October 15th, 2007


Prepare for the onslaught, for I am catching up

I am catching up before I leave for WFC. Here and in the next 10 or so posts will be a jumble of randomly collated stories I have enjoyed this year.

Anna Tambour, "The Jeweller of Second-Hand Roe", Subterranean Press 7
Tambour is rapidly becoming another favourite author of mine. She writes so far left field that you need binoculars to see her. And that's what makes reading her work so much fun because you never know what you're in for with her stories. And this one? It's so utterly revolting that I can't even tell you about it because it would spoil the read. Expect your stomach to churn.

David Marusek, "Osama Phone Home", F&SF December 2007
Note it is a reprint.
I really really liked this story - so much so that I slowed down reading it to make it last longer. This story takes boys/ivy league college clubs like the Skull and Crossbones to a whole new level. Why not use their coolective power for good? And yet ... all power corrupts, right? What I liked about this story was that it stretched believability and yet stayed very believable. That's hard to do.

Daryl Gregory, "Dead Horse Point", Asimovs August
This story is long and proceeds at a gentle pace. It's quite subtle but I found it very moving. What do you do when you love someone and the only way you can love them is to care 100% for them and get nothing in return? Just go on loving them, I guess. Pretty heartbreaking in its denouement.

Katherine Sparrow, "The Liminals", Glorifying Terrorism
This collection attempts to show that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. What I think I liked about this story in the collection was the presentation of liminals within it. I like to read about strong characters who don't fit mainstream stereotypical roles. This story is confronting with that but in so doing, it's quite refreshing.

Andrea Kail, "Soft, Like a Rabbit", Fantasy 6
This is another tender little story - perhaps aimed at a young YA audience. Just because you have the skills to fix something, doesn't mean you always can or even that you should. Bittersweet. Bring tissues.

Check out my full review of Fantastical Journeys to Brisbane to see what I thought about Tansy Rayner Roberts' "The Pastimes of Aunties" and Paul Haines' Where is Brisbane and How Many Times Do I Get There?".

Gill Ainsworth, "Going Underground", Ballista 2
You know, I just liked the idea of a naked woman running through the subway station and catching a train. I also liked the statement she was trying to make.

More good reads

Leslie What, "Post Hoc", Interfictions
This story is just bizarre - our pregnant protagonist posts herself to her exboyfriend but can't be delivered because he's not home to sign for the package. So she hangs out at the Post Office mailroom. Definitely the definition of interfiction, this is a good mind-fuck of a story.

Karen Jordan Allen, "Alternate Anxieties", Interfictions
You *know* I liked this story because the main character is suffering with anxiety and some OCD symptoms. The play with alternate realities is a nice mind play for the reader.

Kate Bachus, "Ferryman's Reprieve", Strange Horizons, April
I've read a few stories about the Ferryman this year. Poor dude. He seems awfully lonely. Maybe he might try to figure out how to not be the ferryman anymore. It does seem like a solitary business - ferrying the recently dead to the beyond.

Richard Kerslake, "Habilus", Potato Monkey Issue 5
This piece is a fun play on drug addiction (wait, that sounds wrong) - here the youth are playing around with drugs that send their behaviour bakcwards up the evolutionary chain. Okay, well, that's the only thing that's fun about it. The rest is a very moving representation of parents trying to cope and find ways to get the message "that drugs they are teh bad" through to their kids.

Jennifer Fallon, "Demons of Fear", ASIM 27
This piece seems a little dark for the usual ASIM fare. I liked it for its subject matter - dealing with domestic abuse.

Dirk Flinthart, "Truckers", ASIM 30
Flinthart just does not write fast enough, for my liking. Here is a well-deserved break from the fantastic adventures of the Red Priest. Off to the ordinaryness of a small town in the middle of nowhere where all just might not be as it seems, if only Dirk can accept it. I kinda like to think this is based on a true story.

John Rosenman, "Going Away", Space and Time 100
Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it and realise you were actually happy with the way things were before. This story is poignant and a wee bit sad. It has stayed with me months after I read it and reminds me to be joyful in each day for what I have.

Samantha Henderson, "Bottles", Realms of Fantasy April
This one is a tad nasty - especially since it presents itself as a potential feel-good story about a little girl discovering her very special talent. Of course, her talent is to steal the souls of living creatures and keep them in little bottles in her room and that's not very nice now, is it?! This story gave me the tingles you get when you realise you could do something so deliciously wrong - and then you go ahead and do it.

Paul E Martens, "Ten Thousand Spaceships", Hub Issue 19
Ten thousand spaceships rock up on Earth one day and park themselves in front of ten thousand homes and buildings across the globe. When the right person, or combination of people, enter the spaceship, it closes the doors and flies away. The story here focuses on one family with such a spaceship in their backyard and whether and whom should go inside. What if it's dad and only dad or one of the little girls and only her who it's programmed to take? And what do these spaceships want anyway? What a choice to have to make.