Gardner Dozois - Shastrix Books

Gardner Dozois

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Dangerous Women part three

Dangerous Women part three

George R R Martin & Gardner Dozois

6th July 2016

The third and final volume of this collection of short stories contains some stories by familiar names and some by authors new to me. Specifically:

Joe Abercrombie - dull and overly wordy. Found myself bored of the language choices quite quickly.

Diana Rowland - quite interesting. On reflection, should have seen things coming.

Sherrilynn Kenyon - would probably make a good longer story, but the length made it hard to feel a connection with the characters.

Melinda Snodgrass - Interesting first chapter to a book I'd be quite tempted to read (except there is no more).

Pat Cadigan - engaging story that felt a bit out of place in its everyday realism.

Cecelia Holland - Good piece of historical fiction that felt it could have been from A Song of Ice and Fire. Bit unclear how much is based on reality. Tempted to look up more details, but didn't.

Jim Butcher - didn't read. Seriously, who puts spoilers in the author's biography for the guy's main series that I'm barely a third of the way through. Martin and Dozois, that's who. Infuriating!

I've been putting off reading this last part of the collection for some time. Looking back I liked the majority of the stories, yet at the time it never inspired me to pick it up and keep reading. Maybe I'm just not one for shorts that aren't part of an established series.

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Dangerous Women part two

Dangerous Women part two

George R R Martin & Gardner Dozois

29th December 2015

The second paperback collection of short stories - another subset of those that appeared in the original hardback collection - features a range of tales about women. It starts with Megan Lindholm's tale of an elderly lady whose interpretation of really differs from her children.

Overall none of the stories in this volume really stood out to me or led me to feel that I should pick up more by any of the authors, which was actually quite disappointing as I thought the first volume was an impressive collection's

This time I found it tough to get into any of the individual stories and it almost felt like a chore to get through them - I found myself finding any excuse not to read, including finding other things to do on the train to and from work which is usually reserved reading time.

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Dangerous Women part one

Dangerous Women part one

George R R Martin & Gardner Dozois

25th May 2015

This collection of shortish stories is the first part of the longer collection that was published in hardback having been separated into three paperback volumes (and apparently completely re-ordered).

It kicks off with George R R Martin's own 35,000 word mini-epic telling part of the history of Westeros, the land featured in his 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series. The cover quote describes it as being like an outline for the prequel that never was - and that's true. Sadly in being outline-like it misses out on all the best bits of Martin's writing - the rich and complex characters and the entertaining dialogue. Instead. it just reads like a dry list of events from a history textbook.

Things then pick up with Carrie Vaughn's tale of a Russian fighter pilot from the Second World War, which is an interesting historical insight into something I've never thought of before - and only a tiny bit Bigglesy.

Nancy Kress contributes a story from a post-apocalyptic America where humans have formed packs and subjected women. I'm not really sure how I felt about this story - it was very readable and yet I found it an uncomfortable world to spend time imagining.

Story number four, by Lawrence Block, I found slightly annoying in how it twisted and turned. Initially it feels like a Lee Child story. but then morphs into something that again left an uncomfortable taste.

The theme of discomfort continues with Megan Abbott's story about a missing child, which feels like it bears a tad too much similarity to real life events that have been much covered in the news.

One of the most interesting stories, which on reflection felt like the deepest of the collection, is Joe R Lansdale's story about an old wrestler and his obsessions. It showed the affect that memories can have on our day to day lives and the hold they can have without us realising.

The book is rounded off by Brandon Sanderson's story, which follows a bounty hunter in a world populated by deadly shades. While the concept of the world reminded me of Peter V Brett's Demon Cycle, the writing is unmistakably Sanderson and fantastically absorbing, and I found myself wanting more from this world.

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