A Couple of Shorts

A Couple of Shorts

Tor is one of my favorite publishers, responsible for books like Cory Doctorow's For the Win, John Scalzi's Old Man War series, and much of Cherie Priest's body of work including Four and Twenty Blackbirds and Boneshaker. (I've discussed most of these novels here on this site.)

Tor also has a great website which offers a wide variety of posts including discussions, reviews, comics and terrific short stories. Jo Walton is getting towards the end of a series where she suggests where to start with an author, for instance with Tolkien some people are happier starting with the Lord of the Rings while I always preferred the Hobbit. (That probably says something about me like that I'm kind of a lazy reader, but I'm not going to worry about it. I may be lazy but I'm also voracious, which I guess covers two of the deadly sins; sloth and greed.) My favorite part of the site is the original fiction.

This past week I finally got time to read The Cage by A. M. Dellamonica and I was kind of taken aback by how much I loved it. There's a lot going on in this short story, murder, love, character growth, suspense, danger, strong characters and an utterly charming little monster. Jude is a contractor with no interest in getting involved with a single mother. But she finds herself drawn into the troubles of a woman called Paige who needs help soundproofing her basement. Of course that's not all that's going on in Paige's life; she also has a small baby boy and a dead twin sister – killed by a werewolf hunter. The hunter is on trial and Paige is a key witness. She and the baby need to stay safe leading up to and during the pivotal trial; something that is not so easy to do. As things stand killing werewolves is tantamount to getting rid of varmints and it wouldn't be hard to get rid of Paige and claim she was following in her twin sister's shape shifting footsteps. Access the story here: http://www.tor.com/stories/2010/07/the-cage#

Fare Thee Well by Cathy Clamp is an appealing story about a young lady called Lia Thantos and her experiences during her first day as an intern at the county morgue. She's given some nitpicky instructions regarding body storage and has some problems implementing them during an emergency, which leads to some dramatic results. Lia is going to have to think quickly, stay strong and be willing to bargain to get out of the major mess that results from "bending" the rules. You can access the story here: http://www.tor.com/stories/2010/07/fare-thee-well.

Both of the stories on the Tor website are downloadable but I believe you have to register to access that option. Registration is free and also allows you to post on the message boards with a designated username.

While not technically a short story, and certainly not part of the Tor website, this piece from the Onion was one of my favorite reads of the week. Written in the style of the late nineteenth century and reminiscent of an HP Lovecraft story, the article is about a mysterious crate that has just come in. All of the sailors on the ship that carried the crate are spooked and speak of the terrible and strange properties of the crate. One member of the crew was frightened so badly he was struck dumb and his hair is now white as the snow atop the mountain peaks found on the Dark Continent.

According to entries in the captain's log, when the puzzling cargo was first brought aboard in Liverpool, the ship's cat would not cease in its hissing and hid amongst the ballast the journey entire; and indeed, all aboard the Redoubtable were, to a man-jack, loathe to pass near the crate.

Read and enjoy the entire item here: http://www.theonion.com/articles/mysterious-crate-arrives-from-london,17...

One-Paragraph Review

This week's one-paragraph review is from Mr MoneyBags, who says, "Monopoly is 75 years old this year. Isn't that how long a game takes to play?" Do you have a one-paragraph (or smaller) review you'd like to share? Send it in to me for consideration. You can reach me at feedback@qualitytimeweekly.com.