Book Review: The Taste of Different Dimensions by Allen Dean Foster (three stars)
“This contravenes every known law of nature!” “Did I not say it represents a new way of looking at the world?”
Anthology of short fantasy fiction. Most are expanded one-liners: starting with a slight deviance from normal and ending with an ironic, even horrible twist. Foster writes better than most of his contemporaries.
“You could say that Morty’s very good at foreign languages.” “For instance?” “He can speak chocolate.”
The farther you read, the more terrible the twists. I am not a fan of horror. I skimmed the last two stories. Creeped me out.
“Alas, there seems to be a problem.” A catch. There was always a catch. “What problem?” “You are not a cat.”
Book Review: Death of the Necromancer (Ile-Rien #2) by Martha Wells
“And that’s what he wants us to do, so that is what must be avoided at all cost.” That’s elementary, for God’s sake.”
An Arthur Conan Doyle take on Steampunk fantasy? Thinly disguised caricatures of Doyle’s sleuthing duo appear as supporting cast in this second novel set in the Ile-Rien universe, though a century after the first installation. What if Moriarty and Holmes teamed up against an even bigger threat to peace and goodness? Darker than most of Well’s stories; I didn’t like it as much. Your mileage will vary.
“I’m sure of one thing. That ‘safe’ is not a state of being any of us are going to experience again until all this is over.”
Slow start as Wells builds her characters and setting, but everything then accelerates. Continue reading →
Book Review: “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay” by Alyssa Wong
“Bad things happens to men who marry the desert.”
Spoiler: Horror. Zombies. Shape-shifters. No, thank you. Can’t imagine why so much horror among 2017 Hugo Award finalists. This is a novelette.
“One time isn’t a pattern.”
Well-told from the point of view of the young shapeshifter. Good writing.
“Don’t pin your hopes on dreams.”
The cover art is of the magazine this appeared in, and has nothing to do with this story.
“Don’t do anything stupid.”
Book Review: The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
“Mankind didn’t make messes; mankind was the mess.”
Fantasy historical fiction. I wouldn’t have finished this once I realized what kind of story it was, but felt constrained to read it all if I was to vote on it for the 2017 Hugo Awards. Can’t conceive why it was nominated, much less became a finalist.
“He thought of himself as an entertainer. Others … called him a scammer, a swindler, a con, but he never thought of himself this way. No charlatan ever did.”
Good storytelling, good character development and good voice. Good sense of time and place, which gradually–then with increasing speed–veers into the horrible. Shifting away from the main character propels the story, but dilutes the impact. If this is set in the Lovecraft universe, LaValle has done me a favor by warning me away forever.
“Walking through Harlem first thing in the morning was like being a single drop of blood inside an enormous body that was waking up.”
I don’t normally post negative reviews, but I am reviewing all the 2017 Hugo novella finalists. Not fair to the others to pass over this one just because I don’t recommend anyone read it, let alone vote for it.
“There was more to this world than what we touch to taste or see. His time as a detective made him sure of this.”
Book Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
“The only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.”
What happened to Alice and Wendy after they returned from Wonderland and Neverland? What if all the Narnias and Fillories were real? What if there were so many worlds that their differing natures could be plotted along a graph with virtue–evil and logic–nonsense axes? What if the hundreds of children who had visited them lived among us? How would they live in the mundane world, knowing a magic kingdom still called? Such is the premise of Every Heart a Doorway.
“Now I know that if you open the right door at the right time, you might finally finds a place where you belong.”
Skip the “There Was a Little Girl” prologue and be drawn into a home for such disaffected children through the eyes of Continue reading →