Sunday, January 5, 2014

S.M. Stirling's "Pronouncing Doom"

Just four more tales before I face Martin's latest piece! Ten years ago I'd climb a good old-fashioned pile of corpses to read his stuff right away. Now I'm hardly curious. But Dangerous Women has made me curious about the works of several of its other authors, and who said there can't be other interesting stuff to read? Writing this, I realize that back in the day I had problems reading anything else because I was so amazed by "A Game of Thrones," "A Clash of Kings" and "A Storm of Swords". Nothing could scratch that itch Martin had created with those three fantastic volumes. I got over it, eventually, mainly through Abercrombie and Erikson who with voices of their own expanded the fantasy palette for me. And, of course, "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance with Dragons" taught me that Martin wasn't the Supreme Fantasy Author after all, though I hope that the sixth book (wait for it) will give me back some of my former enthusiasm for his work. It was so incredibly great, dammit.
       Anyway, S.M. Stirling's "Pronouncing Doom", the fifth-last story in Dangerous Women, is the story that took me the longest to read. Most of the stories before this one I read in one sitting, this one I had to come back to many times. It wasn't bad. It wasn't uninteresting. But it didn't quite grab me like most of the other tales did. The post-apocalyptic (again) setting was well realized and different enough to stand out, and I particularly liked the author's take on pagan faith replacing the big monotheistic religions after doomsday. The characters were perhaps a touch to bland and there were many names so I was a little confused; only the POV character, Juniper, comes through properly. The story itself is simply an execution wrapped in exposition. It didn't so much end as just stop; like some of the other stories, it was more a snapshot of a story world in which we could imagine more stories to take place.

It's 2014, I am struggling against my decision to quit nicotine, so I am feeling light-headed and incredibly frustrated and angry at the same time, and I anticipate finishing my re-read of A Storm of Swords by posting a little bit more regularly once my regular schedule kicks back in after a couple of lazy Christmas weeks. I also anticipate the release of my book, Waiting for Winter: Re-reading A Clash of Kings: Part I, which was supposed to be available last month but got postponed due to stuff far beyond my control.

I won SFFworld's November-December short story competition which is a first for me (I've won a couple of flash fiction competitions before) which makes me joyful and interested in writing more, so this year I have decided to edit some of the stuff I've won with and try to get them sold to whoever accepts such stories. I'll put it up later. Right now, there's a baby crying for dad's attention.

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