Short Fiction Friday: New Fiction from Tor.com

REVIEW SUMMARY: Two short tales from Tor.com touched with a seasonal chill.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SUMMARY: A deeper imagining of a familiar heroic tale and a glimpse of psychological interrogation in an alternate, magical-filled Europe make up the latest free fiction offerings on the Tor.com website.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Lyrical prose; storytelling that evokes the mood of Autumn-Winter transition; tight narrative structure.
CONS: I tried folks, I really did…nothing leaps to mind.
BOTTOM LINE: Fantasy with a hint of folklore, when done well, can create a rich sense of history, a texture that makes a story more than the sum of its parts.  Both of the recent selections from Tor.com showcase talented writers mining familiar territory to craft memorable stories.

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REVIEW: Dancing With Bears by Michael Swanwick

REVIEW SUMMARY: A rollicking, weird ride through a vibrant, post-apocalyptic world.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Darger and Surplus are con-men following rumors of a secret library. Their plans hit a few snags, and they end up caught in a vast conspiracy of mad straniks, Russian aristocrazy and human-hating android relics.

PROS: The writing is brilliant; the text has a distinctly Russian flavor, without being colloquial; the setting is one-of-a-kind; tropes are skewered left and right.
CONS: It is intense and decidedly weird; if you like traditional SF, this book is not for you; an erotic scene between a genetically-modified dogman and an engineered human that provokes…some uncertainty.
BOTTOM LINE: This is a love-it-or-hate-it book, the literary equivalent of Turkish coffee: intense, rich and complex.
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This past weekend, several speculative fiction luminaries gathered for An Evening in Honor of Gene Wolfe, a night to honor the man himself. I wish I could have been there, but since I couldn’t be, this video of the festivities, taken by William Shunn, will have to suffice.

It’s a fun game of Count the Authors!

[via Michael Swanwick, another Merry-go-roundabout! Read his writeup of the event here.]

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