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Clockwork Phoenix 3: New Tales of Beauty and Strangeness (英語) ペーパーバック – 2010/7/30
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"Allen's third volume of extraordinary short stories reaches new heights of rarity and wonder . . . Without a wrong note, all the stories in this anthology admirably fulfill Allen's promise of 'beauty and strangeness.'"
-- Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Story cavorts with style.
The result is a cornucopia of modern cutting-edge fantasy.
The third volume of this extraordinary annual anthology series of fantastic literature dares to surpass the first two, with works that sidestep expectations in beautiful and unsettling ways, that surprise with their settings and startle with the manner in which they cross genre boundaries, that aren't afraid to experiment with storytelling techniques, and yet seamlessly blend form with meaningful function. The effervescent offerings found within these pages come from some of today's most distinguished contemporary fantasists and brilliant rising newcomers.
Whether it's a touch of literary erudition, playful whimsy, extravagant style, or mind-blowing philosophical speculation and insight, the reader will be led into unfamiliar territory, there to find shock and delight.
Presenting Clockwork Phoenix 3.
Includes stories by Marie Brennan, Tori Truslow, Georgina Bruce, Michael M. Jones, Gemma Files, Shweta Narayan, Cat Rambo, Nicole Kornher-Stace, C.S.E. Cooney, S.J. Hirons, Gregory Frost, Kenneth Schneyer, John C. Wright, John Grant, and Tanith Lee.
"Tomorrow Is Saint Valentine's Day" by Tori Truslow is about merpeople who live on the moon, "the moist star," and a researcher who goes to live among them. The ending last two sentences were like a silent thunderclap that changed my perpective on it all, and I immediately had to go back and re-read the story. (Same with "Fold.") It's told in a scholarly voice and dense albeit beautiful prose, and on the first reading I didn't get it.
"Crow Voodoo" by Georgina Bruce is an almost painful, piercing tale about a crow who peddles magic to a desperate young woman.
"Braiding the Ghosts" by C.S.E. Cooney is about a girl whose grandmother teaches her how to enslave ghosts.
"Lineage" by Kenneth Schneyer was a surprise favorite, about interconnected historic scenes where, in extreme circumstances, people act strange, almost possessed. You think you know what's happening, and then the last sentence puts a cherry on top. I near teared up.
"Eyes of Carven Emerald" by Shweta Narayan is a retelling of Alexander the Great's story. I hated seeing this one end, although one of the longer stories at 23 pages, and wanted to see it go on much longer. I'd love to see a novel version.
"To Seek Her Fortune" by Nicole Kornher-Stace reads like another a mini-novel, about a Lady Explorer on a flying sentient ship, obsessed with visiting psychics and mystics to find an answer to a critical question.
"Fold" by Tanith Lee - about a man who lives in a tower and spends his days gazing at the people on the street below, falling passionately in love with them and sending them love letters on paper airplanes. This is the last story of the volume and the perfect closing piece. Loved it, had to immediately read it again.
"Surrogates" by Cat Rambo was also good, as was "Lucyana's Gaze" by Gregory Frost (very good in fact, but too mundane for my tastes - not enough fantasy elements, and the subject matter was too heavy). My favorites are Tanith Lee and Shweta Narayan and Kenneth Schneyer and...
In conclusion, if you're going to read one short story collection this year, this is it. These stories are dark, strange, beautiful, sad, joyous, moving, fresh and original. An exceptional book.