Through the hustle and bustle of school, trying to fire off stories to markets, and eeking out some new stuff, I’ve been reading like I haven’t been in awhile. I’ve actually read quite a bit since my last set of reviews, but I haven’t had the brainspace to sit and give more than a passing thought to them before now. So, here’s the latest batch.
This first four pieces are from the Trampoline anthology…
“The Force Acting on the Displaced Body” by Christopher Rowe. A journey always makes a great metaphor, especially when a piece is as well-written as this. It’s a good example of something that skirts around the stricter genre definitions of fantasy. No magic as such–that is to say, no wizardry or the like. I guess it’s more on the lines of myth-making. 5 out of 5.
“Well-Moistened with Cheap Wine, the Sailor and the Wayfarer Sing of Their Absent Sweethearts” by Ed Park. Slightly long and slightly too descriptive for this Carver-lover but that’s my issue, not the story’s. The premise of the story more than makes up for it. You could almost call this piece Soft-Science-Fiction. 5 out of 5!
“Angel” by Shelley Jackson. This is the second or third Jackson story I’ve attempted. I really can’t put my finger on why I’ve been less than enthusiastic, thus far. Any idiot can see how good the writing is. I really don’t know what I’m not getting. As far as this piece though, it read like something calculated to be a bizarro, if well-written, version of Raymond Carver’s “So Much Water, So Close to Home.” Still, the writing rules, so 4 out of 5!
“Impala” by John Gonzalez. Straight-up sci-fi joint–almost! Loved it! Gonzalez took a risk with the choice of POV character, but I still found it compelling. 5 out of 5.
“Shiloh” by Bobbie Ann Mason. I searched high and low for a copy of Mason’s collection Shiloh and Other Stories, and finally found one (actually, three) in a second-hand bookstore around me that I didn’t know about until about a month ago. I see why this story’s a classic. Believable characters in a well-structured piece with the least amount of “writing” necessary. What more could a reader want? 5 out of 5.
“The Garden of Time” by J.G. Ballard. Another classic, this from his Best Short Stories. The line between sci-fi and fantasy blurs with this one because of Ballard’s skillful writing. A little light on characterization for me, though. 4 out of 5.