Tag Archives: Matthew Kressel

Naked City edited by Ellen Datlow

Overview
naked-city

Title: Naked City
Author: Ellen Datlow, Jim Butcher, Delia Sherman, Richard Bowes, Ellen Kushner, Christopher Fowler, Patricia Briggs, Pat Cadigan, Peter S. Beagle, Naomi Novik, Matthew Kressel, Kit Reed, Lavie Tidhar, Nathan Ballingrud, Melissa Marr, John Crowley, Holly Black, Jeffrey Ford, Lucius Shepard, Caitlin R. Kiernan & Elizabeth Bear
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 28th June – 26th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Out in Brooklyn in a couple of spots you can walk down a street and almost think it’s a hundred and twenty-five years ago.

Synopsis

In this thrilling collection of original stories, some of today’s hottest paranormal authors delight, thrill, and captivate readers with otherworldly tales of magic and mischief. In Jim Butcher’s “Curses”, Harry Dresden investigates how to lift a curse laid by the Fair Folk on the Chicago Cubs. In Patricia Briggs’s “Fairy Gifts”, a vampire is called home by magic to save the Fae who freed him from a dark curse. In Melissa Marr’s “Guns for the Dead”, the newly dead Frankie Lee seeks a job in the afterlife on the wrong side of the law. In Holly Black’s “Noble Rot”, a dying rock star discovers that the young woman who brings him food every day has some strange appetites of her own.

Featuring original stories from twenty authors, this dark, captivating, fabulous, and fantastical collection is not to be missed!

Thoughts

This is a seriously diverse collection of urban fantasy short stories. Not to mention fun and engaging. Probably moving right to the top of my list if I’m being honest. Normally my purview of urban fantasy is kind of small. But the breadth and width of these stories and the style in which they’re written… just wow.

I loved the fact that most of these short stories were standalones. I used to really enjoy finding new series through short stories and novellas. But, I have so many now that sometimes just reading a standalone without having to hunt out more of that world (I’m obsessive, I do this EVERY time) was kind of nice. I got a great taste of the imaginations and storytelling talents of a variety of authors, without actually feeling the need to buy more, more, more. Honestly, there is nothing worse than finding myself a new series to obsess over and then realising that I have a whole slew of new books to buy…

Although this is an urban fantasy collection, it does have a darker twist to it than usual. Every single one of these stories is a little bit dark, a lot bit fun and most don’t have a happy ending. Which, I tend to love, because I get a bit over all the happily ever afters… but it’s definitely something to keep in mind as you rip through the stories.

<- CorpsemouthCurses ->

Image source: Patricia Briggs

The Bricks of Gelecek by Matthew Kressel

Overview
naked-city

Title: The Bricks of Gelecek
Author: Matthew Kressel
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Music, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 15th October 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: But you have.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

He is an annihilator. One who destroys cities, and then doesn’t remember them. Until he meets a young girl with a gift for songs… and he realises that maybe he shouldn’t forget what he’s destroyed.

Thoughts

Many mythologies have a creature of destruction woven into their stories somewhere… but I’ve never read a short story in which one such creature felt regret. Of any kind. Which made this incredibly enjoyable. I love when a story takes a slightly different spin. Instead of being the antagonist, the brother of destruction was simply doing what he’d been born to do. Until he found a conscience…

The power of music is something that has always fascinated me. And filled my life with happiness. Which meant that the use of music to bring a conscience to an annihilator hit a great chord with me. After all, music is often about memories. And love. All of which are eventually realised, and the course of one beings life changed for ever.

Cities come and go. That’s a part of history, and it’s not entirely ridiculous. Yet, this story really helps to drive home that when your city disappears, eventually no one will remember it… ever. It’s a little bit sad, a little bit nostalgic. But mostly, it’s a great reality check and reminder of reality.

 <- Priced to Sell ReviewWeston Walks Review ->
Image source: Patricia Briggs

Mad Hatters and March Hares edited by Ellen Datlow

Overview
Image result for mad hatters and march hares ellen datlow book cover

Title: Mad Hatters and March Hares
Author: Ellen Datlow, Kris Dikeman, Delia Sherman, C. S. E. Cooney, Jane Yolen, Priya Sharma, Richard Bowes, Stephen Graham Jones, Jeffrey Ford, Angela Slatter, Matthew Kressel, Seanan McGuire, Andy Duncan, Kaaron Warren, Ysabeau S. Wilce, Genevieve Valentine, Catherynne M. Valente & Katherine Vaz
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Retellings, Short story collections, Wordplay
Dates read: 22nd December 2018 – 29th March 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Beyond it were the cells.

Synopsis

From Master Anthologist Ellen Datlow comes an all-original book of weird tales inspired by the strangeness of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.

Between the hallucinogenic, weird, imaginative wordplay and the brilliant mathematical puzzles and social satire, Alice has been read, enjoyed, and savored by every generation since its publication. Datlow asked seventeen of the most brilliant and acclaimed writers working today to dream up stories inspired by all the strange events and surreal characters found in Wonderland.

Thoughts

I began my obsession with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in childhood, but kind of forgot about it until the last year – when I finally got around to reading the original story! And then my obsession began to take a bit of a turn for the… well, obsessive… so I bought this collection as soon as I found it. And opened the page within days of receiving it.

This collection takes all of the many aspects of Alice in Wonderland and turns them around and around until your dizzy. From cute poems, to horrific ideals about Alis and retellings of particular aspects of the original. This collection of short stories and poems has it all. And it is just impossible to put down!

My only piece of advice with this amazing collection is to maybe not read these tales when you’ve been drinking. I tried a few times and it just makes you feel incredibly tripped out. And confused. And just not really sure where reality is situated… kind of like the original.

<- Children of the FangGentle Alice ->

Image source: Bookdepository

The Mammoth Book of Steampunk edited by Sean Wallace

Overview
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk

Title: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk
Author: Sean Wallace, Ekaterina Sedia, Jeff VanderMeer, Caitlin R. Kiernan, E. Catherine Tobler, Jay Lake, Genevieve Valentine, Cat Rambo, Shweta Narayan, Aliette de Bodard, N.K. Jemisin, Peter M. Ball, Sharon Mock, Catherynne M. Valente, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Eileen Gunn, Michael Swanwick, Tobias S. Buckell, Matthew Kressel, Margo Lanagan, Amal El-Mohtar, Barth Anderson, Jeffrey Ford, James Morrow, Cherie Priest, Margaret Ronald, Megan Arkenberg, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Mary Robinette Kowal, Samantha Henderson, Nick Mamatas, Nicole Kornher-Stace & Lavie Tidhar
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Short story collections, Steampunk
Dates read: 3rd October 2018 – 6th March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: He was in his library, or so he called it, a small room that smelled of pipe tobacco and old leather, so close that one could barely breathe.

Synopsis

30 anarchic mash-ups of past and future that push the boundaries of steampunk.

Great steampunk stories confront an uneasy history of oppression – of women, other ‘races’ and classes – and the abuse of science, by reimagining the past. The writers represented in this outsatnding collection look to the future through the lens of the past, imagining worlds in which technology is used to uplift rather than to oppress.

Thoughts

I’ve only recently gotten involved in steampunk. It’s a genre that I only started reading late last year and one that I kind of love. Although, as I discovered with this collection of short stories, it is also a genre that I have to concentrate a little more to read (unlike genre such as romance).

This anthology runs the gambit of steampunk stories and brings a number of themes, styles and settings to life. It is a perfect way to completely disappear from the world after a long day. Although, with many of the themes, once you have finished the story you are thrown back into reality ten times more heavily than you were before. After all, most of these stories have a great commentary about the world that we live in today.

From capitalism to feminist movements, every major issue and discussion that seems to be occurring in modern society is touched upon in this collection. Yet, these aren’t all serious commentaries on the world. Some of the stories are kind of hilarious, and some are downright weird. The one thing that they all have in common is that they are thoroughly enjoyable and have helped to give me a new addiction.

<- The TraitorSteampunk: Looking to the Future Through the Lens of the Past ->

Image source: Amazon

In Memory of a Summer’s Day by Matthew Kressel

Overview
Image result for mad hatters and march hares ellen datlow book cover

Title: In Memory of a Summer’s Day
Author: Matthew Kressel
In: Mad Hatters and March Hares (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fantasy, Wordplay
Dates read: 28th January 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Can we play with them, forever and ever?

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Tours to Wonderland aren’t quite what one would expect… and they can leave you a little bit twisted and turned around. Whether you are a guest or a tour guide.

Thoughts

I don’t know if I’d ever willingly go on a tour through Wonderland. There just seems to be far too much that can, and will, go wrong. And this short story reinforces that idea. I definitely only ever want to read about Alice’s adventures… the real place just seems far too dangerous and bizarre.

Although this short story isn’t as heavy on the wordplay as some of the others in this collection, it is still kind of twisting and turning in the way it tells the narrative. Kind of like the original journey through wonderland… it is kind of hard to keep track of what exactly is happening and where they are. Yet, there are all of the hallmarks that everyone remembers from the original. Including Alice. Which was kind of sad…

 <- Run, Rabbit ReviewSentence Like a Saturday Review ->
Image source: Bookdepository

The Hands That Feed by Matthew Kressel

Overview
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk

Title: The Hand That Feed
Author: Matthew Kressel
In: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: LGBTQISteampunk
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: “Tell me, Divya,” I said.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Jessica Rowe has employed Divya in her store, but she might be slowly falling for the quiet beauty. Sadly, ambitions, prejudice and a mayor candidate might be getting in the way of their happily ever after.

Thoughts

I enjoyed the slight hint of an LGBTQI relationship throughout this story – it wasn’t intense and overbearing, but there was enough that this short story gets put on the LGBTQI shelf in my collection. I also liked that you constantly questioned the actual motives of Divya as you could further see Jessica falling for her… there was just something slightly and uncomfortably off in their interactions that doesn’t truly click until the very end of the storyline when everything is revealed.

Small automatons running through the streets at night stealing objects for their master and ensuring her livelihood seems like a great novel to be honest. I’m a little bit disappointed that it was such a short story! Although, every good short story leaves me wanting more, so I suppose it’s doing that job amazingly well. The world building, characterisation and development of relationships in such a few pages was so well done, that this story continues to linger long after you have turned the final page.

 <- The People’s Machine ReviewMachine Maid Review ->
Image source: Amazon