Scenting the Dark and Other Stories
Mary Robinette Kowal, . . Subterranean, $25 (80pp) ISBN 978-1-59606-267-2
Campbell Award–winner Kowal presents a broad spectrum of stories in her chapbook-slim first collection. The heartbreaking “Just Right,” in which a family struggles with a child's strange behavior, isn't speculative at all. “Death Comes but Twice” edges into dark fantasy, while blind perfumer Penn is stalked by an enormous predator in SF horror story “Scenting the Dark.” The deepest tale is “Some Other Day,” in which a young scientist struggles to undo the terrible consequences of her father's well-meant work, while “Jaiden's Weaver” is a sweet story about nurturing and caring for a creature others think deformed. Kowal's stories don't always plumb the depths of speculation or characters, but when they do the results are often stirring. This excellent introduction to her work is likely to make her new fans.
Reviewed on: 09/07/2009