Shoggoths in Bloom

by Elizabeth Bear | Science Fiction & Fantasy |
ISBN: 9781607013617 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 5/13/2021
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Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, May 13, 2021
I got this softcover from an online seller. It's a collection of Bear's fantasy/SF/speculative-fiction stories, some of which I've read in other anthologies. I enjoyed them all, and appreciated the variety of settings, tones, and style. Among my favorites:

"Tideline" is from the viewpoint of a post-apocalyptic-war sentient tank in a vaguely sea-creature form, which is spending its final power-cycles gathering sparkly flotsam from a beach with which to make memorial necklaces for its human crew, long since lost in battle. When a feral child encounters the being, a touching relationship develops.

"The Something-Dreaming Game" opens with an account of kids experimenting with autoerotic asphyxiation - though the kids are young enough that they don't realize that's what it is. But the narrator's daughter winds up making contact with an alien through this experience, one that wants to download the memories of its entire species as a memorial - a wonderfully unusual story.

"Orm the Beautiful" puts a different spin on dragons and their hoards, with a lovely, touching, and unnerving resolution.

"Cryptic Coloration" starts out with first-year college girls giggling over their surprisingly (to them) hot literature teacher, and seems to be heading towards a girls-with-crushes-behaving-awkwardly story. But the professor is a Mage who spends some of his time hunting down dangerous beings in the city, and when the girls trail him to the site of a cockatrice lair things get very dark. Nice mix of myth, magic, and teen behavior.

The title story is set on the 1930's Maine seacoast, where a man's researching the "common surf shoggoth" that now infests the shores. (The concept of Lovecraftian shoggoths being considered a fairly innocuous life form made me think this was going to be a humorous story, but no!]) The researcher, who's African-American, faces more prejudice than simply that of an outsider, but eventually manages to gather some highly suggestive information - and who takes the story in a direction that surprised me...

"Gods of the Forge" mixes detailed rock-climbing sequences with some industrial espionage and an attempt to thwart a technology that's being used to create soldiers unable to disobey orders - and seems likely to be implemented on civilian workers as well if it can't be stopped.

And there's much more. Excellent collection!

[There's a TV Tropes page on the author and some of her work, with some entertaining tidbits.]

Released 1 mo ago (5/15/2021 UTC) at Little Free Library, New Searles Rd [OBCZ] in Nashua, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Guidelines for safely visiting and stocking Little Free Libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, from the LFL site here.

I left this book in my Little Free Library; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2021 April Showers/May Flowers challenge. ***

*** Released for the 2021 Science Fiction challenge. ***

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, June 18, 2021
This book wasn't in the LFL today; hope the finder enjoys it! Would love to hear about its travels one of these days!

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