Sunday, December 8, 2013

Melinda Snodgrass' "The Hands that are Not There"

So I read another of the stories in the Dangerous Women anthology, this time Melinda Snodgrass' science fiction tale, "The Hands that are Not There". I thought it was surprisingly well written and interesting throughout, and feels more like a coherent, self-sustained story than the others so far which felt more like "glimpses". I don't know if the setting for the story is something Snodgrass uses in other stories, but it felt 'complete'. It was interesting all the way through, and was the first of the stories to leave me thinking after having read it. It seems my prejudice against the author was unfounded and I gladly admit that Melinda knows how to spin a good yarn. Next up is a story Jim Butcher, "Bombshells", and it is something I suspect fans of Harry Dresden will look forward to. Personally I have never read any Butcher though I've heard of this Harry fellow. I had expected it to be quite different from what I'm reading in "Bombshells" (I've started it and will finish it tonight if my eyelids don't drop). I had expected some kind of science fiction-like setting but there you go, I really knew nothing. Instead I'm getting a setting where, at least as far as I am aware, we're closer to something like Neil Gaiman's stuff (like his American Gods), the blending of the mundane and the magical. Pleasantly surprised again, though it seems I won't get to know Harry himself because apparently he's dead.

I honestly didn't think these stories would capture my attention the way they have done so far, to the point of me almost forgetting to finish that Samwell chapter (and it makes me hope and wonder - will Martin's story, which is saved for last of course, also entertain and bedazzle?).
In addition, my latest acquisition for my Forgotten Realms collection is the solo adventure Knight of the Living Dead, not the most famous product in that line, and quite different from other Realms material due to the fact that this is a book that works like those classic Fighting Fantasy books, you know, where you choose what to do next and then you flip to entry 44D to see what happens. I haven't delved too deep into the adventure yet, nor do I feel it gives me the same experience as a regular roleplaying session but it's fun. Also, the title is very appropriate, wordplay and all. Evocative cover, too. I love those classic D&D covers by Jeff Easley et al. I'm about to find my d12 and pencil and see if I can survive the next couple of pages of the text.

In the meantime, I see Mr. Martin himself has been directing attention to the anthology as well.  Next: An update on the progress of The Winds of Winter. Give us a percentage, is all I ask. "I'm 23% done." Okay cool, nice to know.

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