Saturday, January 24, 2015

I Swear, I'm Done With Short Stories For A While

Well, I had another free collection of short stories, and figured, what the hell? The collection was "Some of the Best from 2014". You can download in Kindle, Nook, or Apple (my choice) format here.

The 24 stories, which are in alphabetical order by author, start strong and finish somewhat weak.

The 2nd story, "The End of the End of Everything", by Dale Bailey, was yet again an "end-of-the-world" story more like "7th Seal" than "Mad Max".

"Brisk Money" by Adam Christopher featured a hard-boiled 1950s detective who was a magtape-based robot - what, IBMpunk? Kind of an odd story.

"The Litany of Earth" by Ruthanna Emrys was a very readable Lovecraftian story - the ancient ones are very background figures, cast in a somewhat favorable light.

"A Kiss With Teeth" by Max Gladstone has pretty much the same plot as "The Incredibles", but with the dad being a vampire rather than a superhero.

"Reborn" by Ken Liu reminded me of one of Octavia Butler's series. Aliens with no long term memory conquer earth but then want acceptance and love.

"Anyway: Angie" by Daniel Jose Older had a good noir feel to it. The protagonist is a bodyguard for prostitutes who start getting picked off by monsters.

"Unlocked: An Oral History of Hayden's Syndrome" by John Scalzi was some good companion reading to Scalzi's novel "Locked In", which I blogged about here.

"Among the Thorns" by Veronica Schanoes and "A Cup of Salt Tears" by Isabel Yap both have a nice fairy tale feel to them. The former has a medieval setting, the latter a Japanese setting.

The story that actually made the greatest impression on me was "In the Sight of Akresa" by Ray Wood - but the impression was negative. In a medieval setting, the Baron's spoiled daughter has a love affair with a recaptured slave whose tongue had been torn out, and, in feuding with her equally spoiled brother, winds up with her fiance crippled, for which the slave is blamed and executed. Ugh. No characters of redeeming value, totally ignoble behavior, but written as tho we are supposed to identify with the spoiled daughter?!?!? I don't think it was tongue-in-cheek at all, just epic fail.

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