Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

Unwelcome Bodies
Writer: Jennifer Pelland
Genre: Short Stories/Science Fiction/Horror
Pages: 247

When I heard Pelland was releasing a short story collection, I was very excited. Granted, I’ve only read two of her short stories, but the one really stuck with me. Pelland has a smooth, clean writing style and her story ideas can really knock a person on their ass.

Unwelcome Bodies is a collection that focuses on a variety of issues: the environment, religion, and terrorism, and the one thing that unites these stories is the character’s body image and how they fit into the world/society around them. Each of the stories are different and unique, and most all of the stories balance a wonderful blend of science fiction and horror. This collection is an easy one to recommend.

The full story-by-story review, which does include spoilers in some cases, is in my journal. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.

REVIEW: Jennifer Pelland’s UNWELCOME BODIES

Happy Reading!

Shara Saunsaucie

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Apricot Brandy
Writer: Lynn Cesar
Genre: Fantasy/Contemporary
Pages: 300

I was really looking forward to this book. Intriguing title, beautiful cover, and a lesbian protagonist, the latter of which is super-cool, since JUNO has so far published romantic fantasy, so if the protag was a lesbian, I was guaranteed something different. And speaking of different, this modern fantasy takes place in a small town somewhere in the west, using Mayan mythology to boot.

It should’ve been awesome. It wasn’t. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.

The full review where I rant and rave and spoil the heck out of the book is in my journal. As always, comments and discussion are most appreciated.

REVIEW: Lynn Cesar’s APRICOT BRANDY

Happy Reading!

Shara Saunsaucie

Jennifer Pelland is one twisted writer. I should start by admitting upfront that I’m a fan of her stories and have been for a while. So when I was offered the chance to review Unwelcome Bodies, her upcoming collection , I jumped.

Many short story collections, even single author collections, are arranged around a theme. I don’t think Pelland had to hunt around for hers much. All of the stories in the collection deal very distinctly with the body – it’s limitations, desires, and possibilities. Even many other stories of hers that didn’t make it into the collection (like Dazz and Mercytanks) are about the cutting up of or the living out of one’s body, respectively.

The first eight stories in the collection have been previously published. The second one, “Big Sister/Little Sister,” made the biggest impression on me. It’s part horror, part scifi. It is unflinching, but not gory. One of the things that Pelland often does best is to keep the language simple whenever possible. The story carries enough weirdness on its own without having to get into detail about this near future world. The hideousness is in the humans, not the technology.

Similar in tone is “Captive Girl,” one of the other standout stories. It’s on the preliminary Nebula ballot, for good reason. It’s both terrifying and touching – a powerful story. In her notes, Pelland writes that she was thinking “about how terrified I was at the thought of total captivity…And because I’m a sicko, I turned it into a love story.” I can’t describe it any better myself.

“The Call” is told in the second person, and it’s one of those stories that just works, partly because of how short it is.

“Flood” was the only story that really left me cold. It’s confusing, and the end happens too fast. I’m not sure it accomplishes what it is trying to do. In fact another story, “Songs of Lament” seems to be everything “Flood” wanted to be, and to do it faster and sharper, with a brilliantly interesting premise. I was amazed at how short “Songs of Lament” really was when I went back and looked at it. It’s an example to short story writers of how to put volumes into just a few hundred words.

“Brushstrokes” is the grand finale, one of the longest and most absorbing stories in the collection. It does the opposite trick that “Big Sister/Little Sister” does, in that the story it tells is an old one (though still a cautionary tale) but it’s the ethereal world Pelland creates that draws you in. It is an earth-worshipping culture that lives among clouds and air – or not, depending on your caste. Each morning the main character must paint his face before going out, reminding us of other cultures that require certain segments of the population to cover themselves before being seen in public.

Unwelcome Bodies comes out on Feb. 29th. You can order in online from Apex Books here.

So it’s taken me forever to get this list together, and for that I apologize. 🙂 I’m going to divide this post into two categories: novels and YA. I’ll make a separate post for short stories. In the future, I think it’ll be easier for me to post a review per book, but for now, let’s go with the list. 🙂

Shara Saunsaucie

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