Jul 18, 2010

Fast Fiction Friday: Swirsky, Abraham, and Barron

This week's Fast Fiction Friday features Rachel Swirsky, Daniel Abraham, and an update on Laird Barron.

A Memory of Wind - Rachel Swirsky
Featured as an original story on Tor.com. Nominated for a Nebula award. Available for free Kindle or iBooks download.

Tor.com just celebrated their second anniversary. In just two years, they've quickly established themselves as a reputable publishers of online fiction and with stories like A Memory of Wind it's easy to see why. This heartbreaking story is written from the perspective of Iphigenia, a character from Trojan War mythology who was sacrificed in exchange for a favorable wind. While not a lot is mentioned a lot about Iphigenia in the original Greek myth, Swirsky fleshes out her character and the circumstances surrounding her death. Featuring a split perspective that is both aware that she will be sacrificed to the gods and slowly losing a sense of who she was, A Memory of Wind overflows with haunting prose that transforms Iphigenia from a minor sidenote into a tragic victim. I can't say that Swirsky deserved to win the Nebula (as I haven't read the winner) but this is the type of fiction that gets you on the short list for sure.

The Cambist and Lord Iron - Daniel Abraham

Originally published in the Logorrhea (2007). Nominated for a Hugo Award. Reprinted in Leviathan Wept and Other Stories. Can also listen at Podcastle.

The Cambinst and Lord Iron is the first entry in Daniel Abraham's first collection from Subterranean Press and another award nominee. A simple man works as a cambist (exchanger) and he soons attracts the attention of Lord Iron, a man with too much money and not enough to do. Iron challenges the lowly cambist to determine exchange rates for not one but three exotic transactions, each more abstract than the last. It's the cambist's solutions to these problems that really make the story and although the last solution fell a little flat for me, these aspects keep the story fresh and unique. Rather than getting lost in the tangle of overworked prose that often plagues short fiction, Abraham writes with a direct style and an economy of word that make his stories read effortlessy. That's not to say you won't want to read them again. I'm really looking forward to the rest of this collection.

Catch Hell / Strappado / --30-- - Laird Barron

Originally published in Barron's 2nd Collection, Occultation.

I've been reading Laird Barron's 2nd collection collection and for whatever reason, I decided to skip around from story to story rather than reading them in order. After reading most of the stories I felt that while fantastic, they were starting to be a little too similar for my taste. Then I read the last 3 stories (Catch Hell, Strappado, and --30--) and realized that they were ordered the way they were for a reason, staggering the Lovecraftian Horror that is Baird's specialty with more unique but equally disturbing stories. I'm not going to get into detail right now but expect a full story by story review of Occultation next week.

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