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Bloody Fabulous by Ekaterina Sedia

Bloody Fabulous

by Ekaterina Sedia (Editor)

Other authors: Holly Black (Contributor), Die Booth (Contributor), Richard Bowes (Contributor), Zen Cho (Contributor), John Chu (Contributor)9 more, Shirin Dubbin (Contributor), Kelly Link (Contributor), Nick Mamatas (Contributor), Sandra McDonald (Contributor), Sharon Mock (Contributor), Maria V. Snyder (Contributor), Rachel Swirsky (Contributor), Anna Tambour (Contributor), Genevieve Valentine (Contributor)

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I want to like this book--I really do. But, while some of the stories range from good to masterful, I've come across one or two that seemed poorly edited--in the sense of lacking solid revision, resulting in superficiality or confusion--and that broke the flow.
  deeEhmm | Apr 3, 2019 |
A collection of fantasy short stories with (sometimes tenuous) links to fashion.

"The Coat of Stars" by Holly Black. My favorite of the collection, combining style and characters and a fairy tale all into one touching whole. Costume designer Rafael visits his estranged family and realizes that they can still connect to each other. Even as he opens himself up to them again, though, he comes to the stunning realization that his long lost love may still be alive--and trapped under the hill.

"Savage Design" by Richard Bowes. A fashion boutique owner rides the vampire fashion fad, knowing all the while that her customers will inevitably either go through blood withdrawals or find some other trend. There isn't really a plot to this, just an unpleasant main character and unbelievable vampire fashionistas.

"Bespoke" by Genevieve Valentine. A seamstress creates historically accurate clothing for the time-traveling rich. She yearns for the beauty she creates for the jaded philistines, and looks down on the mass produced reproductions that threaten her livelihood. I loved the subtle touches about the repercussions of time travel.

"Dress Code" by Sandra McDonald. An airline attendant is an unlicensed banshee, but she sings for a man's dying father anyway. She and the man fall in love in classic, ridiculously fast paranormal romance fashion. It felt like this was a story she repurposed for this collection, adding a subplot about the main character not liking women's clothing. I found it impossible to believe that Colleen was so tormented by her liking of pants and short hair--she refuses to believe anyone could find her attractive because she has short hair, refuses to be a banshee because she thinks she'd have to wear a dress (even though this doesn't actually seem to be a requirement), and says stuff like "'Ask me if I'm a lesbian. Because that's what they call women who don't like to wear frills and lace and dresses barely to the thigh, right?'" She was born in 1988! She lives in Boston in 2012! The fae don't seem to care what she wears, anyway! So all her moaning about liking pants instead of dresses seems random and unnecessary.

"The Anadem" by Sharon Mock. A sorcerer asks a craftswoman for a diadem for his bride. Knowing that he intends to use the diadem to control the woman, she crafts it so that every line, every gem of the work acts as a reproof to his intentions. I liked this.

"The First Witch of Damansara" by Zen Cho. Vivian returns to Malaysia for her late grandmother's funeral, and finds her family at odds. Her younger sister is oddly insistent about including certain rituals in the funeral rights. Vivian helps her accept her grandmother's death, and channels her powers toward usefulness instead of destruction, while reconciling her own traditions and her fiance's. I loved this glimpse into another culture, and all the personalities came through clear and strong.

"The Fairy Handbag" by Kelly Link. Truthfully, I don't think this belonged in this anthology. It was published eight years ago, has been included in countless other collections already, and the handbag of the title concerns a girl's feelings of loss, not fashion or style. And there's nothing bloody or fabulous about this at all! It's just another of Link's elliptical, surreal stories in which nothing actually happens. As to the story itself, it's overly stylized and precious--main characters who lie and loop into tangents are so old and trite. This is basically a magical realist short story version of a Paul Zindel novel.

"The Truth or Something Beautiful" by Shirin Dubbin. One fashion house pits itself against another, until at last they turn to vampirism to maintain their eternal struggle. I dislike the purple prose, but at least it fits the collection's theme.

"Waifs" by Die Booth. Marie wants to be a fashion designer but she doesn't have much talent. She's beautiful enough to be a model, but distracts from the clothes. But Marie is obsessed with fashion and she'll be part of it no matter what. Disturbing, well told.

"Where Shadows Meet Light" by Rachel Swirsky. Princess Diana's ghost wanders the earth, and finally spends a few evenings with a tired middle aged man who just wants to be fabulous and famous. Great last few pages.

"Capturing Images" by Marie V Snyder. Confident in her photography skills, Evelyn bets a publisher that she can transform anyone from ugly to beautiful. Then the publisher sends over a vampire that the camera cannot see. I liked all the things Evelyn tries, and what eventually works--clever!

"How Galligaskins Sloughed the Scourge" by Anna Tambour. I don't know if I'm not smart enough or patient enough, but I could not get through this.

"Avant-Noob" by Nick Mamatas. Olivia finds a strange garment while thrifting, and in her struggle to figure out how to wear it finds she has friends on the internet. Already feels dated, but I like that Olivia finds a way to wear the garment without giving in to the garment's designer's controlling demands.

"Incomplete Proofs" by John Chu. In a world in which math and economics proofs are presented as clothing and physical action, Professor Grant Tsai is one of the best. The idea is strange enough that I needed to be convinced, but Chu presents it well--and does so in the background while Grant finally lets himself be ambitious. I really liked the prickly relationship between Grant and the more cut-throat mathematician/designer Duncan. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sedia, EkaterinaEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Black, HollyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Booth, DieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bowes, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cho, ZenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chu, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dubbin, ShirinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Link, KellyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mamatas, NickContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McDonald, SandraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mock, SharonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snyder, Maria V.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Swirsky, RachelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tambour, AnnaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Valentine, GenevieveContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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"Tales of tormented designers and well-dressed vampires strut into the spotlight in this anthology of fantasy tales focusing on the world of fashion and its intersection with the uncanny"--P. [4] of cover.

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