AndyHat (andyhat) wrote,
AndyHat
andyhat

Time for another reading update. By the way, while I allow anonymous comments, if anyone without an LJ account would like to get one and thus become non-anonymous, I have some spare account creation codes. Leave me a comment with an email address or send an email to lj@andyhat.net if you'd like one. [Update, Dec 12: As of this morning, LJ has apparently removed invite codes. Accounts are now freely available to all.]
  • Novellas
    • Bisson, Terry. "Greetings". Sci Fiction 9/3/03.
      • Cliff and Tom, buddies for 50 years, receive their "Greetings", induction notices into the Oregon Sunset Brigade. In a policy they supported in their idealistic youth, men over age 70 can be drafted to join the brigades, committing mass suicide in order to keep the world's population stable. But Cliff and Tom don't want the pomp and show of the Brigades' march to oblivion; they opt for quiet suicide together at their beach house, with noone to witness their passing but their wives. Up to that point, the story is a very nicely done meditation on the end of life and a moving depiction of the sort of quiet but noble tragedy that would ensue from a policy of compulsory suicide. Unfortunately, the story doesn't end there. The second half is mostly a farce that feels rather disconnected from the first half. It's obvious what the end must be, but the story has to beat you over the head some more with its message. So, a great first half, and a not so great second half making for an interesting but overlong story.

    • Lackey, Mercedes. "Counting Crows". Charmed Destinies.
      • In order to consolidate her father's position, Gwynnhwyfar has been married to Duke Bretagne, who is not only a stranger, but doesn't even come to her home for the wedding. After the marriage, she and her maid Robin travel to Bretagne's keep, where Gwynnhwyfar is introduced to the brutish man to whom she has been wed. Her only consolation is the presence of her first true love, the knight Atremus, and with his help she proceeds to improve the operation of the keep and win the respect of Bretagne's retainers. Also, she keeps her magical powers in reserve to use against Bretagne should he ever present her with justification for their use. The story is a bit slow to get moving, but once Bretagne's true nature has been revealed and Gwynnhwyfar begins to lay the groundwork for her own survival and eventual revenge, things move along at a good clip until the highly satisfying magical act that concludes the action. Gwynnhwyfar, Robin, and Atremus are all very nicely developed characters; Bretagne, however, is rather one-dimensionally loutish, but I suppose that serves the plot well enough. Overall, an enjoyable story.

  • Short Stories
    • Gauthier, Bill. "Snow Day". Ideomancer 1/03.
      • It's a snow day, and Missy's mother has left her home alone despite the disappearance of a a baby from another apartment the day before. The inevitable short-short ending twist is pretty much what I expected. A decent, but not especially memorable story.

    • Goss, Daniel. "Bioplastic Blues". Ideomancer 1/03.
      • Dana Delgado, cyberjournalist and adult content webstar, is one of the most popular and influential reporters around. She's in Iowa to do a story about Tillman Company's controversial new facility that manufacturers plastics out of genetically-modified corn. This story reads mostly as satire, targeting extremists on either side of the GM crops issue. It's reasonably amusing in places, but especially the first half of the story drags on too long while it fills in all the background needed.

    • Hardage, Elizabeth. "Asleep in the Arms of Lethe". Oceans of the Mind #7.
      • Jun is a medtech on Luna Prime who comes under suspicion when two of his patients, nearly immortal Rejuvenated, die of cerebral hemorrhages within a month of each other. Given the chance to clear his name, Jun discovers a conspiracy that shocks him as he realizes the Rejuvenated are not the gods he once thought. The theme of ennui amongst the immortals is certainly not new, but the quick pace and twists and turns of the plot make this an enjoyable little story.

    • Hood, Robert. "Nobody's Car". Ideomancer 1/03.
      • For three weeks, the black car with tinted windows has parked on the street in front of Allan Coachman's house, yet we never sees anyone get in or get out. It's presence unnerves him until he finally gets up the courage to investigate. A simple plot, but very well told, and quite creepy in the end.

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