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Eclipse 3: New Science Fiction and Fantasy…

Eclipse 3: New Science Fiction and Fantasy (2009)

by Jonathan Strahan (Editor)

Other authors: Daniel Abraham (Contributor), Peter S. Beagle (Contributor), Elizabeth Bear (Contributor), Pat Cadigan (Contributor), Paul Di Filippo (Contributor)11 more, Jeffrey Ford (Contributor), Karen Joy Fowler (Contributor), Molly Gloss (Contributor), Nicola Griffith (Contributor), Caitlín R. Kiernan (Contributor), Ellen Klages (Contributor), Ellen Kushner (Contributor), Maureen F. McHugh (Contributor), Nnedi Okorafor (Contributor), Adam Stemple (Contributor), Jane Yolen (Contributor)

Series: Eclipse Anthology (3)

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Showing 4 of 4
Definitely an above-average anthology. I picked it up because it features Maureen McHugh, among several other favorites, and it definitely did not disappoint. My only quibble: the cover. The foreword to the book goes on at great length about how awesome the cover art is. But - it is not. It is a piece by a cover artist from the 50s/60s that never got used back then - probably for good reason. It doesn't reflect the writing to be found within this volume at all. So don't let it put you off!

The Pelican Bar, Karen Joy Fowler
: First off - this is not an SF story; not even slightly. The bar of the title is a real place in Jamaica, and the reform school/jail for young persons that the story is about is a real place. I've even seen it - from a distance. (Thankfully, it closed in 2009 - but similar institutions still are in business.) That said, this is an amazingly written, powerful story, and bringing attention to the issue of parents who ship their children off to places beyond any law, where they are essentially tortured and abused, is a horribly important issue. My only fear is that, due to appearing in this venue, people might assume that the horrific elements of the story are somehow fantastic. They're, sadly, all true.

A Practical Girl, Ellen Klages: 
A young girl meets a neighbor's child, and discovers that their fathers had been good friends. Although the boy is odd, she's mystified as to why she's never met him before, and why he's about to be shipped off to a home. An invisible turtle and a magic square might help save him.

Don’t Mention Madagascar, Pat Cadigan: 
Not at all cyberpunk (which Cadigan is known for)- but a wonderful story merging time travel and actual travel. Following the clue found in a photo, two women book their trip to who-knows-where - or when.

On the Road, Nnedi Okorafor
: An African-American woman returns to Nigeria to visit family - and ends up getting in touch with her roots on a far more primeval level than she expected, as she encounters ancient magic.

Swell, Elizabeth Bear
: Magical gifts are always going wrong. Here, a siren gifts a musician with a voice beyond compare. Success and adulation looms - but can she truly accept this gift? The story has a nice message about being yourself… but I wouldn't necessarily have made the same choice!

Useless Things, Maureen F. McHugh: A sad story, set in a post-apocalyptic (but all too realistic) American West, about the erosion of trust. A dollmaker is robbed by people she tried to help. Meanwhile, her (creepy!) dolls are used to defraud… Beautifully written; very depressing.

The Coral Heart, Jeffrey Ford: 
An epic fantasy of love and revenge. In style, very like pulp fantasies of the past - I was reminded quite a bit of Moorcock's Eternal Champion series. (The knight, here, has a sword which turns all it touches to hard, red coral.)

It Takes Two, Nicola Griffith: 
I'm not generally a fan of romance. But this story was so romantic I couldn't help falling for it. It's also very hard to say anything non-spoiler-iffic about it! Does it matter why you love someone; if you love them?

Sleight of Hand, Peter S. Beagle
: A woman's husband and daughter are killed in a terrible car accident. Grief-stricken, she wishes it could have been her to die; instead of them. A mysterious old man says that if she's serious, he could make that happen… Bittersweet, lovely story.

The Pretender’s Tourney, Daniel Abraham: 
A knightly tourney should determine who the successor to a contested throne should be. Unfortunately, one of the most eligible contenders has no wish to be king, and no belief in the concept that Divine Providence will determine the outcome of such a contest. He tries to arrange to throw the fight - but not everything comes out as expected.

Yes We Have No Bananas, Paul Di Filippo
: In the absurdist vein - which is not my favorite vein; if it's yours, you will probably like this. A future world of ecological disaster, time-travelling magic, and… Josephine Baker?

Mesopotamian Fire, Jane Yolen &Adam Stemple: 
Kind of juvenile, like much of Yolen's work - but it's also just funny. Will appeal to anyone, old or young, who's ever been frustrated by the academic-paper-writing process.

The Visited Man, Molly Gloss: 
A depressed, lonely old man meets (apparently) the painter Paul Gauguin, a neighbor in his apartment building. Although their relationship is complex, the man gradually comes out of his shell… Not really a 'fantastic' story; although I guess it would have to be considered 'alternate history' as Gauguin died in the Marquesas, not in Paris.

Galápagos, Caitlin R. Kiernan: 
A woman is summoned or sent on a mission to a possibly-derelict spaceship, because her lover may or may not be the only surviving crewmember. In store for her are horrors unspeakable - as we can guess, since the story is narrated from her bed in a psychiatric ward.

Dulce Domum, Ellen Kushner: 
Hmm. Not my favorite Kushner, and not at all an SForF story. This is family drama all the way, as a man tries to avoid his family at Christmastime. Gradually, via reminiscences of childhood reading of The Wind in the Willows, the reasons for his pain and resentments are revealed. It's a nice, emotionally complex story; but I don't think it fits in with the book.
( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
The collection overall... more mediocre than good.

Story impressions from this anthology:

1: The Pelican Bar: Very unpleasant little story. Not at all sure why it's in a fantasy and science fiction anthology, so far as I can tell it's not sff at all. Not horror, either. Just unpleasant, and rather boring. Final verdict: unimpressed. Enough that I almost didn't read anything more in the anthology.

2: A Practical Girl: Loved the idea in this one, but only liked the story. Not sure why, I liked the setting, the characters, the writing... I think the ending just suddenly squatted down and chopped everything off.

3: Don't Mention Madagascar: Okay, I get it already, the pov character doesn't understand what's going on or what they're doing... now can you please for the love of whomever have her quit whining? Or at least get a clue? Seriously, if you're going to focus this much on unknown rules and almost breaking them, at least damn well break one or two of them centre stage so we know why they're important, and no, having Tall Guy jumped on and then randomly appearing impossibly thereafter doesn't count. Story left me impatient and aggravated.

4: On the Road: Okay, finally, this one I really *liked*. American-Nigerian visits her grandmother and great-aunt in the ancestral village, and meets more than she bargained for... good characters, well paced story, fascinating myth, good interweaving of the character's personal history into it. About the only quibble I have is that I would have preferred to end the story before the flight, leave it up to the reader how much was 'real'. But that's a small criticism really, and I flat-out enjoyed this story.

5: Swell: I adore a good second-person story, and this one counts. A singer tracks a blind girl to her lair, and discovers something entirely other.

6: Useless Things: Nice slice-of-life trying to survive economically in the not-too-distant future southwestern US.

7: The Coral Heart: Boring. Eminently predictable plot, derivative setting, and the author lacked the skill to make up for that with the remaining aspects of the story.

8: It Takes Two: Interesting premise - manufactured love - let down slightly by the ending. A businesswoman goes off-piste to secure a lucrative contract and her promotion to VP, and ends up in a place she never expected to be.

9: Sleight of Hand & 10: The Pretender's Tourney: Honestly the most I can say about these a week or so on is... not memorable.

11: Yes, We Have No Bananas: I just.... okay, I get it. Nice concept, actually, I like the quantum at the heart of it. But 30 odd pages is too long, and way, way too much jargon for not nearly enough story. In fact I stalled on this story for over a week because there just was not enough content to justify wading through all the jargon. Would not recommend.

12: Mesopotamian Fire: like the dragon, loathed the voice the story was written in.

13: The Visited Man: Nice portrait of recovery from grief.

14: Galapagos: I like the story, but I only sort of get it. I can't help but think I'm missing vast swathes of meaning in it... somewhere. So it's well written, but a lot puzzling, and a little irritating.

15: Dulce Domum: Ouch. Just... ouch. ( )
  tarshaan | Apr 10, 2015 |
90% fantastic. ( )
  DebbieBspinner | Apr 12, 2013 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Strahan, JonathanEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abraham, DanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beagle, Peter S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bear, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cadigan, PatContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Di Filippo, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ford, JeffreyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fowler, Karen JoyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gloss, MollyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Griffith, NicolaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kiernan, Caitlín R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Klages, EllenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kushner, EllenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McHugh, Maureen F.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Okorafor, NnediContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stemple, AdamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yolen, JaneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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To observe an eclipse is to witness a rare and unusual event. Under darkened skies the sun becomes a negative image of itself, its corona transforming the landscape into a strange space where anything might happen, and any story may be true... In the spirit of classic science fiction anthologies such as Universe, Orbit, and Starlight, master anthologist Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year) presents the non-themed genre anthology Eclipse: New Science Fiction and Fantasy. Here you will find stories where strange and wonderful things happen--where reality is eclipsed by something magical and new. Continuing in the footsteps of the multiple-award-nominated anthologies Eclipse One and Eclipse Two, Eclipse Three delivers new fiction by some of the genre's most celebrated authors, including Karen Joy Fowler's story of a family's desperation and a rebellious young woman's strange incarceration; Ellen Klages's fable of a practical girl, an unusual tortoise, and an ancient mathematical puzzle; Pat Cadigan's story of a mysterious photograph and two friends' journey through space and time in order to solve its riddle; Jeffrey Ford's tale of a legendary sword imbued with the power to turn flesh to coral, and of the artist that wields it; Daniel Abraham's story of divine providence, sacred oaths, and the omens that indicate whether a man is fit to be king; and Caitlin R. Kiernan's chronicle of an astronaut whose memories of a lover lost to an alien intelligence haunt her.… (more)

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