Tag Archives: Michael Swanwick

Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for sirens and other daemon lovers book cover

Title: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers: Magical Tales of Love and Seduction
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Storm Constantine, Delia Sherman, Joyce Carol Oates, Tanith Lee, Edward Bryant, Garry Kilworth, Michael Swanwick, Elizabeth E. Wein, Pat Murphy, Ellen Steiber, Jane Yolen, Dave Smeds, Neil Gaiman, Doris Egan, Melissa Lee Shaw, Kelley Eskridge, Brian Stableford, Conrad Williams, Mark W. Tiedemann, Ellen Kushner, Wendy Froud & Bruce Glassco
In: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Lust, Paranormal fantasy, Paranormal romance, Short story collections
Dates read: 6th January – 19th May 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: EOS
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: She abruptly saw herself as if from another’s eyes, toiling in dirty work clothes with the sharp blades, the mirror, the powdered remains.

Synopsis

Prepare to be seduced by powerful magic — the sorcery of lust, need, and sensuality. Multiple award-winners Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling have gathered together twenty-two tales of unearthly temptations wickedly concocted by some of today’s most potent literary conjurers — including Neil Gaiman, Jan Yolen, Michael Swanwick, and Joyce Carol Oates. Here are stories of incubi and succubi, of forbidden fruits harvested in erotic gardens, of pleasures that persist beyond death. So heed the sirens’ song. Lie back, relax, and submit to the darkest delights you have ever experienced.

Thoughts

This collection isn’t quite toe curling, it isn’t quite horrific, but a nice mix between the two. It makes you think about the weirdness of sexuality. And the uniqueness of those things that go bump in the night. And thrive upon our sexual, deepest, darkest desires. I was honestly expecting this to be a little more of an uncomfortable read. However, mostly, I just found it intriguing.

This is a great collection of some very familiar authors, and some very new authors. It was a good way to depart from the realities of the world and be entertained by the imaginations of some very creative people. It wasn’t necessarily my favourite collection ever, the thread tying each of these tales together wasn’t as distinct as other collections. But it was a seriously enjoyable journey regardless.

This is definitely a collection that I’ll pick up again at some point in the future. It’s fun, light and easy. Also, there are a number of authors that I still need to hunt out books for… I enjoyed each and everyone of these stories.

<- ToadMy Lady of the Hearth ->

Image source: Goodreads

Midnight Express by Michael Swanwick

Overview
Image result for sirens and other daemon lovers book cover

Title: Midnight Express
Author: Michael Swanwick
In: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Lust
Dates read: 12th Februrary 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: EOS
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: Phew!

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

Synopsis

His job is to travel across the fae dimensions to find and work with new clients. On his first trip out, he finds an intriguing fae female who manages to tick all of the right buttons.

Thoughts

The set up for this short story is brilliant. The entire thing is a two-way conversation between the would-be lovers. And then the lovers during the act. It’s not only able to describe what is going on between the characters, but also the world that is built up in this story. It’s amazing how such a unique structure creates a wonderful story that lingers long after you turn the final page.

Pretty sure that in this story, the female lover is a sphinx. Which is something I just don’t want to imagine… a sphinx and a human. It’s more than a little weird, and it’s definitely got a totally different “flavor” going on. It really doesn’t sound like a very fun romp in the sheets. Especially when she has to ask you a riddle each time… and that defines whether you live or die.

This short story is kind of insane and intense. In all of the best ways possible. But still kind of insane and intense. There is just something a little bit wow about it all. Taking a totally different approach, creating a storyline around it and just twisting all of your expectations. That is definitely what I would call an intense short story.

<- MirrorsNo Human Hands to Touch ->

Image source: Goodreads

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

Zeppelin City by Eileen Gunn & Michael Swanwick

Overview
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk

Title: Zeppelin City
Author: Eileen Gunn & Michael Swanwick
In: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Steampunk
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: Come with me a minute.

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

Radio, Amelia and Ruddy live in a word that is governed by the Naked Brain. But things are about to change. Drastically.

Thoughts

I don’t know where to put this story in my head and my heart. I really enjoyed the ways in which Radio, Amelia and Ruddy’s different journeys all intermingled together to structure the entire story. I loved the idea of a set of weird, bodiless brains controlling the population and the commentary on how technology rules our lives. Or at least, that’s what I got out of it.

Jumping between three characters in a short story can feel very chaotic and unwieldy. And it did a little in this short tale, but not overbearingly so. Actually, the feeling of confusion added to the storyline and the sense of the three key characters running around in a world in which they have no control. It worked amazingly well and in a way that I didn’t in the slightest expect.

I’m finding as I go through The Mammoth Book of Steampunk that the storylines are intense, emotional and using techniques and storylines that I have never come across before. Something which I am completely loving. And this was certainly one of the best tales for this.

 <- Numismatics in the Reigns of Naranh and Viu ReviewThe People’s Machine Review ->
Image source: Amazon