Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
There are quite a few eras I’m glad I don’t live in. The 19th century is one of them. It’s never appealed to me and I have never been a Jane Austen fan. I’m just too blunt and straightforward for the manners of the period. For example, in Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy is trying to write a letter to his sister and he keeps getting interrupted. His response is something along the lines of, “Let me convey your sentiments to my sister another time. I don’t have the room to do justice to your words.” While that is polite and sweet, it is a far too long and roundabout way to tell someone to shut up for my taste. That’s my overall impression of the Victorian era.
You may be wondering why I chose to read Shades of Milk and Honey, since most of the reviews I’ve read so far mention Jane Austen. I was in the mood for someth... Read More
Mary Robinette KowalMary Robinette Kowal was the 2008 recipient of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and a Hugo nominee for her story “Evil Robot Monkey.” Her short fiction, including “Rampion” and “Bound Man,” has appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and many other markets. Mary, a professional puppeteer and voice actor, lives in Portland with her husband Rob and nine manual typewriters. Listen to some of her audio fiction at Mary Robinette Kowal’s website.
Shades of Milk & Honey — (2010-2013) Publisher: Shades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Jane Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality. Jane and her sister Melody vie for the attentions of eligible men, and while Jane’s skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face. When Jane realizes that one of Melody’s suitors is set on taking advantage of her sister for the sake of her dowry, she pushes her skills to the limit of what her body can withstand in order to set things right — and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
Epic: Legends of Fantasy by John Joseph Adams (editor)
Epic: Legends of Fantasy, edited by John Joseph Adams, is an anthology of stories written by some of the biggest names in epic fantasy. The book clocks in at over 600 pages not just because it’s very difficult to tell short epic stories (though some of these authors do manage to pull it off) but because here the authors are not just telling epic legends, they are legends in and of themselves. George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Robin Hobb, Paolo Bacigalupi, Brandon Sanderson, Ursula K. LeGuin, Kate Elliott, Orson Scott Card, Tad Williams, Aliette de Bodard, Michael Moorcock, Melanie Rawn, Mary Robinette Kowal, N.K. Jemisin, Carrie Vaughn, Trudi Canavan, and Juliet Marillier all contributed stories to this volume.
Epic: Legends of Fantasy opens with a novella by Robin... Read More
Scenting the Dark and Other Stories — (2009) Publisher: These things await you: Love and hope in the aftermath of a very personal environmental apocalypse. Fear that comes in being trapped in your own body, enslaved by your own faulty synapses. Dread in a cure that works in unexpected ways. Discovery of what you’ve always known, but couldn’t face, about your own lover. Explore these and more in the seven beautiful, wounded landscapes of Scenting the Dark, the first collection from Campbell Award-winner Mary Robinette Kowal. Her lean, vigorous style has been satisfying readers since 2006, including multiple appearances in Year’s Best lists. The stories here lay bare the ways we try to prevent, contain and repair the damaged world around us, the further harm we can cause by trying, and why every moment of joyous, defiant struggle is worth it — if you have love enough, and hope.
“For Want of a Nail” – ”For Want of a Nail” is the 2011 Hugo-nominated story by award-winning author, Mary Robinette Kowal. This science-fiction short story explores the complex choices that an AI and her wrangler must make to solve a seemingly simple technical problem. Also in this edition, is bonus material that includes author’s notes as well as a look at the writing process. The original and unedited first draft of this story has a completely different plot. Read it and the brainstorming notes to get a peek into the creative process.
Apex Magazine is an online journal published on the first Monday of every month, edited by Catherynne M. Valente. Valente’s submission guidelines give you a clear idea of what to expect to read within Apex’s pixels: “What we want is sheer, unvarnished awesomeness.… We want stories full of marrow and passion, stories that are twisted, strange, and beautiful.” The January issue definitely meets those requirements.
“The Itaewon Eschatology Show” by Douglas F. Warrick is a story that cries out to be labeled “New Weird.” It’s about an American in Korea – though why he is there is a complete mystery – who is a “night clown.” This means that every night he, along with his friend Kidu, dresses up and mounts stilts to perform magic for the ex... Read More
The June 2011 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction has a beautiful cover of a woman who is partly constructed of a gold metallic weave. The artist, Jacques Barbey, poses her at the shore of a river or lake golden with the sunset, wearing a headdress that appears to be functional in some way, apparently as a weapon. It doesn’t seem to match up to any of the stories in this issue, but it is a lovely image all on its own. And who says fantastic paintings need to refer to anything but the artist’s own imagination, anyway?
Most of the issue is consumed by a new novella by Mary Robinette Kowal, “Kiss Me Twice.” This accomplished work is a true science fiction mystery, which is much harder to pull off than might be immediately apparent. The author can’t pull ... Read More
I do not envy the awards panel for the Nebula Awards this year. There are two excellent novellas equally deserving of the award in that category.
The first of the novellas I refer to is “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” by Ken Liu. This story concerns the Pingfang District in China and the infamous Unit 731 maintained there by the Japanese for biological and chemical weapons research before and during World War II. I had never heard of Unit 731 before reading this novella, and was shocked to learn of its existence and the role of the United States in hushing it up after the war in order to profit from the research. It sounds so innocuous to refer to “the research”: in fact, the Japanese used Chinese peasants for their research, including amputating limbs, infecting them with syphilis, and vivisection without anesthesia. But Liu hasn’t written ... Read More