Wednesday, June 4, 2014


ed. by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois

Thoughts: Entertaining selection of short stories including several authors I really like: Garth Nix, Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, etc.

Most of the stories didn't pop out at me as ones I particularly loved. But on the other hand, I didn't dislike any of them either, which is somewhat unusual. Here are a few notes on stories that stood out to me in one way or another:

"Holly and Iron" by Garth Nix. I always enjoy Garth Nix's stories. I didn't fall in love with this one as much as I sometimes do, but it was still a really interesting take on a combined Robin Hood/King Arthur re-telling.

"Color Vision" by Mary Rosenblum. Lots of fun. I liked the synesthesia aspect, and think this could also make an interesting full length work.

"The Ruby Incomparable" by Kage Baker. This was great, with lots of potential. I was a little put off by how equivalent Good and Evil were portrayed, but the characters were all interesting

"Fowl Tale" by Eoin Colfer. It was surprisingly funny, and I was reminded again how much I actually enjoyed the first bunch of Artemis Fowl books (though this story was not related to them, just by the same author).

"Stranger's Hands" by Tad Williams. The worst thing about this was the insinuation that religious people (specifically Christians, since the world seems similar to ours) are intolerant. To quote (pg. 122): "[T]he big one was plainly touched, perhaps even demon-possessed, and almost no one felt anything for them but horror and disgust." The only exception was the priest, who "had experienced a crisis of faith, leading him to doubt many of the most famous and popular tenets of his own religion." Because of this, "he was [...] unwilling to assume the guilt of someone else simply because they were not part of the familiar herd."

"Stone Man" by Nancy Kress. This was one of my favourites. There was lots of potential for a longer book here, and I'm going to look up Nancy Kress and see what else she's written.

"The Manticore Spell" by Jeffrey Ford. A lyrical and strange story. But I enjoyed it.

"Zinder" by Tanith Lee. The one I came closest to disliking. Zinder is basically just this perfect guy who helps everyone and everyone loves him. And that's it. Also the slight insinuation that religious people are deluded.

"Billy and the Wizard" by Terry Bisson. The other one I came close to disliking. It was creepy, but not in a way I enjoyed. The style was similar to a small child's story, which made it all the creepier.

"The Magic Animal" by Gene Wolfe. I liked this one, and could have really liked it, but in the end it was rather strange and I found it difficult to understand. This was a similar reaction to what I had with the novel by Gene Wolfe I read, The Sorcerer's House. I'm intrigued to read more of him, as he is considered (as it mentions in this book) "one of the best--perhaps the best--SF and fantasy writers working today." (pg. 299).

"Stonefather" by Orson Scott Card. Also really liked this one. Apparently it's related to several full length novels, which I'll now look into. The magic system and world-building was quite interesting.

Grade: 3 stars