Sunday, 1 January 2012

State of the Reading Union: 2011, part 3

Best Short Story Collections (Since August)
Clockwork Phoenix 3: New Tales of Beauty and Strangeness, Volume 3‎ by Mike Allen

This lovingly-crafted anthology provides a nice cross-section of the SF field. Steampunk (Nicole Kornher-Stace's "To Seek Her Fortune") rubs shoulders with pseudo-academic history (Tori Truslow's "Tomorrow Is Saint Valentine's Day") which passes the baton onto literary SF (Gregory Frost’s “Lucyna’s Gaze”). Allen has a knack for digging out treasures from the slush pile, and he manages to not only showcase some strong stories from authors I already knew (Tanith Lee's "Fold"), but also creepy gems like Georgina Bruce’s "Crow Voodoo." I have to 'fess up, though, and admit that two of my favourite stories were by authors I know personally: Frost's wonderfully-crafted tragedy, “Lucyna’s Gaze," and Marie Brennan's brilliant lost history, "The Gospel of Nachash,” which I found both compelling and also dangerously persuasive. I can't now look at certain supernatural creatures without thinking of Brennan's apocrypha. It's very cleverly done.

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

Yes, I know. Everyone who likes SF has read this but me. Still, I really enjoyed reading modern classics like "Stories of Your Life" for the first time, as well as encountering personal favourites like "Seventy-Two Letters" again. I'm always impressed by the diversity of Chiang's stories and the strength of his ideas, and both virtues are on display in this collection.

No comments:

Post a Comment