Wednesday, May 28, 2008

75-25 (we'll take it)

The latest round of Publishers Weekly reviews are out. Dogs gets an unqualified thumbs up ("a spine-chilling, suspense-laden story of pets turned unwitting killers"); Year's Best Fantasy 8 gets a qualified mezza mezza ("Most readers will enjoy the variety, though aficionados of the genre might be nonplussed at some choices."):

Dogs by Nancy Kress

Hugo- and Nebula-winner Kress (Beggar's Ride) offers a spine-chilling, suspense-laden story of pets turned unwitting killers. Why are previously well-behaved pet dogs in rural Tyler, Md., turning on their owners and biting them? What is it that makes the dog bites so lethal? And what about these random events makes the Feds so touchy? Former FBI agent Tessa Sanderson, a dog owner and recent widow who just moved to Tyler, wants to know, and insists on helping Jess Langstrom, a longtime resident of Tyler and its chief animal control officer, to investigate, even as the FBI begins investigating her for suspected links to terrorist organizations. Together and separately, Tessa and Jess track down the answers to Tyler's frightening human and animal crisis. Kress brings her thorough knowledge of genetics and biology to bear in this nicely creepy thriller.

Year's Best Fantasy 8 edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

Renowned editors Hartwell and Cramer return with an enjoyable anthology that nonetheless never quite convinces you these are really the best stories of 2007. The standout selections, such as Darryl Gregory's “Unpossible,” a lost boy's poignant return to a fantasy world, and Laird Barron's “The Forest,” an exquisitely sinister exploration of a Lovecraftian landscape, are far better than those by bigger names, such as Michael Moorcock's bitter, solipsistic “A Portrait in Ivory” or Elizabeth Hand's paint-by-numbers sword and sorcery story “Winter's Wife.” The predictability of Theodora Goss's can-do princess in “Princess Lucinda and the Hound of the Moon” and Tad Williams's morally ambiguous good guy in “The Stranger's Hands” are balanced by the originality of the sprightly metalibrary in Holly Black's “Paper Cuts Scissors” and Fred Chappell's Vance-like fantasia “Dance of Shadows.” Most readers will enjoy the variety, though aficionados of the genre might be nonplussed at some choices.


Blogger Kathryn Cramer said...

There's just no way no how that the Liz Hand story is "paint-by-numbers sword and sorcery" though. It's not sword & sorcery at all. While I gather the reviewer had some issues with some of our choices, I think an apology is owed Liz Hand.

5/28/2008 4:37 PM  
Blogger Tachyon Publications said...

Agreed. I've always been impressed with PW's reviews, but this is definitely off base.

5/29/2008 11:49 AM  

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