Tansy Rayner Roberts (cassiphone) wrote in lastshortstory,
Tansy Rayner Roberts

Coyotes, Candy, Terrorists, Frocks

It's mostly about the anthologies this week - we've got a stack of them in and are happily tearing them apart with our teeth.

"Outgoing," by Alex Wilson, Asimov's Feb - a poet is shot into orbit. Space terrorism. And haiku as a form of emergency communication! I love this story to bits. Because *poet in orbit.*

"The Sundial Brigade," by James A Trimarco, Glorifying Terrorism - Humans as museum exhibits, aliens as Big Brother, and the remains of future Italy. A beautifully constructed, chilling story.

"Freecell," by Chaz Brenchley, Glorifying Terrorism - it's kind of wrong that a story about suicide bombing should be this damn gorgeous, but that's Brenchley for you.

"The Listeners," by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, The Coyote Road - a masterful story of slavery, women and the "gifts" of the gods in Ancient Greece. All gods are bastards. Remember that.

"Friday Night at St Cecilia's," by Ellen Klages, The Coyote Road - a great romp with a girl hero facing a surreal test of board games and tricksy foes with the kind of pluck & gumption you always need to escape the fairies.

"Try and Try Again," by Pierce Askegren, Time Twisters - an elegant and snappy story of two men, possibly the same man, meeting for lunch in a cafe. The dialogue makes this one, and the uneasy exchange between two versions of the same person. Smart to the end.

"Technicolour," by Louise Marley, Pandora's Closet - I'm a sucker for Dorothy stories (AKA Wizard of Oz fanfic) and I quite liked this take on a modern, mundane Dorothy rediscovering her ruby slippers.

(PS: a spec fic anthology with the theme of "clothes"? How did I not know about this? Sadly, not many of these stories made it above the "meh" level for me. But awesome anthology title. Shame there weren't enough frocks.)

"The Constable of Abal," by Kelly Link, The Coyote Road - a real Link classic, the first of her original stories I have truly *loved* since "Magic for Beginners". (and how much do I adore the names Zilla and Ozma? They trilled through my head while I was reading the story, like background music)

"A Reversal of Fortune," by Holly Black, The Coyote Road - a funny story about a skinny girl who gets into an eating contest with the devil. Pure frivol, but excellently done. [and yes, GJ, it's a story with vomiting (or not vomiting) as an essential plot point. But not as an expression of horror, purely from over-eating]

"It's my Birthday Too," by Jim Butcher, Many Bloody Returns - in a collection full of birthday-themed vampire stories, (and boy was I over the whole vampire thing by the end of this!) this one stood out for me. I haven't read the novel series that the wizard protagonist (Harry Dresden) and his vampire brother come from, but the set characters came across really well in this long story (novella?) and I liked the set up of real vampires tearing through a vampire RPG on Valentine's Day. The dialogue is fun (I have a weakness for smart-arsed Spenser-like heroes) and the brotherly interactions were genuinely enjoyable. Plus the classic line: "Fleeting, pizza is. Eternal are shoes and leather goods."

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