Looks like I’ll be doing the bookstore booth in the dealers room at Worldcon again this year. Cool. Even if I might have to enter Kansas to do it. Ick. Not that I have anything against Kansas, per say, but I’ve sworn off driving through it after doing it like four times (eight really if you count there and back as two trips) in a 2-3 year period. Holy fuck is driving straight through Kansas boring. Especially the trip where I borrowed a car that the cd player didn’t work if you were going over about 40mph. Which, on a straight line highway through Kansas, is much below the speed you would be going.
Oh, and to the author: I’ll get versions of cut-down reviews onto Amazon sometime in the near future.
Bit different than most. I did little mini-reviews for each individual story. Which once again has me pondering my particular review format. I try not to include spoilers and yet most of my reviews are kinda written with the target audience of someone who has already read it. A lot of my comments are kind of aimed to be what I felt about the subject to someone who knows what I’m talking about.
My overall opinion is that this is a damn good collection of stories that is certainly worth both the price and the time it takes to read through it. Now onto my reactions to the stories!
Stories in the author’s urban fantasy universe:
Decent to good. Falls in the category of ‘not my thing’. I like more ideas and worldbuilding in a story and this is a tightly focused character piece.
More or less the same as above, good character piece. It does have the concept of were-creature as magic virus thing. Which is one of the modern urban fantasy tropes I’ve come to not like all that much. I’m all for the whole pseudoscience (as in soft divide for science/magic basis for supernatural stuff) but this one is a bit overused in my opinion.
My favorite so far. It isn’t a lot better quality-wise than the others. Just matched my tastes closer. Not worldbuilding or anything, but more of an idea piece than a character piece.
A nice casual story. Short and simple. Not even really a story, just a snapshot moment with a character. Different style than a lot of his other stories. Which is understandable given the author’s note for the piece.
Side Story to Dead Silver. Not bad, but didn’t grab me. Was actually disappointed in how simple the ghost removal turned out to be. The confirmation of an afterlife in the setting was interesting, but not surprising.
Intriguing. Certainly want to see more of a story set in this world. This glimpse, however, has too much of our world in it to make a judgement about the setting as a whole. Wait, nevermind on some of that. Apparently that was just the first chapter of a multi-chapter story. Whoops! The rest gives a bit more but still feels a bit too much Victorian London and/or modern than a “proper” (metaphorical quotes intentional for vagueness of definition of the term) fantasy story. Still if he ever does write more in this world I certainly will want to check it out.
Skipped the two stories apparently set in Alaska for reasons I guess are pretty obvious to anyone who knows my taste in stories. I mean my favorite fluffy slice of life stories involve magic, weather control, and gods who control the cycle of day and night.
Super hero story:
Probably the best story so far when measure by the interest level I have in the idea. Started slow. Part of me thinks a lot of the middle could have been removed to make the story quicker. Yet I can’t actually think of any specific bit that could be cut out without the story losing something. Which is where I often go the other way and say that a story should be longer to make the slow bits a smaller percentage of the whole.
Even with the somewhat slower stuff, I enjoyed every moment of reading it and the reveal was pretty cool. I even predicted what would happen after the reveal (more or less) and enjoyed it anyway. So this story by itself is worth getting the whole collection for.
Decently written. Well, actually, very well written. Just not my kind of thing. Bit too mundane, bit too much of the usual evils of humanity type of thing. As in, deception and human weakness and authority lying for it’s own gain. Just a bit too much of the bad sides of reality for my tastes. I prefer more idealized good and evil (order/chaos, dark/light, nice clear duality as a framework for the grey areas between) and larger than life sort of narratives sort of thing in my entertainment.
Reading the author’s afterward showed that I was more or less accurate about my guesses about the setting of the story. Which is probably one of the reasons it didn’t grab me. Don’t want to spoil the details honestly because, one the author doesn’t and two I agree that going into it with few expectations is a good idea. Yet the source of the author’s inspiration is something that I feel fairly ambivalent (leaning towards apathy) about. Still, for what it is I found it a excellent example of storytelling. Another good character-focused piece that (probably) won’t disappoint. The wuality of the writing had nothing to do with my uninspired feelings towards it.