November has been a shitty month. October was the busiest month of the year for us. If my husband I weren’t at work we at the doctor office, or with family who were in the doctor’s office, or taking care of bank paperwork… etc. I’m surprised our cats still know who we are. November then rolled around and we were pumped ‘Yay! Election can be over and busy can be over!’. Oh man, we were stupid. The election did end (in the worst possible way), and busy has continued with health issues ongoing for myself and my father in law. So I at this point I’m happy to make it to the end of the weekend each week.
Probably one of the highlights of the past two months is my discovery of the Kindle Cloud Reader. It’s about the best damn thing Amazon ever did. It’s a Kindle reader in your browser. It’s seamless and perfect and I love it so much. It’s also been the one thing saving me from madness at work. My reading outside the Cloud Reader is not great but I have been eating through some short fiction lately. Some really, really good short fiction.
I started The Litany of Earth by Ruthanna Emrys because I was sent a copy of Winter Tide for review (my review of it should be out closer to release date) and spied this gem in the Tor short story collection. It took 32 pages and I was completely smitten. I loved the other worldliness of it, the writing style, and the take on tired Lovecraft. I’ll be the first to tip my hat to how HP Lovecraft changed and contributed to the horror genre, but honestly he was a terrible person with terrible views. Ruthanna takes it in a new direction, and I loved it. I cannot wait to get into Winter Tide, this short story has me so hyped.
The same day I had to have more and I spotted the news that Alyssa Wong’s Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers had won the Nebula for Short Fiction. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about my love for Alyssa Wong on this blog before (she’s precious and full of dark terrors), so this isn’t a surprise but I loved this as well. She has a way of making the evil and darkness of the story so… seductive and beautiful. It’s something I’ve never quite experienced to that level. I’ve heard people say that about some things ‘it’s beautiful but so evil/wrong/disturbing’. This was that sentiment made true. Amazing, amazing work. There is a good damn reason it won that Nebula.
Soon after I finally got to Scarecrow and Auntie both also by Alyssa Wong. Auntie was very cute, and still had that ‘wtf is happening’ touch to it that a lot of Alyssa’s work does. I recommend it for her fans and if you’re just looking for something cute that might make you giggle. Scarecrow was a different story though. This was a sticker. It was sad, disturbing, and moving. It’s so hard to describe Alyssa Wong’s work any other way! It takes the feeling of loss, especially loss of this type and in this situation and really gives it a proper voice and imagery. I almost wanted the story of the before, but at the same time I didn’t. It was contained so perfectly in itself that I didn’t actually need it.
Finally I picked up Lullaby for a Lost World by Aliette de Bodard. I was clearly dying for as much horror as I could shove into my face. This book, though it has some touches of horror, I don’t think I could call straight horror. It’s dark and twisted and takes the ‘maiden sacrifice’ story and gives it a proper revenge. I was cheering so hard for Charlotte, and I was angry for her. It takes the anger of years of ‘sacrficed for the good of this terrible trope’ and rips it to shreds. Tells it no. It’s also written in second person, just like Scarecrow, and it’s done SO WELL. I’m coming to the realization that second person is a fantastic PoV for a short format works. It’s so gripping, I really digging it lately.
So that’s it so far on short fiction. I’ll have some longer novel length reviews coming and some NetGalley reviews closer to their release date!