Book Review: “Little Wren and the Big Forest” by Michael J. Sullivan
“That was the nature of the forest. Things went in and never came out.”
A brief excursion into the greater world of Sullivan’s First Empire. This short story appears in Unfettered II, but I got it separately, so I’m reviewing independently. Not up to the quality of most Sullivan fiction, but a fun read.
“Naive. Innocent. Dumb. Maybe, Wren thought as she followed the sheep, but I’m not a coward.”
A modern fairy tale heroine. Pretty introspective for an eight-year-old.
“The moment you thought of something terrible, that’s exactly what would happen.”
Book Review: The Story of Kao Yu by Peter S. Beagle
“Our bodies tell the truth, if our mouths do not.”
Well-written and interesting, but there’s no payoff. The story ended as the reader knew it must: a sad, true-to-life emptiness, but no pleasure.
“He is like a vase or a pot that has been shattered into small bits, and then restored, glued back together, fragment by fragment. It will look as good as new, if the work is done right, but you have to be careful with it. We will have to be careful.”
Fiction Review: “A Pest Most Fiendish” by Caighlan Smith
“You’re always in danger of losing your soul.”
A pleasant, self-contained bit of steam-punk fantasy, sort of. Not a waste of time.
“The cannon must simply always be.”
Movie Review: Borrowed Time by Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj
Incredible. An hour’s worth of narrative in a five-minute short.
This is story telling.
Fiction Review: The City Born Great by N. K. Jemisin
“Tears mean you’re alive.”
It’s got energy. It’s got street cred. But … I can take it or leave it. Really short, so I didn’t waste much time on it. Okay. Better than okay, but I guess you’ve got to be one with a city–any city, but preferably NYC. I’m not. Not into the profanity either, but that’s me.
“Any NYPD you can walk away from, hallelujah.”
Book Review: Orphan Pirates on the Spanish Main by Dennis Danvers
“Our parents were strange, out of step with their culture, and maybe they didn’t prepare us for life in the real world, but I’ve made my peace with them.”
A fun and funny fantasy (?) about life and love and parents. Short and pithy.
“I’ve come to believe all times are good times, each moment wondrous. Everything happens when it should. Even me and my big mouth.”
The coarse language is unnecessary. Lost a star for it.
Book Review: There Will Always be a Max by Michael R. Underwood
“In a world running on fumes, hope is priceless.”
A fun fragment of a Genrenauts story.
“But Maxes weren’t just guardians; they were inspiration. They called people to their better natures.”
Probably won’t make sense to those unfamiliar with Underwood’s story-mending series. Start with The Shootout Solution.
Book Review: Defending Elysium by Brandon Sanderson
Four Stars out of Five
“I might have been wrong … about everything.”
A 2008 science fiction novella. It opens like many SF stories, with the point of view character arriving at a remote space site on a mission. Before he can attend to business, events propel him in another direction.
Too bad the movie Elysium released after this tale. The similar names, referring to where dead heroes go in Virgil’s Aeneid, will confuse potential readers. This tale has nothing to do with the movie.
Cover Art Quibble: The events depicted have nothing to do with the story.
“Perhaps we can salvage something from paradise.”