Thursday, March 13, 2008

Reversal stories

kw: book reviews, story reviews, science fiction, fantasy, anthologies

The anthology is Eclipse One, edited by Jonathan Strahan. A blurb on the cover states, "New Science Fiction and Fantasy". To my mind, only two of the fifteen remotely resemble SciFi: "Electric Rains" and "Lustration" (see below). As a solar eclipse reverses the sun/sky relationship, these stories are intended to turn assumptions topsywise. They do. The ideas:

  • Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse by Andy Duncan – A frizzled chicken (one with feathers that grow in backwards) with healing powers, which she names "Jesus", is a lonely girl's favorite companion.
  • Bad Luck, Trouble, Death, and Vampire Sex by Garth Nix – When one's grandmother is the world's most dangerous witch, her death leads to, well, all hell breaking loose...
  • The Last and Only or, Mr. Moscowitz Becomes French by Peter S. Beagle – A psychological version of Kafka's "Metamorphosis".
  • The Lost Boy: A Reporter at Large by Maureen F. McHugh – A mildly occult story of amnesia.
  • The Drowned Life by Jeffrey Ford – A parable of losing the rat race. The metaphor is living underwater.
  • Toother by Terry Dowling – An ugly story of a person with a bite fetish, who vanishes at a crucial moment.
  • Up the Fire Road by Eileen Gunn – Is the Sasquatch a shape-shifter?
  • In the Forest of the Queen by Gwyneth Jones – A modern take-off on English forest mythology.
  • Quartermaster Returns by Ysabeau S. Wilco – Putting the old saw into words: You aren't allowed to die if you owe the Army anything.
  • Electric Rains by Kathleen Ann Goonan – The sky is full of nanostuff, driving most folks to get uploaded. A girl is taking hear dead protectress to a burial place, avoiding being rained on.
  • She-Creatures by Margo Lanagan – A brooding riff on alien abduction fears.
  • The Transformation of Targ by Paul Brandon and Jack Dann – A bad guy with nice urges tries to reform. His "educator in evil" shrink has other ideas.
  • Mrs. Zeno's Paradox by Ellen Klages – You really can't get there from here. At some point you have to halve the Planck length, and it's only 143 steps from halving a centimeter.
  • The Lustration by Bruce Sterling – A wooden computer, mafioso priests, and artificial intelligence in a thoroughly alien milieu.
  • Larissa Miusov by Lucius Shepard – Perhaps some folks really can go down a hole and pull it in behind them.

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