After the Sundial by Vera Nazarian is the author's first short fiction collection that focuses specifically on science fiction works, and can be viewed as a companion volume to her earlier collection, Salt of the Air which focused on fable, myth, and fantasy. Bound by the common theme of time and temporal exploration, the ten selections here range widely from traditional speculative fiction to the surreal literary to poetry to bawdy adventure humor to space opera and far future speculation. Includes an introduction by the author, two previously unpublished works and a full-length critically acclaimed novella The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass.
Norilana founder Nazarian is somewhat off-form in her first science fiction collection, a counterpart to her fantasy collection Salt of the Air (2009). The centerpiece novella, "The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass," should be the stuff of epics: the coming-of-age story of the last truly human woman destined to be a new Eve, set in a strange, hourglass-shaped environment millions of years hence. But it is told in a curiously lackluster manner, with surprisingly little drama and poor attention to detail. (Would a post-human being of remote aeons really wear a t-shirt and windbreaker?) The shorter stories are vague, laden with exposition, and slow to start. "Port Custodial Blues," about an intergalactic toilet attendant, may well contain more speculation about alien excretory habits in a short space than any other work of SF; this dubious achievement is the best the collection can boast. (Aug.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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August 20, 2010
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