Monday, February 20, 2017

How Times Have Changed

Ellen Klages “Passing Strange” (Tor.com, 2017)


This is not a book to come to if you are expecting a typical Urban Fantasy.  Sure, it’s set in San Francisco, and it has some magic, but it is NOT UF. 

This is really a fantasy adjacent novella. One that is more concerned with the normal lives of a group of women living in SF than any sort of traditional fantasy plot.

Please don’t think that a knock on this piece.  It is absolutely not! This is a wonderfully written novella that despite its short length creates some memorable characters and some great emotional moments.  I highly recommend it.

Mr Pynchon to the Courtesy Phone Please

Bruce Sterling “Pirate Utopia” (Tachyon, 2016)


I’m tempted to say that the setup here is quite simple, but then what really is? What if the futurist takeover of an Italian city in the 1920s had lasted? What if the course of European history had been different?

It’s complex, it’s mesmerizing.  My thoughts initially go to Pynchon, with his love of fictional and not so fictional secret societies. But then there’s also Burroughs, and his thoughts on lost pirate colonies in the Atlantic. 

If you are expecting some sort of cyber-anything romp you are going to be sorely disappointed.  This is more of a boundary pushing literary piece than what you might normally think of as SF.  I have to say that personally I admired it more than I enjoyed it.