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Vanishing Acts: A Science Fiction Anthology
by Ellen Datlow (Editor)
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Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312869614, Paperback)Ellen Datlow has a fine reputation as an editor of original anthologies, both solo (Little Deaths, Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers) and with Terri Windling (their adult fairy-tale series includes Black Heart, Ivory Bones). With Windling she also edits the annual reprint volume The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. This collection, fifteen stories and one poem, is unusual in that the pieces are a mix of originals and reprints.
The central theme is that of endangered species: plant and animal, human and alien, real and imagined. The seven pieces that stand out include all four reprints. Bruce McAllister's "The Girl Who Loved Animals" and Karen Joy Fowler's "Faded Roses" are both set in near futures bereft of most of the mammal species we love. Both cultures try different solutions. Both stories are unbearably sad. Also poignant but uplifting in its theme of the redemptive power of music is Suzy McKee Charnas's "Listening to Brahms." M. Shayne Bell's "The Thing About Benny" is a more dispassionate examination of the practical impact of reduced biodiversity, and Mark W. Tiedemann gives us a cautionary tale of difference--and possibilities wrenched from our grasp. Interestingly, it is the oldest piece in the book, Avram Davison's "Now Let Us Sleep," that perhaps comes closest to mirroring third-millennial angst, cynicism, and despair. The last story, however, is the utterly delightful "Seventy-two Letters," a new novella from Ted Chiang, that allows the reader to close the book feeling hopeful about the perpetual self-renewal of life. --Luc Duplessis
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:17 -0400)
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