Monday, October 30, 2006

Short Fiction

I can't even pretend that I've read everything published this year, or even something approaching a broad spectrum of the short fiction published. But I have read some wonderful stuff. Most recently, in Asimov's SF, William Barton's "Down to the Earth Below" this is a marvellous, bittersweet, and joyous novella, think Stephen King's "The Body" mixed with the pulpy wonders of Burroughs (Edgar, not William).

William Barton is one of my favourite short story writers, and has been ever since I read "Down in the Dark" a grim, but ultimately hopeful tale of first contact in a solar system running down after earth has been struck by a comet. Check his stuff out, he's an author deserving of more attention, and one with, what I consider anyway, a particularly unique voice.

The other recent standout is "Jable Sharks" from Neal Asher's The Engineer Reconditioned – a particularly enjoyable collection. Possibly one of the best tales of nautical horror I've read in a long time, and one that makes me wonder what Neal's fantasy fiction might be like. I can tell you that William Hope Hodgson would have dug this one. It's grim and gory and ends on a suitably dark note. Neal Asher understands the horror of multitudes, and he shoves that horror in your face, bleeding and squirming and trying to bite you. Pretty cool.

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