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Sidetracked by Stories

Well, I was hoping to report back tonight with lots of good story-drafting news (I had on my To-Do list for today to finish my current story-in-progress, actually). Didn't happen. Ah well.

Instead of writing, I spent most of the day out on the back deck, reading some great stories from the latest Year's Best Fantasy and Horror anthology.

Man, "Little Dead Girl Singing" by Steven Gallagher is an incredible story, a horror story that really gets under your skin by the end. Nicely done, without gore or spooks or cheap shock value. I also really liked Neil Gaiman's "Feeders and Eaters," which had a really good penultimate paragraph that also knock be back in my chair, with a final paragraph that was just bizarre. Both really great stories that I really recommend highly, if you dig well-told, unsettling tales.

I also read "Details" by China Mieville and "Hide and Seek" by Nicholas Royle, which were both good stories somewhat marred by endings that felt a bit predictable. The Mieville felt a tiny bit padded, as well. But those are nitpicks.

It's interesting that the stories I've liked best have been by British authors -- the Kelly Link story "Lull" didn't connect with me (too damn weird!), while Carlton Mellick's "Porno in August" was a fascinating, surreal read, it left me feeling a bit empty at the end, just like its waterlogged characters -- and some of the stories by American writers didn't grab me right away. Though of course, Jeffrey Ford's "Creation" as well as his "Green Word" are awesome stories, but he rarely tells a bad story.

So I've got a couple other stories to read in this antho -- the Graham Joyce story, "Coventry Boy," as well as stories by Zoran Zivkovic and Christopher Fowler. Then I may read Conjunctions at last, another top-notch anthology. The goal, of course, is to use these stories to encourage me to finish up my own stalled story.

Then it's own to more Tolkien and the new novel (thanks again to SarahP for her fascinating class notes on Tolkien! Great reading that I finally got 'round to today, on the back porch).

Now to see if my under-the-weather wife is ready to watch some "Fellowship of the Ring" on DVD (she's getting caught up on all the extras on the first 2 DVDS for both flicks). Later!

Now Playing:
"Acoustic," Radioio

Now Reading:
Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Datlow & Windling

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