Saturday, May 12, 2012

Down These Strange Streets edited by George RR Martin

Genre:  Adult Urban Fantasy Short Stories

Description (taken from Goodreads):
All new strange cases of death and magic in the city by some of the biggest names in urban fantasy.

In this all-new collection of urban fantasy stories, editors George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois explore the places where mystery waits at the end of every alley and where the things that go bump in the night have something to fear...

  • The Bastard Stepchild by George R.R. Martin
  • Death by Dahlia by Charlaine Harris
  • The Bleeding Shadow by Joe R. Lansdale
  • Hungry Heart by Simon R. Green
  • Styx and Stones by Steven Saylor
  • Pain and Suffering by S.M. Stirling
  • It's Still the Same Old Story by Carrie Vaughn
  • The Lady is a Screamer by Conn Iggulden
  • Hellbender by Laurie R. King
  • Shadow Thieves by Glen Cook
  • No Mystery, no Miracle by Melinda M. Snodgrass
  • The Difference Between a Puzzle and a Mystery by M.L.N. Hanover
  • The Curious Affair of the Deodand by Lisa Tuttle 
  • Lord John and the Plague of Zombies by Diana Gabaldon 
  • Beware the Snake by John Maddox Roberts 
  • In Red, with Pearls by Patricia Briggs
  • The Adakian Eagle by Bradley Denton

If you couldn't tell by the description, then this book is made up of a lot of short mystery stories by well-known urban fantasy authors.  I will admit that I picked it up because it featured stories from my favorite authors: Charlaine Harris and Patricia Briggs.  But what I thought would be a good, short read for me turned out to be quite the opposite.

First off, do you know how hard it is as a reader to read short stories and be able to quickly pick up on visual queues without being acquainted with the author's writing style?  It's difficult (as I'm sure it's difficult for an author to write a short story).  These stories have themes involving vampires, monsters, hungry hearts, ghost hunters, gene-splicing people, creatures that I can only describe as 'Stargate'-ish, demons, zombies, werewolves, etc.  And I have to say some stories worked and some were absolutely horrible.

My random musings:
  • It would have been nice to know these authors prior to reading this anthology.
  • A lot of the stories are a continuation of a series or require background knowledge that I just didn't have.
  • Without being familiar with the writing style, it was really hard for me to pick up on the setting and time era for some of these stories (and it drove me nuts).
  • I absolutely loved Patricia Briggs' short story, and I recommend it for all Mercy Thompson fans.
  • Some authors I plan on looking into because I liked their stories include:  Joe Lansdale and Carrie Vaughn.
Long story short, don't pick up this book with the intention of reading all of the stories.  Only read what initially caught your interests.  Because if you're picking this book up in the hopes of finding new urban fantasy authors to check out, your time is better spent getting top picks from other urban fantasy readers.

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