Jim's Books

Dangerous Women part one

George R R Martin & Gardner Dozois

Dangerous Women part one
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ISBN: 9780007549429

Reviewed on 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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