Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Catching Up

I got a bit behind on my short story reading over the weekend, while I was attending the Wizard World Chicago convention. I've been reading a bunch the last couple days, playing catch-up.

"The Good Ones Are Already Taken" by Ben Fountain is an interesting modern-day story of voodoo, love, and sex, but the ending was disappointing. There was no resolution.

"A Pig's Whisper" is the second story by Margo Lanagan in this collection, and I didn't care for either one. Definitely not a writer I'll be checking out again.

Write what you know, they say. Stephen Volk has written several screenplays and TV shows, and created a "paranormal drama" for TV (Afterlife; I've heard of it, never saw it). His short story "31/10" (a reference to Halloween) is about revisiting a "reality show" about ghosts which went horribly wrong ten years ago. Very interesting, well written and kind of creepy. I liked it.

Writers I really like (Neil Gaiman, for example) often praise Gene Wolfe. I've read some of his stuff and liked it. "Sob in the Silence" is a short story, unlike anything I've read from Wolfe before. It's a really creepy, horrific short story about a horror writer who abducts and murders the daughter of his college roommate. Not for the squemish, but I really enjoyed it.

I've heard Paul Di Filippo's name before, but don't know that I've ever read anything by him. "Femaville 29" is the story of a FEMA-run relocation camp after a natural disaster (a tsunami). Di Filippo uses interesting characters -- the main character has a great backstory -- and it's the children of the camp who end up saving the day. Very enjoyable.

Most of the fantasy stories in this collection come from the outskirts of the realm of fantasy, which is one of the things I generally enjoy about the yearly anthologies. I just finished reading Benjamin Rosenbaum's "A Siege of Cranes" a much more traditional fantasy. Magic, swords, different races/creatures, a quest: all play into the plot here. A departure, in a way, from much of the rest of the book, and a good one.


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