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Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness (英語) ペーパーバック – 2008/7/30
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You hold in your hands a cornucopia of modern cutting-edge fantasy.
The first volume of this extraordinary new annual anthology series of fantastic literature explodes on the scene 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 delectable 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.
Introducing CLOCKWORK PHOENIX.
"Author and editor Allen ("Mythic") has compiled a neatly packaged set of short stories that flow cleverly and seamlessly from one inspiration to another.... Lush descriptions and exotic imagery startle, engross, chill and electrify the reader, and all 19 stories have a strong and delicious taste of weird."
-- "Publishers Weekly"
Mike Allen is Professor in the Department of Communication at UW-Milwaukee. Mike received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University, his MA from the University of Wyoming, and his BA from Lewis and Clark College. His primary research interest is in the area of social influence in which he has more than 150 published works. The International Communication Association awarded him the John E. Hunter memorial award for life time achievement in communication research using meta-analysis. He is past editor of Communication Studies and current editor of "Communication Monographs".
Leah Bobet's "Bell, Book and Candle", about three people who are tied into a rite, and who do not particularly enjoy this;
Vandana Singh's "Oblivion: A Journey", about a person pursuing revenge across a future heavily informed by Indian mythology, mapping their journey to that of Ram in the Ramayan;
Joanna Galbraith's "The Moon-Keeper's Friend", about a café owner who protects the moon;
Michael J DeLuca's "The Tarrying Messenger", which is about what it means to tarry, and to deliver a message;
and Cat Rambo's "The Dew Drop Coffee Lounge" and Catherynne M Valente's "The City of Blind Delight". I rather liked most of the others, such as those by David Sandner, Marie Brennan, Deborah Biancotti, Ekaterina Sedia and Jennifer Crow.
Very few anthologies have a success rate this high.
One thing I particularly liked about it is the diversity of influences. These stories are not all about North America and Western Europe, and the anthology is considerably strengthened by this fact.
There were some stories I liked less. Rape as a plot device pretty much immediately turns me off a story, and the instance in this anthology was no exception. Tanith Lee's had some distractingly hilarious sexual euphemisms, and the rest of the story didn't particularly engage. Two others were just boring. But I think most of my complaints lie closer to personal preference than indicating weakness with the story; overall, I really enjoyed this anthology, and I recommend it to readers of unusual fantasy.
I suspect that every person who reviews this will pick different stories as their favorites. I loved Cat Rambo's "The Dew Drop Coffee Lounge," the story of a place where assignations go awry, and how the universe seeks to ease the pain of broken dreams. Joanna Galbraith's "The Moon-Keeper's Friend" is a charming tale of two friends that brings the fantastic (and the moon) within man's reach. And Catherynne M. Valente's "The City of Blind Delight" mesemerized me with its lush imagery and fascinating possibilities.
If you're looking for well-written and thought-provoking stories, this is a wonderful place to start.