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in libris

Read much. Talk little.

Currently reading

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. A: Middle Ages
Stephen Greenblatt, Alfred David, James Simpson, M.H. Abrams
Progress: 367/543 pages

A nice anthology

A Fantasy Medley 2 - Tanya Huff, Jasper Kent, Seanan McGuire, Yanni Kuznia, Amanda Downum

As my title suggests, I find this a nice anthology. It's not superb, it's better than mediocre, so for the general SF/F reader like me, it's a mildly entertaining diversion. All four of these stories are set in worlds that the authors have already written in, and I have read nothing previously from these worlds. Most of the time, this was not a problem, but there was nonetheless a learning curve for each of these novellas. The steepest is for the first story, by Tanya Huff (Quartered), but the story is by no means impenetrable -- if you pay close enough attention, you may find the political subtexts rather interesting. It's just that there's an intangible something missing from the story that I would have understood had I read Ms. Huff's series. Amanda Downum's story (Bone Garden) is a pretty exciting horror-lite thriller, written with a touch just fine enough and with just enough connective world-building tissue that any ingenue can enjoy it. Jasper Kent's story (The Sergeant and the General) is genuinely hair-raising and employs a certain kind of narrative trick that can't always work but does, stunningly, in Mr. Kent's hands. Anyone with an interest in history (especially of the Napoleonic Era -- here we feel the cold of the infamous winter invasion of Russia) will find this story more than accessible. The final story (Rat-Catcher), by Seanan McGuire, may be the weakest of the quartet, but this faerie romp in London/Londinium of 1666 (look up the date; it's pretty important) is at least a page-turner.