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2011 Stories 62 - 66

A  bit of a mixed bag of sources and genres this time out.

62. Going For A Beer by Robert Coover, from the March 14, 2011 issue of The New Yorker.  It reads like flash fiction -- if it's over 1,000 words it can't be by much since the story is one magazine page long -- and I'm afraid to say I just didn't get it. A whole life squeezed into one page, it seems to be a treatise on how fast life goes and how we don't really notice or remember most of what we do, but I couldn't figure out if all of this was really happening, or if it was the main character's fever dream after too much beer and a bad one night stand. And I found that, ultimately, I really didn't care what happened to the main character.

63. Silver Blaze
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. I've got a goal of reading all the Holmes stuff in the next year or so (minus the stories I read last year), so I'm picking up the next short story collection. Silver Blaze is a horse-racing related mystery. The titular horse goes missing two nights before a big race, and the trainer is killed. Holmes and Watson come to investigate. I was actually invested in this and was gratified that I figured out the "who" before Holmes revealed it, although I got there a little differently than he did.

64. Fang and Sting by Win Scott Eckert, from The Green Hornet Chronicles  Win Eckert crafts another bit of extended Wold-Newton universe fun, putting the Hornet in a difficult situation: an Asian mastermind is framing the Hornet for crimes he is committing, and claiming to be partnership with the Hornet. Britt Reid and Kato have to figure out who the mastermind is, where to find him, and how to stop the crimes and somewhat clear the Hornet's name. There's also a nice bit at the end that fills in what I suspect is a question that has long bothered Hornet fans. I'm not as well-versed on the Hornet's history as some are, but I appreciated the little nod.

65. Zorro's Rival  by Win Scott Eckert from More Tales of Zorro Likewise, I'm not as well-versed on the history of Zorro as some. (One of these days, I intend to read that collection of original Zorro stories by Johnston McCulley that's been sitting on my bookshelf for ages.)  Once again, Eckert puts together a really fun story about Zorro meeting El Halcon, who also seems to be working for the benefit of the downtrodden people Zorro usually helps. There are the usual Eckert Wold-Newton winks and nods; I'm sure I didn't pick up on all of them. Eckert captures all of the chivalrous derring-do we associate with Zorro thanks to the tv series.

66. If Only To Taste Her Again by E. Catherine Tobler, from Historical Lovecraft.  I was intrigued by the concept of the anthology: extending the themes and background of Lovecraft's Chthulu Mythos beyond early 20th century New England. I found out about the anthology through Tobler's LJ (greygirl ) so I read her story first. Set in Ancient Egypt, it hits all the right Lovecraftian notes: a hapless human who slowly becomes aware of the creeping oddness and insanity surrounding him, lots of sensory detail and that feeling that reality has shifted under the narrator's, and the reader's, feet. Returning from a diplomatic mission to a far-away land, the narrator knows that something is not right with the gifts he has brought back for Pharoah Hatshepsut but can't quite vocalize what is wrong. This might be one of my favorite "new Lovecraft" stories ever.


A Story A Day Keeps Boredom Away

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