Tag Archives: Tor.com

Short Fiction Friday: Two Tasty Selections from Tor.com

REVIEW SUMMARY: A brief glance at two recent stories acquired for Tor.com by award-winning editor Ellen Datlow.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Tight, imaginative prose; interesting blend of science fiction and fantasy; myth and mystery skillfully knit together; meaningful artwork accompanies each story.
CONS: One story may be too enigmatic to satisfy all readers.
BOTTOM LINE: Editor Ellen Datlow has acquired a couple of winners for Tor.com, a feat she seems to pull off with some regularity. One story weaves together old myth and contemporary mystery in a way that will draw the reader in while delivering a chill that is not simply the result of its winter setting. The other is a mix of science fiction and fantasy which examines the idea of multiple realities in a highly creative fashion. This second story is quite enigmatic, and yet it won over this reader who is often a curmudgeon when it comes to that type of storytelling.

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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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Short Fiction Friday: Recent Selections from Tor.com

REVIEW SUMMARY: To welcome November, Short Fiction Friday focuses on two of the latest free fiction selections from Tor.com.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SUMMARY: The two stories reviewed this week focus on two different stages in the lives of young girls, one that examines disappointment and regret over birthday wishes not granted and the other looks at an adolescent girl whose coming-of-age changes are reflected in a series of strange and unsettling events at her house by the sea.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Tight, solid prose; well-written female protagonists; seasonal sentiments are present in both stories with one having a nicely wicked thread of humor.
CONS: None for me folks, I liked these both very much.
BOTTOM LINE: These two October 2013 offerings from Tor.com provide two different emotional experiences for the reader: one is mysterious and creepy and has some nice depth to sink one’s teeth into in regards to discussion points, the other is wry and a bit twisted but also very sweet without resorting to saccharine sentiment.  The characters are easy to relate to and the prose is skillfully wrought.  Don’t miss these.

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Short Fiction Friday: Tor.com and More

REVIEW SUMMARY: Four short works pulled from various online and dead-tree formats, reviewed for your reading pleasure.

MY RATING: 

BRIEF SUMMARY: A mechanical woman; a man on fire; a savage adventurer and a man in search of such an adventurer are the protagonists in the works reviewed this week.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Two selections have the nostalgic feel of old pulp adventure stories; skillful wordplay; poetic imagery; pacing that makes you lean into the story.
CONS: One story takes a disappointing turn and feels like a cheat.
BOTTOM LINE: There is a lot to like in the stories this week.  The three works of fiction demonstrated that a short story, even when it has a definitive beginning, middle and end, can be the ideal springboard into a larger work while the poetic selection of Catherynne M. Valente shows that stories are not bound to a strictly prose format.   The lack of foreknowledge that one short story is actually a piece of a larger created universe leads to some bitter disappointment, especially when contrasted to another story which is up front about a similar status right from the beginning.

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Short Fiction Friday: Tor Shorts

REVIEW SUMMARY: A look the most recent short fiction selections at Tor.com, acquired and edited by multiple award winning editor Ellen Datlow.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SUMMARY: A single woman and her dog attempt to make a new start in hostile mountain country and Emily Dickinson meets a familiar apparition and must use the power of words to put a young boy’s existence to rights.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Novelette length allows for stories that feel fully formed; a nice touch of mystery in each tale; strong first person points of view; further evidence that Ellen Datlow knows a good story when she reads one.
CONS: The story featuring Emily Dickinson would have more impact with a rudimentary knowledge of her life and work.  Magic realism is not everyone’s cup of tea.
BOTTOM LINE: I’ve long respected the work of Ellen Datlow.  The efforts she has made along with Terri Windling and others to keep mythic fiction in short and long form in the eyes of the reading public is to be much praised…and thankfully has been.  These latest stories were acquired for Tor.com by Ellen Datlow and have her editor’s touch as well.  Each are well-structured and interesting tales with strong female protagonists each of whom has a voice that engages the reader.  Both stories are long enough to give the reader the experience of having read something with a definitive beginning, middle and end but are short enough to enjoy over lunch or anytime one has a few extra minutes to spare to read.

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