Tag Archives: fantasy

Short Stories by John Zaharick

This is the last group of stories from the 2014 Campbellian Anthology. It’s only taken me three years to finish – so I’m a slow short story reader.

Dysmorphic

Published: April, 2013 in AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review

Genre: science fiction

Setting: Earth, near future

Summary: Lisa is a sensory network array controller. She feels much more comfortable controlling the robot arrays than in her own skin. She finally feels comfortable in her body after returning her consciousness from an array in the Gulf of Mexico.

Final thoughts: I feel like I’m missing something in this story. We get flashbacks of Lisa’s life and how uncomfortable she is in her skin and then suddenly, she’s fine? What was so special about that particular assignment that allowed her to slip back into her skin and be happy in it for the first time ever? I don’t know, so I end the story unsatisfied.

Title comes from: The narrator was unhappy with her body shape, and the author used the term dysmorphic to describe her state of mind.

Ghost Gardening

Published: January, 2013 in Lost and Lonely

Genre: fantasy

Setting: generic location (felt like the U.S. but not really specific), present day

Summary: Our narrator plays a game with their significant other – find the strangest book you can in a used bookstore and buy it for your partner. They’ve found the best one yet – A Guide to Ghost Gardening. Alternating with snippets from the book, we learn the partner has died and the narrator has had a hard time getting over that death.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed the contrast of the crazy gardening book (if you’re trying to make a ghost garden, you need to get the proper energies in the ground to attract ghostly elements) with the more mundane reminisces of the narrator. For a bit, the narrator seems to have found a haunted house with a ghost garden already in existence (there are salamanders everywhere), but then they move on.

One interesting point I only noticed as I started writing up the review was the gender of the narrator and their partner is never mentioned. I read it as having a female narrator, but I think that’s only because I am female. I wonder if it would feel male to a male reader?

Title comes from: The title of the strange book the narrator found and was excerpted throughout the story.

 

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Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce

This is the second book in the Immortals series, that started with Wild Magic. Miss Adventure downloaded the audiobook and played it for me on the way to gymnastics practices. I ended up finishing it on my own.

Published: 1994

Genre: YA fantasy

Length: 182 pages

Setting: the province of Dunlath within Tortall, soon after the events of Wild Magic Continue reading

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The Penitent Damned by Django Wexler

This is the next story included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology. There’s only one author left to read on the anthology. Luckily, I found a 2017 collection of authors eligible for the 2017 Campbell Award for New Writers. It’s only available until July 17, 2017, so download it today if you’re interested.

Published: June, 2013 on io9, and you can also find it on Amazon

Genre: fantasy

Length: 20 pages

Setting: Vordan, a fantastical, medieval-style city Continue reading

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What I Will Be Reading #31: from the Modern Mrs. Darcy

Between listening to What Should I Read Next and reading Modern Mrs. Darcy’s blog, I could keep my to-be-read list in an ever-growing state of wishing for more time. I’ll share a few of the books I’ve recently been interested in from her site.

I try not to add every book I hear Anne describe on her podcast, but she’s great at making books sound interesting. For the one-year anniversary (episode 62), Anne gathered suggestions from the listeners of what she should read next. I thought several of the books sounded good, including: Continue reading

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

This is a book Cath from Fangirl refers to as her favorite series. It may be the book Cath is writing, or it may be canon from the series, but ultimately, it’s Rowell’s take on the characters Cath obsesses over in Fangirl.

Published: 2015

Genre: YA urban fantasy

Length: 522 pages

Setting: mostly in and around the Watford school for Magicians in England, present day Continue reading

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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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