Friday, June 27, 2014

[Rogues] Carrie Vaughn: "The Roaring Twenties"

All right, the title of this story says a lot about it, when it comes to style and tone. Only the author has given it a magical twist - not that it is overdone, or anything, it is subtle enough in a way, and while the world of The Roaring Twenties seems to be inhabited by countless fantasy creatures (werewolves, vampires, sirens) they are in hiding and there's only hinting and some comments that suggest this is an otherworld (aside from the magic). In a sense, it feels like a crossover between fantasy, noir, The Sandman (for its creative aspects), Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (you'll know when you read it) -- with all this in the mix, the author still manages to have the story itself be the most important part, and while short sequences feel more like dressing than plot advancement, it is still a coherent and self-contained tale, although I found the end somewhat disappointing. Still, another good tale that I couldn't put down before it was finished (short stories are really handy that way!), about the mysterious Madam M and her bodyguard, Pauline, who narrates this strange tale that combines the, indeed, roaring twenties with a fable-like world. My favorite of the anthology so far is still Joe Abercrombie's opening salvo, but of course I already lived in his world through six full novels. I might be tempted to read more about this hard-boiled fantasy setting just to see what else Vaughn can cook up. And maybe such stories already exist and I haven't been aware of it. Another author I suppose I need to check out, then.

1 comment:

  1. It seems that this anthology is mostly writers doing bits for their already established fanbases. Another story in which, if you don't already know the characters, you'd be hard pressed to figure out who to root for or why should you care at all. In this, Gillian Flynn, Matt Hughes and Scott Lynch stand out, because they actually wrote about new characters, not reused ones from their novels, and took care to establish their settings, without completely disorienting new readers.