Arrows of Eros
1 journaler for this copy...
While some of the stories were a bit underwhelming, I did enjoy several, including:
David Langford's "The Motivation", set in an adult book store - there are lots of touches regarding the ambiance of shady old bookshops, and an increasingly creepy revelation as to the motives behind a ghastly crime that the main character recalls from his youth. This one's in the "horror" category more than anything else, though even then it's rather subtle.
"Howie Dreams" by Anne Gay is a surreal SF tale that, for me, was among the more successful treatments of the theme - very much out there, dealing with dream-manipulation.
"Odd Attachment" by Iain M. Banks is... well, it's kind of a nasty-joke-type story, told from the viewpoint of a very alien being living on a world where the ecology is quite tight, and the being (a sort of large sentient tree) has control over other flora and fauna. When a small, shiny alien hops out of a spacecraft, our protagonist is curious about it, but is also distracted by a (so far) unrequited passion for another being. The way this affects the hapless space-farer is very, very ghastly, yet the story's told in a rather sunny way that really enhances the horror.
"Iron Shoes" by Geraldine Harris is a retelling of the "Snow White" story from the mother's point of view; whether her version justifies some of her actions or not, it does turn the story on its head.
"The Palomino Boy" by Freda Warrington features oddly-attractive aliens on a tropical island setting, with the human visitor trying to learn more about their culture - only to fall foul of their distinctly unusual reproductive habits. Nice scene-setting and mood here.
"The Horn" by Stephen Gallagher is a taut horror story set during a howling blizzard, and featuring three men sheltering in a road-workers' hut as the cold closes in. This could all be quite effective by itself, but there's a supernatural element in the form of a murder victim who seems bent on revenge, and not too fussy about who she targets. I enjoyed the atmosphere here, but I admit I found the ghost's interactions less interesting than the rest of the story.
"Mela Worms" by Diana Wynn Jones is one of the more light-hearted tales here, dealing with a multi-species space-faring cast, a protagonist coping with work issues and a strange quartet who seem bent on drawing her into some kind of five-way, and an escaped cargo of aphrodisiac creatures that turns the whole ship into an orgy. This one was a lot of fun.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
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*** Released for the 2018 Science Fiction release challenge. ***
*** Released for the 2018 Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes release challenge, for the embedded "os" in the title. ***
*** Released for the 2018 Valentine release challenge. ***