the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Seanan McGuire’ Category

Seanan McGuire has been all over Hugo nominations these last few years. I admit I’ve read very little of her work, so these two novelettes served as a good introduction to her urban fantasy. Both novelettes take place in the same universe as the October Daye series, but these aren’t stories about Toby Daye, but rather the supernatural fae and luidaeg creatures who also inhabit the world. It’s my personal opinion that Hugo nominated work should stand on its own, so don’t worry if you go into these having not read anything in the October Daye series, or anything else of McGuire’s.

This post finishes off my reviews of the Hugo nominated novelettes. Click back a couple of days to read my reviews of The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi by Pat Catigan, Fade to White by Catherynne M. Valente and The Boy Who Cast No Shadow by Thomas Olde Heuvelt.

sea salt tears

In Sea Salt Tears
(available to read for free, here)

I always like me a Selkie story, but the conceit that not all Selkies receive a skin is a refreshing twist. In a skinning ceremony, a young Selkie receives their skin because an elderly relative has finally decided to pass it on. Each family has a limited number of skins, and children know their chances at inheriting a skin are directly proportional to their status in their families. Put bluntly, black sheep don’t swim.

Liz and her friends are “celebrating” that their friend Daisy finally received her skin. And by celebrating I mean they all smile and hug Daisy and say how happy they are for her, and then retreat to the beach to drink and feel sorry for themselves. Liz is only sixteen, too young to be cynical, but too old to be as naive as the children who are still playing at the beach house. She’ll get her skin any year now, right?

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Feed, by Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire)

published in 2010

where I got it: library










Feed isn’t a zombie book. It’s an anti-fear, anti-stupid, pro-truth and pro-common sense story that’s cleverly disguised as a zombie book. It’s a story about the power of information, the power of censorship, and the paralyzing power of fear. The obsession with security and  blood testing is a mirror held up to our fears of terrorism, catching diseases, and general anxiety about, well, everything.  At times, Feed reminded me of some recent Cory Doctorow books, and that’s also a good thing.  Also, I find the title highly amusing as some nice wordplay on what the zombie virus makes a (dead) person do, and what we call a chronological listing of blog updates.

Feed is my first zombie book, so I could be completely wrong thinking most zombie books take place during the zombie outbreak, and focus on survival. The first trick that Mira Grant flawlessly pulls off is setting her story nearly a generation after the original zombie outbreak. We’re twenty some years into it, and cities have strict security,  blood testing for the virus is nearly everywhere, and society seems to run on a healthy dose of government promoted fear.

In Mira Grant’s future Earth, it was the combination of two supposedly harmless viruses that caused the zombie apocalypse. Trick number two that she pulls off is medical infodumps that are actually interesting. Bah interesting, they are downright fascinating. Everyone is infected with a sleeping version of the virus, and when you die, the virus comes alive, reanimating you.

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Due to an odd turn of events at work, I get to enjoy a 2 hour drive each day for the next four days. Thank goodness for podcasting is all I gotta say. I wanted some new goodies, so on Sunday, I asked the twittersphere for some podcast recommendations and reloaded ye olde mp3 player.

A big shout out to blogger KJ Mulder (twitter CrusaderofChaos) for recommending the stellar StarShip Sofa. (other folks recommended some great ones too, this just happened to be the one I turned on this morning) Hosted by the velvety voiced Tony Smith, StarShip Sofa won the 2010 Hugo for best Podcast. There’s plenty more awesome on that sofa, so head over to their website and check them out.

I downloaded a few recent episodes, and early this morning fired up Episode 245 featuring Seanan McGuire’s (you may know her as Mira Grant) short story Crystal Halloway and the Forgotten Passage, which is in the new John Joseph Adams Anthology Other Worlds Than These, and was read by the lovely Christie Yant. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read any Seanan McGuire, so this would be my first exposure to her fiction.

All I will tell you about the story is that it is about a young woman who grows up. That is all. To tell you anything more would wreck everything.

But ahh, as I am quickly learning, Seanan McGuire is pure magic. A simple sounding story about a girl growing up  turned into a fragile state of brilliance, a fading rainbow, a moment of perfection that ended too soon. There is a good reason she is up for a gazillion awards (a record breaking four hugo noms!).

So go download the podcast, go listen to the story.

But don’t make the same mistake I made:

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About this redhead, etc.

Redhead is a snarky, non-politically correct 30-something who reviews mostly science fiction and fantasy and talks about all sorts of other fun scifi and fantasy geekery. She once wrote a haiku that included the word triskaidekaphobia.

This blog contains adult language and strong opinions. The best way to contact her outside of this blog is twitter, where she is @redhead5318 .

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.