Monday, February 2, 2015

The Very Best of Kate Elliot

Author:  Kate Elliot

First Publication:  February 2015

Publisher:  Tachyon Publications

Source:  NetGalley

Cover Artist:  Julie Dillon

42 Challenge 2015

I enjoy reading anthologies, fiction magazines, and single author collections.  Whenever I see a "Best of..." collection it is on my radar.  "Best of..."  collections are a great way to try out an author that I have not read before.  The first tme I heard of Kate Elliot, the pen name of Alis Rasmussen, was with the publication of her book "Jaran".  And yes "Jaran" and its sequels are now on my to be read stack.  

The fiction stories are very good.  I found them to be good character studies built around interesting plots.  The list of fantasy stories selected for this volume are:

The Queen's Garden
Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine
Riding the Shore of the River of Death
The Gates of Joriun
Making the World Live Again
With God to Guard Her
A Simple Act of Kindness
To Be a Man
The Memory of Peace

My Voice is My Sword

Also included is a new story in her "Crossroads" series that is called "On the Dying Winds of the Old Year and the Birthing Winds of the New".

The stories are top rated but what caught my attention were the non-fiction essays.  Elliot does an excellent job of covering the role of women in fiction in addition to what it is like to write about fully realized females in a traditionally male dominated market.

And the cover by Julie Dillon is out of this world.  She is an amazing artist who needs more recognition in the field.

Highly recommended.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

"Someday" by Isaac Asimov

Magazine:  Infinity Science Fiction
First Publication:  1956
Cover Artist:  Ed Emsh

42 Challenge 2015

First Line:  Niccolo Mazetti lay stomach down on the rug, chin buried  in the palm of one small hand, and listened to the Bard disconsolately.

Niccolo Mazetti has an old fashioned bard that he is ashamed of.  Old models tell variations of fairy tales and only have audio capabilities.  The new models incorporate video and use modern storytelling.  His friend is considered a higher intelligence and offers to do an upgrade on Niccolo's bard.  But the bard might be more than it appears to be.

"Someday" appears to reflect Asimov's thoughts concerning video media such as movies and television.  Radio might be more advanced than it is given credit.  Storytelling combined with your own imagination can make a story more spectacular than what is shown on a screen.  The combination of the twist at the end, the story taking place in basically one room, and a small cast would have made this a good candidate for a "Twilight Zone" episode.  

I highly recommend this story.  A great short tale by the "Good Doctor".

Side note:  Due to one small reference, this story is part of the Multivac universe where Asimov placed a lot of stories.  They dealt with a super computer that helped to run the world.

Other notable authors in this issue were Harlan Ellison, Damon Knight, Randall Garrett, and Robert Silverberg.  Ellison's story was part of his "Earth-Kyba War" series.