Reading: Elizabeth Bear — Shoggoths in Bloom

Elizabeth Bear is a writer I’ve heard about for some years, possibly from the attention she received for the short story, Shoggoths in Bloom, which won the Hugo in 2009. At any rate, a name that’s reasonably pervasive in the skiffy/fantasy world. Possibly for that reason – because of the high frequency of disappointment I experience reading authors who are hyped – I’d avoided her till now. Actually I have something of an unconscious self-regulating ‘Do Not Purchase’ protocol when it comes to authors who are receiving a little too much breathless and enthusiastic praise, so it says something about the author that I’d bypassed said protocol and slapped down lazily-earned euros for this collection of short stories.

Once again, Saladin Ahmed is to blame; once again by way of the Fearsome Journeys anthology. Bear’s story, The Ghost Makers was one of at least four that caused me no end of curiousness about the authors and a visit to my regular bookshop. I was somewhat reluctant when I reached her story, I’m really not sure why, possibly I’ve picked up books of hers in the past and given the first pages a whirl then put them back down. Turned out to be rather good.

The third then, from the anthology, after K. J. Parker, and Scott Lynch (slipping in my reading blogging here, three books at least I haven’t gotten to yet). Stories that go from fantasy to near-ish future sci-fi to speculative history, none of which so far follow the deeply worn standard path of any of them. It’s a very good thing I can read fiction at such a frantic pace as I expect I’ll be reading more of her.