Thursday, April 18, 2013

Naked City edited by Ellen Datlow

Finished! Finally...

Overall, not bad. A few stories were nice, a few were good enough that I will add those authors to my find-something-else-by-them list, and many were just "meh" - passable reading, but nothing to write home about.

I really enjoyed "Noble Rot" by Holly Black and "King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree" by Elizabeth Bear. I'd never read anything by these ladies before, and both had a wonderful way of telling her tale.

Only other honorable mention is "Underbridge" by Peter S. Beagle; he's got a character a character Cut'n-Shoot, who supposedly got the moniker from a Texas town. This is completely true, as I used to have to drive thru Cut and Shoot, TX to get to my parents' place when they lived just outside of Houston. It's a tiny town (Wikipedia says it's only 2.7 square miles, and that sounds about right), the sort that has one stoplight and one bar. And the parking lot of said bar is full of pretty much nothing but pickup trucks, and almost all of them have gun racks in the back window. Yes, there were always guns in the racks. While I'm sure the people of Cut and Shoot are nice enough folk, I tried to make sure that I drove through during the day, dusk at the latest.

As for the head-scratchers, there were a few of those, too. I liked "The Colliers' Venus (1893)" by Caitlin R. Kiernan well enough at first glance, but then it veered off into her usual "what's going on here?" territory. Le sigh. "The Skinny Girl" by Lucius Shepard was in the same vein: seemed pretty decent at first, but by the end, I wasn't really sure what happened.

Why do I pick up this sort of book, when it's obvious that I don't always like the stories? Well, because they are stories; it's a nice way to find a new author (I think it's really hard to write short stories, so if one comes off well, I know that writer's got some chops) and it's something that's easy to read at night - no getting so caught up in the story that I might end up sacrificing sleep to finish up.

No comments: