Science fiction and fantasy's most adept short-story authornbsp;reinvents some classic themes in an engaging collection that includes three of his Hugo award–winning stories. These smart expansions of traditional themes summon dinosaurs, dragons, peril in space, myths, faeries, and time travel, each undergoing artful alchemy to create serious genre literature that is playful, original, and clever. Comprisingnbsp;16 imaginative and mischievous adventures, includingnbsp;the previously unpublished novelette,The Skysailor's Tale,this adroit gathering makes a collection to truly revel in.
In addition to their individual quality, the 16 stories in this rollicking collection amply demonstrate Hugo-winner Swanwick's impressive versatility. Characters vary from feuding prospectors on a heat-scoured Venus in "Tin Marsh" to clients of "The Bordello in Faerie." On one end of the mood spectrum are the three elegantly wry adventures of Darger and Surplus, roguish postapocalypse con artists; on the other is the gentle "Triceratops Summer," told in a matter-of-fact, laconic style that at first seems to show wonderful things becoming commonplace and then reveals that the familiar can still be wonderful. Swanwick (The Iron Dragon's Daughter) pulls apart overused situations to see what makes them tick and then constructs fresh, surprising plots from the pieces. The locked-room mystery may seem hopelessly stale, but not when it's "A Small Room in Koboldtown," where voodoo beings and sleazy politics abound. Readers tired of conventional fantasy and SF will find this collection of intriguing characters and lovingly told stories deeply refreshing. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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August 31, 2007
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