Monday, January 29, 2007


An anthology edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

The stories in this don't really fit into any category more narrow than speculative fiction—they're all over the place. Some I thought were good, others I didn't, two I skipped. ("GI Jesus" and Michael Swanwick's story) The ones I think worth mentioning are:

Liza and the Crazy Water Man. Maybe I'm only mentioning this because it was the first one I read in the book, because I'm not sure what I liked about it. I think it was well written, though.

Sister Emily's Lightship. You're obviously supposed to assume (well, I did) that Emily is Emily Dickinson. Kind of a weird story, though.

Killing the Morrow. This could definitely be classified as horror. And adult. A homeless man hears a "Voice" one day and is told exactly where to go live. Apparently, so is everyone else in the world. Axe murder follows the completion of the Voice's project, hence the horror classification.

Erase/Record/Play: A Drama for Print. John M. Ford's story reminded me of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead; funny, clever, and beyond my understanding. Also alludes heavily to Shakespeare with a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream (I think). Since I've never read the original play, I don't know how much he changed (the hypodermics, for example, are obviously modern). This one might even be worth rereading to try and figure out, but I wasn't motivated enough.

The Cost to Be Wise. By Maureen F. McHugh, this is one of the more sci-fi slanted stories in the collection. Unfortunately, it isn't really clear what to make from the story itself, while the author's bio (collected with the others at the very end of the book) indicates a book set in this world was forthcoming at the time. As it has since forthcome, I may check it out.

In summary: One or two really good stories (Erase/Record/Play definitely tops my list), but the rest were either mediocre or I chose not to read them for other reasons.

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