Howling mad

Full Moon CityFull Moon City by Martin H. Greenberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“The children of the night. What music they make.“

“I Was a Middle-Age Werewolf”, Ron Goulart, ★★★★★
Hollywood. My kind of humour. Funny. I am envisioning Michael Douglas in the lead and Alan Arkin as Hersh, aka The Kominsky Method with werewolves.

“Kitty Learns the Ropes”, Carrie Vaughn, ★★★★☆
This story is most likely the reason I got this anthology five years ago. Well, Carrie Vaughn can write, she‘s proven that often enough. This was easy to read , especially because I have read the whole Kitty Norville series and it‘s one of my favourite UF series. Maybe it is time for a re-read.

“The Bitch”, P. D. Cacek, ★★★★☆
Story about a bothersome and creepy ex-lover. Oh, that was unexpected! How fun! I am a big fan of doing something differently and this surprised me. Checked out the author, did not see anything that grabbed me.

“La Lune T’attend”, Peter S. Beagle, ★★★★☆
Good world-building and character development. I liked the setting. It felt like a much longer story through what it conveyed. Sad, but powerful ending.

“The Aarne-Thompson Classification Revue “, Holly Black, ★★★★☆
Third person present tense, urgh. I don‘t like it. Never mind. We are auditioning for a musical!

“Being a werewolf is like being Clark Kent, except that when you go into the phone booth, you can‘t control what comes out.“

Sweet, a little sad, made me smile. What a werewolf girl wants. Good! Checked out the author, all YA—not my genre…

“Kvetchula’s Daughter”, Darrell Schweitzer, ★★★¾☆
Jiddish vampires in New York. Lots of kvetching. Mildly amusing. Where are the werewolves, you ask? Oy vey.

“The Bank Job”, Gregory Frost, ★★★¾☆
Well-written, good story. Good pacing, nice level of suspense. Fairly predictable. Will check out the author.

“A Most Unusual Greyhound”, a Harry the Book Story, Mike Resnick, ★★★½☆
Amusing. What is a werewolf to do to make some money? Slightly odd tense and grammar in general. Possibly on purpose, but it threw me off.

“Sea Warg”, Tanith Lee, ★★★☆☆
“Now the boats put off from the west end of Sandbourne, or at least they did so when the rest of Europe allowed it.“
What did we do? Did Brexit start in 2010 and I missed it?”

I could swear I read some novels written by her, but for the life of me can‘t recall their titles or plot. I only found a short story collection I DNFd.

Hm, interesting. Hadn‘t expected that ending. Well, that was mean. And Johnson is a very creepy character.

“And Bob’s Your Uncle”, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, ★★★☆☆
Sad boy meets mysterious, but cute black dog. Promising beginning, but didn‘t turn into much.

“The Truth About Werewolves”, Lisa Tuttle, ★★¾☆☆
Unusual take on werewolves. I disliked the female MC for her dishonesty. She felt like a hypocrite to me, especially after disrespecting the Chihuahua woman for „shopping“ and then doing the exact same thing.

“Weredog of Bucharest”, Ian Watson, ★★☆☆☆
A murder investigation and a crime writer observing. Ponderous, overly explanatory, superfluous details. The author seemed very eager to show us little details of Romanian life, perhaps trying to create atmosphere? Unsatisfying, with a lame ending.

“Innocent”, Gene Wolfe, ★☆☆☆☆
Weird. Guy in prison tells a priest about his life. The story only consists of his side of a dialogue.

“No Children, No Pets”, Esther M. Friesner, ★☆☆☆☆
Another odd one, about a werewolf child of six living in Central Park. Humorous writing, I suppose. Not my thing.

“Country Mothers’ Sons”, Holly Phillips, ★☆☆☆☆
When I started, the slow moving, very descriptive prose had me interested. It never went anywhere though and I lost that little spark. Suggestive, but ultimately pointless.

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March Final Frontier update

The Final FrontierThe Final Frontier by Neil Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I will be reading one story per week. If all goes as planned, there will be updates every Sunday until July…

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THE VOYAGE OUT, GWYNETH JONES, ~18 p. (Tot. 222 p., 37%), ★★★¾☆
“Do you want to dream?”

Wow, that was really depressing! A not-so-far-away, digitally transformed future without civil rights or liberties. A set of condemned criminals (to that system, not ours just yet) preparing for their final voyage. Really, really depressing. But cool as well. Wouldn‘t have minded to find out how they fared after their voyage out.

Part of the White Queen books by the author: https://www.goodreads.com/series/5595…

Also part of this quartet of stories: https://aqueductpress.blogspot.com/20…
The author‘s recap of this particular short story made me laugh. Love the Gruffaloes.

http://www.gwynethjones.uk

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DIVING INTO THE WRECK, KRISTINE KATHRYN RUSCH, ~54 p., ★★★★☆

“We approach the wreck in stealth mode: lights and communications array off, sensors on alert for any other working ship in the vicinity.“

„We don’t face water here—we don’t have its weight or its unusual properties, particularly at huge depths. We have other elements to concern us: No gravity, no oxygen, extreme cold.
And greed.“

I love the wreck diving analogy, aka comparison to scuba diving. Greed is a recurring theme in this story. They find something in this wreck. Is it worth the risk?

“The award-winning “Diving into the Wreck” novella marked the first step in a large journey for New York Times bestselling writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch.“
I will certainly look more closely at this author. This was fun to read. Although I find it hard to believe that they haven‘t managed to develop snag-proof fabric that far into the future.

This made me think of The Expanse. Hard hitting, unforgiving space. And Event Horizon. Creepiness in space.

There is a 300+ pages long book by the author by the same name, so I assume this might be a novella that was expanded into said novel. Just a guess.

http://kriswrites.com
http://divingintothewreck.com

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THE DEEPS OF THE SKY, ELIZABETH BEAR, ~12 p., ★★★★☆
“Stormchases’ little skiff skipped and glided across the tropopause, skimming the denser atmosphere of the warm cloud-sea beneath, running before a fierce wind.“

Beautifully imaginative world. Sky-mining storms in a gas giant. Aliens dropping in.
2013 Locus award finalist.

Can be read for free here: https://io9.gizmodo.com/sky-mining-is…
or here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/bear_…

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THREE BODIES AT MITANNI, SETH DICKINSON, ~18 p., ★★½☆☆
The ideas behind the story are interesting. I just didn‘t like the execution. Too abstract, too talkative, too little doing for my taste. But the central theme of the story is something you could debate hotly for hours. Uploaded consciousness, curtailed consciousness, colonization, expansion.

Originally appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact issue 06|15

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SLOW LIFE, MICHAEL SWANWICK, ~18 p., ★★★★☆
“It was the Second Age of Space. Gagarin, Shepard, Glenn, and Armstrong were all dead. It was our turn to make history now.” –The Memoirs of Lizzie O’Brien

I really liked this. I was immediately deeply immersed in the story and identified with Lizzie from the first moment. Great, vivid descriptions of Titan. Loved the concept and have to leave it at that, as I don‘t want to give anything away. The ending felt a little abrupt.

Can be read for free here: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic…
Reading the author spotlight, that goes with this novelette, was fun as well: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/non…

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SHIVA IN SHADOW, NANCY KRESS, ~48 p., ★★★★☆
… much of her work, concerns genetic engineering.

In this case we have a similar topic with a different premise—uploaded consciousness… And how we communicate with each other. What makes us tick, what causes us to behave differently, where do we divert from the path and why. The story was well told with a great plot twist that caught me by surprise. Sad and bittersweet ending.

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RESCUE MISSION, JACK SKILLINGSTEAD, ~12 p., ★★★☆☆
“Michael Pennington floated in Mona’s amniotic chamber, fully immersed, naked and erect, zened out. The cortical cable looped lazily around him. Womb Hole traveling.“

The beginning sounded pretty exciting. Pilot with body modifications (gills!!!), merged to his ship. Assuming that Mona is his ship… There are hints to pilot-ship personal dynamics that are not really elaborated upon. The romance/personal relationship wasn‘t really there. The story was ok, but it didn’t explore anything deep enough or to a satisfying level.

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MONO NO AWARE, KEN LIU , ~18 p., ★★★★★½
“The world is shaped like the kanji for “umbrella,” only written so poorly, like my handwriting, that all the parts are out of proportion.“

“At the end of the cable hangs the heart of the Hopeful, the habitat module, a five-hundred-meter-tall cylinder into which all the 1,021 inhabitants of the world are packed.“

It‘s the end of the world as we know it and the survivors are on a generation ship. This story is about how they got there and what happens next.

Wow, beautiful story. I cried. The story is very much about the needs of the many, the few and the one. Fascinating, Mr. Spock! What makes a hero? A great look at the differing views of East and West, a holistic understanding of the world and the many, juxtaposed to that one hero.

– 2013 Hugo Award for Best Short Story, winner
– 2013 FantLab’s Book of the Year Award for best Translated Novella or Short Story, winner
– 2013 Locus Award for Best Short Story, finalist
– 2013 Theodore Sturgeon Award, finalist

Story can be read for free here: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic…

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A JAR OF GOODWILL, TOBIAS S. BUCKELL, ~ 24 p., ★★★★☆
“You keep a low profile when you’re in oxygen debt.“
A world where aliens have patented pretty much everything. Think Monsanto in space. Great imagery. I would like to find out more about this world and its inhabitants. A short story with potential for more. I am intrigued by the Compact and the concept of Friends. I wouldn‘t mind to read more stories set in this world or by the author.

The story can be read for free on Clarkesworld where it was published originally: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/bucke…

I just found this info online:
“As of September 2011, Buckell is working on a stand-alone novel titled Infringement, adapted from his short story “A Jar of Goodwill,” which was originally published in Clarkesworld. The novel will be published by Tor, sometime after the independent release of Apocalypse Ocean.“

The info comes from this interview: https://web.archive.org/web/201204280…

I looked around and could not find a book by this name, so I guess he hasn‘t written it yet.

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Magical

The Paper Menagerie and Other StoriesThe Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here are the stories of this anthology that I have read so far. I might get back to this again at a later date.
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The Paper Menagerie, ~ 11 p., ★★★★★
“A little paper tiger stood on the table, the size of two fists placed together. The skin of the tiger was the pattern on the wrapping paper, white background with red candy canes and green Christmas trees.“

Lovely, truly lovely. And terribly bittersweet and sad.

Can be read for free here: https://io9.gizmodo.com/read-ken-lius…

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The Litigation Master and The Monkey King, ~18 p., ★★★½
The tiny cottage at the edge of Sanli Village—away from the villagers’ noisy houses and busy clan shrines and next to the cool pond filled with lily pads, pink lotus flowers, and playful carp—would have made an ideal romantic summer hideaway for some dissolute poet and his silk-robed mistress from nearby bustling Yangzhou.

I liked it, it did not move me much though. I am not sure why it was a Nebula Award Nominee in 2013. However, I did like the context given in the author‘s note at the end.

Can be read for free here: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic…

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Read in a different anthology, The Final Frontier:

MONO NO AWARE , ~18 p., ★★★★★½
“The world is shaped like the kanji for “umbrella,” only written so poorly, like my handwriting, that all the parts are out of proportion.“

“At the end of the cable hangs the heart of the Hopeful, the habitat module, a five-hundred-meter-tall cylinder into which all the 1,021 inhabitants of the world are packed.“

It‘s the end of the world as we know it and the survivors are on a generation ship. This story is about how they got there and what happens next.

Wow, beautiful story. I cried. The story is very much about the needs of the many, the few and the one. Fascinating, Mr. Spock! What makes a hero? A great look at the differing views of East and West, a holistic understanding of the world and the many, juxtaposed to that one hero.

Story can be read for free here: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic…
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P.S.: Funnily enough, I did not finish The Grace of Kings in 2016. It moved too slowly for me, I found it too dry and it lacked any meaningful female characters.

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