Saturday 4 April 2009

Short story weekend

Despite a busy weekend gardening, I've still managed to read four short stories for Carl's Once Upon a Time III...

The first one was The Girl who Heard Dragons from the anthology of the same name by Anne McCaffrey.

Aramina is a young girl who can communicate telepathically with dragons. Her family are holdless wanderers, unfairly driven from their home by the evil Lord Fax. Driven to leave their current home they head up into the mountains where circumstances conspire and at long last Aramina comes face to face with dragonriders and their dragons. I don't think this story will mean anything to people not familiar with Anne McCaffrey's Pern universe. Those who are will find it as charming as I did. And what a fabulous cover!

The Dwarf - Ray Bradbury. (From The October Country.)
Aimee works for a carnival. Bored, one hot evening, she visits Ralph who runs the Mirror Maze. He tells her about a dwarf that comes there every night and who clearly wants to buy a mirror... Odd little tale this one. I'm not entirely sure what the point of it was, other than to illustrate how cruel people can be. Reason enough perhaps.

Dead Man's Shoes - Charles De Lint
Angel, a woman who has appeared in previous Newford stories and who runs a refuge for street children, is having a strange dream. In it the ghost of a homeless man, known as Everett, approaches her in the steet holding something wrapped in newspaper; she can't see what it is but feels desperate to know. Alive, Everett was not a pleasant man but his eyes are pleading... he wants her to do something but she can't figure out what. A boy called Robbie takes her to see the body and Angel sees that his distinctive boots are missing. Robbie tells her that 'Macaulay' must have taken them and it's left to Angel to reluctantly solve the mystery of how her dreams are connected with the missing boots and the strange boy who collects shoes.

Bird Bones and Wood Ash - Charles De Lint
Jaime is being followed around by what she thinks of as women with the faces of animals - bear, raven, toad, snake and many more. They want her to do something and tell her, 'It is for those who have need of a strong mother.' She thinks this has stemmed from a visit she made to a fairy ring with her beloved Annie who has recently died. Whatever the reason, Jaime accepts 'gifts' from each of the anima and finds herself doing something to men who abuse their children. Which is how she comes into contact with Chris Dennison, the social worker from a previous story in this anthology, The Forest is Crying. Chris has an idea...

Two more terrific stories from Charles De Lint. This anthology, The Ivory and the Horn really is very good ineed.


Ana S. said...

Bradbury seems to have a thing for Carnivals, doesn't he?

And the two De Lint stories sound wonderful, as always :)

DesLily said...

I'm sure I've read this but with all my "already read" books packed I can't find in what I read it, I'm sure it won't have the same cover as yours. She also wrote a short story about "the littlest dragon rider".. which she could have written a whole book on!! sigh*.. glad you are enjoying your short stories!

Cath said...

It does seem so Nymeth. It's been years since I read anything by him (Fahenheit 451 etc.) but I reckon his novels are better than this ss.

The De Lints are like warm comfy blankets. :-)

Pat: I thought Aramina could have had a whole book too. But when I checked with my daughter she said she thought that you never heard about her again. Which seems like such a shame. The story did make me want to pick up on Pern once again though, so I may do that asap.

Susan said...

You are doing so much better than I am on the short story weekends! At least I finally picked up a book - Peter S Beagles' short story collection - started the first story.....and then Blood Bound called to me, and I just finished that this afternoon. It was so good, so fabulous, that I couldn't wait and jumped right into Iron Kissed. Sigh. How can she choose between Samuel and Adam? Could I? Could you?

PS I am so happy you can garden, and a wee bit envious....we have 6 weeks to go. It snowed today, too!

Kailana said...

I have gotten very bad at posting my short story posts... I am going to have to try and catch up this weekend! Sounds like some good stories, though. :)

Cath said...

Hi Susan, how are you doing with Iron Kissed? I don't blame you for jumping right in - I probably would too if I didn't have several books I *must* read right now. It's a hard choice for Mercy... Adam, Samuel. I know who I think has the edge but who knows?

I gardened to my heart's content last weekend and ended up with neck, shoulder and arm problems. That'll learn me as we say. I feel like an old crock sometimes...

I got your e.mail, will write soon. Really pleased you got the book ok and enjoyed it.

Kailana: I love the idea of the short story weekends but can't always find the time to do it. Not going to happen this weekend for instance. Good luck with yours!