Posts Tagged ‘Short Fiction’

I’ve always loved Connie Willis. She’s the kind of writer who makes reading fun, whose stories engage her readers and really makes them think. Her stories are full of the whimsical, absurd, and humorous with endearing characters, clever prose, and witty dialogue. Connie’s collection of Christmas-themed short stories was first published in 2000, but lucky us, this year we get an updated and expanded edition in A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS. Connie writes Christmas with heart and delight, hope and joy, but still with her signature twisty elements that take you where you don’t expect–and to a better story. I love The Washington Post‘s quote from the flyer insert the publisher included: “A novelist who can plot like Agatha Christie and whose books possess a bounce and stylishness…” What better way to read about Christmas than with “bounce and stylishness” because that implies a joy for the process of telling a story.

All of the short stories are great because she’s not afraid to mix faith and science fiction, allowing religion center stage without forcing it on readers. Here are some of my favorites from the collection. (more…)

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Horror is a genre that I really don’t feel like I’ve been able to fully sink my teeth into yet. I’m really a fantasy guy at heart, with a science-fed brain at the helm, and a soul that can’t help but love a good story. So while I don’t typically go out searching for new horror, I love coming across a new piece of horrific something that just hits my emotional buttons the right way. Of the several anthologies that we received via Ellen Datlow recently, this was the one I was initially most excited to read, even though I recognized the fewest number of names among the authorial inclusions. Someday I’m going to get my name (or pseudonym) in one of these things. Can’t wait for the day. Until then, I’m sure there’ll be a steady stream of them coming from the likes of Datlow and others. Each of them trying to lead its readers down a path that they might otherwise not necessarily want to visit, but are overwhelmingly compelled to, nonetheless. Some will succeed in fabulous fashion. Others, not so much. Depends on which buttons you like to have pushed and how hard. This anthology had a handful of those for me. Not as many as I might have liked, true. But enough that I really enjoyed what I found.
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This one comes as yet another in a long line of short-story anthologies that have fallen into my lap. Most of the others up to this point have been fantastical (urban, heroic, horrific), but this one instead is of the science-fictiony variety. More specifically, it tries to deal with how humanity might change when, not if, interstellar travel becomes possible. Was hoping for some goodness out of this bunch of stories. Unfortunately, I didn’t find much.
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It feels like I’ve been reading a lot of short fiction lately. Well, more than usual anyhow. There’s something about the quick in and quick out that’s attracting me right now for some reason. Perhaps it’s because I’ve run into a dearth of new novels from my favorite authors and I need to find some new sources for brilliant storytelling. It’s kind of a disquieting feeling for me to not have something in my queue that I’m ridiculously excited to read. This anthology definitely fit the bill, and it was science fiction to boot, which is a genre I’m always looking to fill with new favorites. And this time around, I think I might have found one or two. Praise.
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The Monstrous

Posted: May 18, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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tm_ebrThere is a certain way that little old ladies look at you when they find you reading books with covers like this one. There were several times while reading the book, however, that not only did I catch some of those little-old-lady glances, but I caught myself looking at the book itself with what I imagine to be a very similar facial expression to those ladies. It’s been a while since I’ve come across quite so many great stories as those that have been contained in these horror anthologies compiled by Ellen Datlow. The best part is that I have one more of these beauties sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to sink my claws into it. And after this one, I can’t wait to do just that.
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Shadowed Souls

Posted: March 23, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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When I saw that this anthology had a new Dresden story in it, I snatched it up quick and then found myself regretting the decision. Because, you see, I’m kind of still catching up on that freaking amazing series, and it only took reading the blurb on the back of the book to determine that this story takes place at a point in time significantly later than my current location in the series. Had the story been by anyone other than Jim Butcher, I likely would have canned the project and either handed the book off to another reviewer or not read the story before reviewing it the anthology myself. But the thing is, The Dresden books have been absolutely genius to read, and even though I like the twists and turns and revelations in that series a ton, so much of the story comes by living it through the experience of reading. And so, already somewhat spoiled, I committed to reading the Dresden story with the understanding that getting from where I am in the series to where this story takes place was still going to be awesome-sauce fantastic. Oh, and there were some other stories in this book too. Even some really good ones. 🙂
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unrealandrealfound-and-the-lostThese two books are beautiful. Combined, they’re over 1500 pages of short fiction by the talented Ursula K. Le Guin. I admit up front I haven’t finished them both, it’s just too much to try to get done during this holiday season (because, let’s be honest, Le Guin should be savored), but I had to let you know about them in case you’re looking for a great gift for your SF-loving friends.

THE UNREAL AND THE REAL is a collection of “best of” short stories selected by the author, old and current. THE FOUND AND THE LOST is a collection of all of Le Guin’s novellas. (more…)