Amaryllis and Other Stories

Carrie Vaughn. Fairwood, $17.99 trade paper (310p) ISBN 978-1-933846-62-0
Vaughn’s second collection (and first without her series protagonist, Kitty Norville) displays impressive talent across a range of both styles and subgenres. The Hugo-nominated title story, unsurprisingly, is among the best here, a short tale filled with emotional moments and impressive worldbuilding in a future in which families are created by committees, and one woman is dealing with the consequences of her mother’s rebellion. A prequel, “Bannerless,” is also impressive, as are the Prohibition-era “Roaring Twenties” and “Draw Thy Breath in Pain,” which relates the secret origins of Shakespeare’s works. “For Fear of Dragons” is another highlight, an update of the virgin-sacrifice-to-dragons trope that avoids the snark of so many contemporary revamps. A few of the space-focused science fiction stories are frustrating, less because of the quality of the writing than because they feel unfinished. In particular, “The Best We Can” and “Salvage” falter at both the plot and character levels, merely teasing the beginning of something interesting. Still, fans of Vaughn who only know her urban fantasy will be impressed by just how far she can stretch her wings. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/11/2016
Release date: 08/16/2016
Genre: Fiction
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