It's about capturing moments rather than telling a story.
The end is hopeful for the future of civilization which is nice.
It's interesting that everyone is describing the post-apocalyptic landscape as a "wasteland" because it isn't. The land is perfectly fine. The land is not "wasted" or "laid waste to". It simply has a lot fewer people in it. It's really telling how much our world is a social creation that people so easily fall into calling a world without people a "wasteland" instead of an ecological paradise. ...more
I was put off by the standard fantasy medieval feudal society at first. It's been done to death. But things picked up a bit.
This isn't your standardI was put off by the standard fantasy medieval feudal society at first. It's been done to death. But things picked up a bit.
This isn't your standard Chosen One gathering an army and marching to victory. This is a caper story, like The Italian Job. Kelsier is a lifetime criminal who has recently escaped from the world's worst prison, where his wife died. He gathers a crew with the plan of robbing the Lord Ruler, an immortal God King, and turning the kingdom over to a slave uprising. The job is financed by the slave rebellion and the payout is the Lord Ruler's stash of rare metal, worth more than gold.
Our main character is Vin, a young thief, with special skills. Not unique skills, just special skills. Many people with Aristocratic blood have the ability to use metals to do what we would call magic, they call it Allomancy. In fact this ability is the main difference between the aristocrats and the Skaa slaves. Kelsier and Vin are both half-breeds, they had aristocratic fathers. And they are both Mistborn, which means they are a special case of Allomancers who can use all of the magic metals, not just one of them. Mistborn are rare but not too rare. Being Mistborn doesn't make you the Chosen One, it's just useful.
The idea of overthrowing the God King as a caper reminds me of the Terry Pratchett novel "Interesting Times" where the Silver Horde conquers the Agatean Empire by sneaking in and taking over the court.
I have some problems with the depiction of religion in this book. I suspect the author of being a an atheist and having an atheist's usual wrong ideas about how religion works. I read in a wiki that the Skaa slaves are forbidden from practicing religion. How they are supposed to worship the God King without "practicing religion" I don't know. Also the ministry seems to be based on enforcing religious doctrine. Under that system not practicing religion would be the same as not obeying the law.
Well, I just met the character of Sazed, who seems to a bit of a philosopher. So I expect to get more annoyed. ----------------------------- Well, it turns out that the author is not an atheist, he is a Mormon. Mormons have interesting ideas about religion. In general I'm more comfortable talking to people of any faith other than atheists. At least Mormons understand that religion has social value. Religion in the story was not just a tool to manipulate the foolish, that I thought the author might make it, when I thought he was an atheist. The Mormon influence on the story explains both the definition of God as the creator of the universe, and the strong emphasis on charismatic men in creating religions.
Knowing that the author is a Mormon changed how I experienced the story. Kelsier's paternal attitude toward Vin makes more sense now. You don't often find important male characters being paternal to teenaged girls in fantasy, unless the characters are very old. I can see Kelsier's behavior being consistent with Mormon emphasis on family values, and moral behavior. As opposed to the usual adolescent fantasy of male virility.
It turns out that Vin is special after all. Although I will have to read the other two books to find out why.
In general I'm pleased with the story and have ordered the remaining two books so I can see what happens. ...more