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austinchapman

in libris

Read much. Talk little.

Currently reading

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, September-October 2017
Tract Canfield, Eldar Zakirov, Edward M. Lerner, Jerry Oltion
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Eleven
Joe Abercrombie, N.K. Jemisin, Ken Liu, Jonathan Strahan
Progress: 384/507 pages
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.