Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Another ARC, Fair Folk Review and What I'm Reading

I received notice today from HarperCollins that I've been selected to review "Olympos" by Dan Simmons. This will be my fourth ARC for HC, and I am looking forward to reading this particular SF author, who has garnered a lot of buzz since he published a best seller about two years ago.
I just finished "The Fair Folk" edited by Marvin Kaye, who co-wrote a book called "Winter Mind" that I read, and loved, back in the 70s. This was a good anthology of stories about Fairies, Elves, Brownies, Red Caps and other wee folk who have been known to wreak havoc on the lives of us muddy mortals. My favorite stories in the anthology were by two of my favorite fantasy authors, Tanith Lee and the fabulous Patricia McKillip. Lee's "Uous" is set in modern times, and puts quite a spin on the Cinderella story and the three-wishes myth, and "The Kelpie" by McKillip is marvelous storytelling that keeps you wondering up to the very end. It's also more of a modern spin on some old tales, but it's done in a very graceful fashion. One other standout is "Except the Queen" by Jane Yolen, which had Yolen's typically rich use of metaphor and language going for it, though I am not sure what Midori Snyder, who is the co-author, added to the mix. "An Embarrassment of Elves" was just that, goofy and embarrassing, and "Grace Notes" was a so-so story, not bad, just average. Kay added a precise little afterword about Fairy Folk, which was kind of him, though I do think he could have edited some of the stories down more (a couple were as long as a novella) and added further works by some other fantasy authors. I'm almost finished with fellow Iowan Bill Brysons comedic "In a Sunburned Country" about his travels through Australia, and I am hoping to get a copy of a book by Stephen King that is supposedly not frightening from the library soon. Meanwhile, I am also trying to read Tamora Pierces "Tricksters" the story of the daughter of Alanna the Lioness. Pierce writes great "coming of age" stories for pre-teen and teenage girls, but her world-building is hard to beat for any age reader.

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