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wealhtheow

wealhtheow

Currently reading

The Theory of the Leisure Class (Modern Library Classics)
Thorstein Veblen, Alan Wolfe
Young Warriors: Stories of Strength - Tamora Pierce, Josepha Sherman, Margaret Mahy, Lesley McBain, Mike Resnick, Bruce Rogers, Pamela F. Service, Jan Stirling, Holly Black, Doranna Durgin, India Edghill, Rosemary Edghill, Esther M. Friesner, Laura Anne Gilman, Janis Ian, Brett Hartinge A collection of stories about warriors coming into their own. As is generally the case with collections, it's a mixed bag, though with more good than bad. The bad:
"The Magestone" by SM and Jan Stirling. The writing isn't great, but the story (about a n00b sailor who tries to help free a mermaid shaman) makes no sense, either in terms of plot or character.
"The Boy Who Cried 'Dragon!'" by Mike Resnick. Tried too hard to be funny and utterly failed.
"Hidden Warriors" by Margaret Mahy. The dialog is so, so stilted and terrible.
Rosemary Edghill's "An Axe for Men" puzzled me. A flood destroys the city of a matriarchal society. As the people journey into the wilderness, one of the young priestesses starts having visions of a new god. And so she takes the power away from the priestesses who worship a goddess in favor of a god. It's all very gender essentialist and framed in such a way that all the women (except the rebelling priestess main character) are presented as foolish and lazy, while all the men are either emasculated or Manly Hunting Men Who are Manly. Apparently men need to be in charge if you want to survive the wilderness?


I liked "Heartless" by Holly Black, despite the fact that it feels like a novella or novel compacted and edited into a short story. If this were a novel, I would have loved it. As it is, the bones of the plot, the characters, and the language are good enough to make it an enjoyable short story. Tamora Pierce helped edit this collection, and also wrote "Student of Ostriches," which I quite enjoyed as well. Pierce is known for writing the quintessential "young female warriors proving their worth ye olde society" stories, but her quality has fallen off in the last decade. This story, set in Alanna's world but far away, in a desert filled with ostriches and camels, injects fresh energy and flavor to a tired formula.


I loved "Thunderbolt," by Esther Friesner. Theseus marries Helen, a princess of Sparta. But Helen refuses to pretend her beauty is all she is. Her sarcastic inner voice is a fabulous narration for her badass actions. The story is good enough that I'm going to make a point to find Friesner's other works.