Tag Archives: fantasy

Icefalcon’s Quest by Barbara Hambly

I’m a little late posting because I just didn’t have the energy to do a blog post last night. I’m rehearsing for a new play, and had a late rehearsal last night. By the time I got home, I just couldn’t muster the energy to get a book review written up. But, I’ve got time and energy now. I’m writing up an old book review. Apparently, I picked this book up at the library’s book sale. I read a lot of Hambly as a kid (my aunt, whose science fiction and fantasy collection I frequently browsed, had several of her books) and figured it would be a safe and enjoyable read.

Published: 1998

Genre: fantasy

Length: 368 pages Continue reading

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Short stories by Bogi Takacs

These stories were included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology.

Recordings of a More Personal Nature

Published: November 2013 in Apex Magazine

Genre: fantasy

Setting: the Temple of some other world

Summary: Access to the Archives has suddenly become difficult. This is causing problems in completing administrative and political tasks. Archivists like Idriwu, who grew up accessing the Archives and therefore have part of their personalities within the Archive, are distraught to lose the connection. Even with aides (like drugs), access is becoming more difficult. Idriwu comes up with the idea of writing down the Archives so the information is still available when access to the Archives ends.

Final thoughts: An interesting concept that the culture would never have developed writing because they have perfect oral transmission of information via the Archive and the archivists. It certainly gives members of the Temple power, but no more than would be obtained if those were the only people who could read and write. I can’t believe any one person would be able to come up with a system of writing in a short time period, even starting with some rudimentary signs.

Title comes from: The assistant to Idriwu made the argument that the archivists should be allowed to make written recordings of their lives spent in the Archive as well as matters of state and history.

Mouse Choirs of the Old Matra

Published: July 2013 in Demeter’s Spicebox

Genre: fairy tale

Setting: the island plains in a distant past

Summary: A wise wizard who lives on the island plains makes friends with a mouse one day. When he feeds the mouse, she turns into a young maiden. The maiden decides to live with the wizard and they spend many happy days together. One day, the maiden decides she wants to marry, but only the best of the best. So, the wizard climbs on his trusty steed and looks to find the best of the best.

Final thoughts: This was a sweet story that followed a very traditional arc. I wasn’t surprised at any point in the story, which made it feel like I’d read it before, or at least something very similar.

Title comes from: When the maiden married, the mouse choirs sang for days under the mountain called Old Matra.

 

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Sabriel by Garth Nix

I saw this book listed a couple of years ago on a post from The Hub about strong female protagonists. I had actually requested it from the library in November for my N author last year, but it didn’t make it through the system until January. Now, instead of filling in that N author nearly last, I’ll get it nearly first!

Published: 1995

Genre: YA fantasy

Length: 311 pages

Setting: various locations in the Old Kingdom and near the Wall in Ancelstierre, 1940s technology level Continue reading

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Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

This is the first book in the Eternal Sky trilogy that Tor provided for free as part of their ebook club. I was in the mood for some science fiction or fantasy, and decided to read this after reading Skin in the Game recently.

Published: 2012

Genre: fantasy

Length: 334 pages

Setting: it felt like central Asia (Turkey to Mongolia-ish), under the Eternal Sky Continue reading

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Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

This book is mentioned often as a great book for kids and a great read aloud. I’ve never read it, so I decided to introduce myself and the kids to it by turning it into our family read aloud.

Published: 1975

Genre: middle grade realistic fantasy/intrusive fantasy

Length: 139 pages

Setting: Treegap, in a Southern state, late 1800s Continue reading

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Erzulie Dantor by Tim Susman

I’m continuing to work my way through the 2014 Campbellian Anthology.

Published: November 2012 in Apex Magazine

Genre: fantastical

Length: 7 pages

Setting: Bas-Le-Fond, Haiti, just after the big earthquake that leveled much of the country

Summary: Sirene has decided to use the earthquake as an excuse to eliminate her sister, Maisie, and get her house and wealth. Sirene fakes that a je-rouge controlled by Maisie tried to take her baby. She and her husband convince the neighbors that Maisie is evil and should be hanged that night. But, when Sirene and her man move into Maisie’s house, her baby is tempted away from her by a supernatural being and the house collapses around them.

Final thoughts: Interesting since this used Haitian stories as the backbone. It’s basically a story of karma, but the underlying mythology was unknown to me, so I found it very interesting. I also found it interesting that Erzulie Dantor saved the innocent baby before the house fell around Sirene and her husband. The husband had reservations about the plan, but ultimately went through with it and paid the ultimate price.

Title comes from: Erzulie Dantor is a Haitian Vodou spirit often associated with motherhood (at least according to the Wikipedia page). She convinces Sirene her baby is in danger and Sirene should give him to her, just before the house falls on Sirene.

 

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Short Stories by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

Monday’s short fiction is from the 2014 Campbellian Anthology, as I slowly make my way through the alphabet.

The Wanderers

Published: February 2013 in Clarkesworld

Genre: science fiction

Length: 8 pages

Setting: a future Earth

Summary: Aliens come to Earth after watching our entertainment. They know we’ll appreciate their ability to dominate and torture, based on all the movies they’ve watched. We’re doing a great job of hiding from them (as piles of ash that only one of the aliens realizes used to be people), but that just means Earth was the perfect place for them to come. They needed a challenge, after all, and their own subjects were boring and died without trying to fight back.

Final thoughts: This one was creepy. We’ve got aliens that think humanity likes torture and violence and horror, since that’s what our entertainment was all about. Of course, be careful around the cars. They must be weapons since they’re always exploding when they crash, which doesn’t match the physics of what should happen. The aliens kept making reference to classic movies that fit the situation (“…more like The Road or I Am Legend, only not like those at all because there was not even one of you left and no monsters in the shadows”). Turns out we killed all of humanity before the aliens could come and do it for us, and the aliens don’t realize it yet.

Title comes from: the aliens were the wanderers, looking for a good planet to inhabit and dominate

The Siren

Published: April 2013 in Strange Horizons; there’s also a podcast of the story

Genre: fantasy

Length: 12 pages

Setting: it felt like suburban California, present day

Summary: Mina shows up one day at Jen’s house. Her mom met her in Greece and invited her home. There’s something odd about her, starting with the bones poking through at her shoulder blades and continuing with the song she sings whenever she’s near the water. Turns out she’s a siren and, although not actively trying to harm Jen and her mother, her song drives them to nearly drowning. Jen decides to help Mina by crafting new wings for her, which sends her to a career of sculpting.

Final thoughts: While not as creepy as the previous story, this one was still quite depressing. None of the characters were particularly happy with their lives. Jen seemed to help the most – the wings she made for Mina did improve her life, and eventually her mom got over her dad’s death. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as The Wanderers.

Title comes from: Mina was a siren.

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