In case you’re curious, the winners of the WF Aware are:
- WINNER: Saint Death’s Daughter, C.S.E. Cooney
Congratulations to Clair Cooney! She read a bit from the sequel at WFC, and I liked the story and REALLY liked her energy during the reading. Given that some of you gave a thumbs up to this book, I guess I’ll pick up a copy. Oh, look, the publisher had the basic good sense to drop the price to $0.99. That’s a great idea. I’m sure I’m not the only one picking up a copy this week. If you’re interested, here’s the description:
Lanie Stones, the daughter of the Royal Assassin and Chief Executioner of Liriat, has never led a normal life. Born with a gift for necromancy and a literal allergy to violence, she was raised in isolation in the family’s crumbling mansion by her oldest friend, the ancient revenant Goody Graves. When her parents are murdered, it falls on Lanie and her cheerfully psychotic sister Nita to settle their extensive debts or lose their ancestral home—and Goody with it. Appeals to Liriat’s ruler to protect them fall on indifferent ears… until she, too, is murdered, throwing the nation’s future into doubt. Hunted by Liriat’s enemies, hounded by her family’s creditors and terrorised by the ghost of her great-grandfather, Lanie will need more than luck to get through the next few months—but when the goddess of Death is on your side, anything is possible.
- WINNER: Pomegranates, Priya Sharma
Here’s the discription:
Pomegranates is a dystopian tale, where climate change is an all-too-real backdrop to the events of the novella. Persephone is in the Underworld, relating her family’s history to a human who’s found his way there. As events unfold, and we see the horror her anger has unleashed on the world, we’re drawn deeper and deeper into the heart of this amazing story. The author has drawn a vivid picture of the world’s decay set against the backdrop of the repercussions of a dysfunctional family. And what a family it is―the gods themselves, bringing destruction on us all.
AAGH NO RUN AWAY. Sorry, but there is absolutely no way I would read this. If this were the last novella on Earth, I would write something else rather than read this. I mean, congratulations, I guess, but no.
And I like the Persephone myth too. But definitely not this iteration.
Best Short Fiction
- WINNER: “Incident at Bear Creek Lodge”, Tananarive Due (Other Terrors: An Inclusive Anthology)
Oh, this is careless! The description refers to this anthology as Other Fears, not by the actual title on the cover, which is Other Terrors. Ouch! Not a good look for the publisher. I expect they’ll fix it eventually, but ouch. It’s a horror anthology, as one would expect. Not interested. But if you are, here’s a brief review:
The one I absolutely adore, admire, envy and will be dreaming about is “Incident at Bear Creek Lodge” by Tananarive Due, which closes out the collection with the period tale of a young Miami boy traveling to the lodge of his faded-celebrity grandmother, a terrible person. Over the course of the story he finds out, without quite understanding, what bitter pill exists in her past, and at the end there is a manifestation of something else horrific, that I suspect may baffle some readers: i.e., where the hell does this thing come from, and what does it have to do with all that came before? I reply that what it is a rather ingenious, and hellacious, metaphor for the devil’s bargain the grandmother has made, and the profit she sought for the deal; and Due could have included a page or two of rancid exposition explaining exactly what she sought to say with it, but I much prefer to have processed her point the way she wanted to, with the last images of the narrative reverberating my head. It is the best story in the collection, and I happily report that this is saying a whole lot.