Monday, May 14, 2012

THIS is how you start a story

Couldn't title this blog post from Michael Swanwick better than he did himself.  Michael's reading an *advance* advance reader copy (for potential blurbers only) of our forthcoming Patricia McKillip collection, Wonders of the Invisible World, out this October.  He says of the title story:

"That is a terrific opening.  It's solid as an oak plank and as simple as a Shaker broom.  You could rap your knuckles on it.  It evokes all the senses.  It has wit and rhythm.  It sets the scene beautifully.  Most importantly, it gets you right into the story."

In case you're wondering, here's the beginning of "Wonders of the Invisible World," to which he's referring:

I am the angel sent to Cotton Mather.  It took me some time to get his attention.  He lay on the floor with his eyes closed; he prayed fervently, sometimes murmuring, sometimes shouting.  Apparently the household was used to it.  I heard footsteps pass his study door; a woman -- his wife Abigail? -- called to someone:  "If your throat is no better tomorrow, we'll have Phillip pee in a cup for you to gargle."  From the way the house smelled, Phillip didn't bother much with cups.  Cotton Mather smelled of smoke and sweat and wet wool. Winter had come early.  The sky was black, the ground was white, the wind pinched like a witch and whined like a starving dog.  There was no color in the landscape and no mercy. Cotton Mather prayed to see the invisible world.

He wanted an angel.


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