Thursday, June 30, 2005

More Reading

A couple of stories from Strange Horizons .

Happily Ever Awhile by Ruth Nestvold. Nice, well written (and don’t I just hate those comments that start out “nice, well written, but…”) But…I felt like I’d read it before. It’s an “after the fairy tale,” when Ella (of Cinder fame) discovers that married life isn’t quite as blissful as it was made out to be. It doesn’t have a tragic ending, but rather kind of a quiet ending of domestic acceptance. Still…Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” covered this ground. And I feel like I’ve been reading this kind of story for ages.

Pursued by a Bear by Hannah Wolf Bowen is wonderful for its sensory detail: “…the furnace of her breath and the chalkboard scrape of tooth on bone.” *shiver* It’s the story of Joss, who has survived a bear attack, and who turns out to be the last man to be attacked by a wild bear. This is a future where the “wild” has been taken out of the wilderness in order to make it safe—no more wild bears, moose, etc. “Pursued by a Bear” is a lovely, bittersweet portrait. But it isn’t a story, I think. No arc, no build up, no moment of "ah-hah!" That I expect those things may make me terribly conventional. But when those things are missing, I end up thinking, "Hm, how nice," and nothing more.

By chance, as I’m writing this there’s a report on the radio about the investigation into the mauling of Roy Horn (of Siegfried and Roy) by a tiger.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, did I read that wrong! On first read, I thought a tiger was looking into the mauling!

Sort of "Stripe Eye, Private Eye."
My bad.


2:09 PM  
Blogger Brickworks said...

Er...I can see how it could be read that way.

Evokes a lovely image, doesn't it, though? (g)

2:38 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

I had the same reaction to "Pursued by a Bear". Some fine writing there, but no narrative drive, and I didn't care about the protagonist. Two-thirds of the way through I began skimming. Just goes to show (to me, anyway) that it takes more than good writing to float a story.

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