Friday, February 01, 2008

Weird Tales #345

After a long break in reading short stories and especially from reading magazines which I have paid for, I knocked my way through Issue #345 of Weird Tales. This is the second issue from WT I have read.

“Fugue”, by Rae Dawn Carson: The title itself made me leery of the story. It would touch on music, and musical stories tend to feel forced (to me). But “Fugue” is the story of a prisoner focused on staying quiet, staying alive. The prisoner learns of a new prisoner in the next cell over and tries to keep her quiet, but the despair of the story starts changing to hope we learn more of the music mages and why they are feared. Surprisingly good, but that has been my impression of most of the Weird Tales stories – I don’t expect much going in and I have been pleasantly surprised nearly every time.

“Bagged Lunch”, Patrice E. Sarath: The ending to “Bagged Lunch” is a bit of a let down, but up until that point this is a fascinating story and outside of the Kitty Norville story, it would be my favorite in the issue. There is a thief in an office lunch room, he steals 1 lunch a day but not every day. He has a badge, but is not an employee. Nobody sees him do it, though it gets caught on camera and the thief grins up at the camera. I love the idea, I love most of the execution, and then by the end when things are explained, that’s when Patrice Sarath loses me. Up until that point, though – good stuff.

“Tom Edison and His Telegraphic Harpoon”, by Jay Lake: Jay Lake brings so much that I should love to the table with this story. We have some alternate history with a young Thomas Edison fighting an angel from heaven (though, perhaps not heaven, it is nephalim, not seraphim), using electricity and science to expand America to the West, and as one can guess from the title – using a harpoon gun to get things done. And yet, I was bogged down a bit by the story. I’m not sure if it was the period detail, or the slow pacing until we got to the actual fight, or just that for whatever reason the story did not work for me. There was something here that just put me off, and I have enjoyed some of Lake’s other short fiction (and I have a copy of his novel Mainspring sitting on my bookshelf which I am still interested in reading, so it’s not Lake himself). Dunno.

“Kitty’s Zombie New Year”, by Carrie Vaughn: I have no complaints when I am gifted with a new Kitty Norville story, this time at a New Year’s Eve Party in Denver where a zombie is discovered on the doorstep. The fact that Kitty is a werewolf doesn’t have a blessed thing to do with this story, and I only mention it because, well, it is still character defining and part of the series of novels Carrie Vaughn has written. Basically, I like this one. It’s Carrie Vaughn, and it’s Kitty.

“In the Company of Women”, by Marcie Tentchoff & Mikal Trimm: The shortest story in this issue was an oddity of a man with certain skills digging up the corpse of a woman he once loved and talking to the disembodied spirit of his grandmother via her skull. A very odd story, but disturbingly weird and satisfying at the same time. “In the Company of Women” did not need to be any longer than it was.

“Strawberry Thief”, by Ian Creasey: This is the only story in this issue I did not / would not finish. It started with something about being the Queen of Elfland and I lost interest not long after that. “Strawberry Thief” was also the longest story in the issue and after a page of this text I could not imagine reading two more pages, let along 28 more pages. I don’t even have a specific criticism, just that I lost all interest in “Strawberry Thief” very quickly.


Anonymous said...


I do appreciate your kind words regarding my story "Bagged Lunch" and only wanted to point out that my last name is Sarath, not Smith. This happens a lot and I just wanted to set the record straight.


Patrice Sarath

Joe said...

My apologies. I'm not sure how that happened since I had the issue in front of me when I wrote up the entry.

Corrections have been made in the entry.