Friday, 6 October 2017

100 Short Story Challenge: Stories 11 to 20

See? The second ten came much more quickly than the first. In large part this is because I started reading Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho and remembered how much I love her writing. I will do a proper review of the whole book when I'm done. I considered omitting my comments on her stories from this round-up post, but that seemed unhelpful so I've left them in for completion.

  1. Reading Lists by Seanan McGuire — a heartwarming tale about a library room with causality issues and the power of reading. Source: Temporally Out of Order edited by Joshua Palmatier & Patricia Bray
  2. Salamander Bites by Elektra Hammond — a meh story about a chef and a time-slipping oven thing. Source: Temporally Out of Order edited by Joshua Palmatier & Patricia Bray
  3. The First Witch of Damansara by Zen Cho — A delightful story about a Malaysian woman living in the West who goes home to KL for her grandmother’s funeral. An excellent and very entertaining read that reminded me how much I love Cho’s writing. Source: Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho
  4. First National Forum on the Position of Minorities in Malaysia by Zen Cho — This story had a bit of a slow start before the spec fic element came to the fore. It was interesting, but it was a bit sad and less inherently amusing by its nature. Source: Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho
  5. House of Aunts by Zen Cho — a longer story about a teenage girl with a surfeit of aunts, all of them undead. Being sixteen and undead is not so bad when you have so many aunts looking after you, but not being allowed to have friends at your new school is a bit harder. An excellent story on the longer side (novelette range by Hugo definitions) that’s slightly gory (people are eaten) but otherwise a fun read. Source: Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho
  6. One-Day Travelcard for Fairyland by Zen Cho — Malaysian (and other nationalities) girls at an English boarding school in the present-day countryside come up against fairies, the malicious kind. An amusing and quick read. Source: Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho
  7. 狮,行礼 (Rising Lion — The Lion Bows) by Zen Cho — A lovely story about a lion dance troupe and the ghost they’re paid to get rid of.  Source: Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho
  8. 七星鼓 (Seven Star Drum) by Zen Cho — Another lion dance story which, I was delighted to learn, has some crossover characters with the previous story. It also conveyed the main character’s love for the lion very well. Source: Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho
  9. The Mystery of the Suet Swain by Zen Cho — A story about boys being creepy and a stalker and female friendship.  Source: Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho
  10. Prudence and the Dragon by Zen Cho — A hilarious story set in a present day version of the Sorcerer to the Crown London (I think). I think the most I’ve laughed in this collection so far and there were heaps of delightful background/worldbuilding details that really made the story. Source: Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho

I expect I will be finishing the Zen Cho stories before I move on to other sources (they're just so dang good!), but I have also been making an effort to add various authors I like and so forth to Pocket for easy access later. 

As for Temporally Out of Order, which I started reading before putting it aside for Spirits Abroad, I'm not feeling especially keen to keep reading. I'm considering picking out the stories by authors I like or something, but that feels a bit unfair to the anthology as a whole (and the carefully chosen story order). I did back it on Kickstarter, so I probably should give it another try.

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