Wednesday, October 14, 2009
“Underbrain” by Tony Ballantyne, Pages 28: We’ve officially hit the middle with the second longest short story in the anthology, which is also a sort of slipstream fiction and subterfuge is presented in the profoundly global manner, which can shake a human being down to the very core and leave an empty shell. The proportions and chill factor of this beast are impressive and so far this has been one of my personal favorites. The setting is a world inhabited by giant spiders and humans as well. Although the spiders seem benevolent and are used as cattle herders, the status quo is not as obvious as it is presented. Capel doe Mistletroe suspects that something is very wrong with her country’s history, but she isn’t prepared, when her sister’s husband reveals the whole truth. A definite charmer this one. “Underfog (The Wreckers)” by Tanith Lee, Pages 12: I was very excited to read a horror entry in the anthology and I am ecstatic to report that Tanith delivers as a bone chilling tale without using a twist ending or explosive pace. The best horror in my opinion is to be able to direct a mirror through one’s prose and just reflect how gruesomely cruel humans can be. It never hurts to have a ghost ship in it as well. The subterfuge in this short story is not so much the secret as it is watching desperate people applying desperate measures to ensure their survival and in this case it would mean luring ships during stormy weather to crash into the rocks near their village. “They Left the City at Night” by Sarah Singleton, Pages 14: As hard as I could I failed at getting into this story, which I left unread. I believe it was a mixture of the setting being Russia after the revolution and not as exciting prose that left me thinking of everything else when I should have been concentrating on the story.