April 23rd, 2010

reading

Are we AWAKE?

Been a bit quiet around here, hasn't it? I'll admit that I have been reading short stories only sporadically over the last little while, having recently rediscovered my bizarrely missing novel-love. However, I have still read some mighty fine shorts...

Pamela Sargent, "Mindband", in Asimov's April/May. Frankly, this is one creepy story. Not in an "omg there's something under the bed" way, but in a "that town sounds like somewhere I know, and those people are kinda familiar, and I've heard of those sorts of things happening..." way. Midsize town, a variety of people doing different things, and a new-ish business that no one really seems to understand. Freaky.

Sarah Monette, After the Dragon in Fantasy Magazine. Once your life has been changed by a dragon, how do you cope? Megan lives in the modern world; dragons exist, and she managed to live through an encounter - but not without some scars, physically and mentally. The thing I loved about this story was that the dragon isn't the point. It's life afterwards that's the point - the coping, the struggling, and the getting on with life. And it's delightfully written.

Willow Fagan, My Mother the Ghost, also Fantasy Magazine. Another slightly creepy story, and another one that's more about relationships - especially the ever-fraught mother&son one - than it is about the specfic elements, although they certainly are central. I must admit I was a little disappointed by the ending, but I guess you can't have everything.

Patricia Russo, Stranger, Fantasy Magazine. (There's a pattern here.) Another absorbing story where it's all about relationships. (There really is a pattern here.) The setting is specfic, and as a result some of the concerns are... not precisely ones you're going to encounter in the West. As I wrote that, though, it occurred to me that actually there are places in the world where finding someone to look after a stranger is a very real concern, and if not for the reasons met here - which speak of a very dark past for this world - then for other, equally life-threatening reasons. Yes, I am rambling a bit; just read the story.