365 Days of Women Writers

Women writers only – no boys allowed

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Day 33: Clockwork Fairies by Cat Rambo

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There’s a danger with making your main character a boring jerk – your readers are likely to be bored with the jerk.

In Clockwork Fairies Desiree is a black woman living in steampunky London: an heiress, an inventor, a fiancee to the oh-so-tedious Claude.

She likes to make mechanical things: fairies, cats, a woman to replace her when she’s gone.

I didn’t expect Desiree to end up in Fairie, but I did expect Claude to end up with a clockwork woman.

I found this to be a pleasant, unmemorable story in a genre that I’ve been ready to die for ages now. (So you should clearly take my comments with a grain of salt.)

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Written by Chance

October 20, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Posted in cat rambo, tor.com

Day 28: River of Souls by Beth Bernobich

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I don’t like stories where the hero and the heroine are OTP for all time and are forever reincarnated as lovers because *yawn*

River of Souls does not start off very promisingly. A spoiled rich boy is running off to find the woman he dreams about and of course he does so in the most ridiculous way. Decides to ride through bandit filled mountains rather than taking a ship and of course when he is about to die in a snowstorm he gets miraculously rescued.

Bernobich wastes about 4000 words on this inconsequential portion of the story. (About 40% of the total) This section mostly seems to exist so he can kill his horse. Really, if you are going to read the story, I suggest you do a search for the line “How old are you?”

That’s when I thought the story picked up. Because at least his OTP was an old lady. It takes a while for him to admit that he dreams of their relationship every night and eventually he finds out he’s dying and has to face his future. I was sucked into the story despite my prejudices (and even if Asa is channelling his inner Bella through pretty much the whole thing.)

The ending for me was a bit too high on the sapmeter, and if this hadn’t been so long, I could have seen it as the prologue to a novel rather than a short story.

Written by Chance

October 15, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Posted in short story, tor.com

Day 12: The Fermi Paradox Is Our Business Model By Charlie Jane Anders

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The story starts:

The thing about seeking out new civilizations is, every discovery brings a day of vomiting.

and that’s probably the story in a nutshell – kind of amusing but not really funny and not much happens over all, except a bit of puke. Like many SF stories, this one takes a bit to get into it due to the jargon : Interdream. Closure. Cultural Emissions (dirty!).

So the plot is that a pair of intrepid (think Abbott and Costello) explorers go around scooping up the valuable remains of civilizations after they’ve (that’s the civilizations, not our heroes) self-destructed. Except this time it didn’t go poof and our heroes, Jon and Toku, decide to have a bit of a chat instead, (Think Captain Kirk every time he decides to ignore the Prime Directive) and turns out these earthlings are good capitalists just like our heroes, which is the horror.

Jon and Toku’s awesome plan is to run away and pretend it never happened.

There have been worse plans.

Written by Chance

September 29, 2010 at 7:44 pm