Saturday, May 12, 2012

Review: Dead Men Don't Cry by Nancy Fulda

Pastry Run: Light tale about two delivery drivers trying to deliver a French pastry to a wealthy woman on the moon. Very odd choice to start the collection with this piece as it fails to really grab the reader 6/10.

Dead Men Don't Cry: War is looming between earth and an independent colony after an assassination attempt. Interesting blend of mystery, action and science fiction. Fulda creates a quick moving story in a very interesting setting in a limited space. 8/10.

Blue Ink: A six-old is about to be cloned for the first time in a world where clones simply work so their originals can live a life of luxury. Does an excellent job in getting into the character's head and a thoughtful twist at the end. 8/10.

Backlash: An ex-government agent with a severe case of shell-shock learns that his daughter is involved in some bad business that will adversely affect the future. Clever take on time travel with some memorable characters. A few unaddressed questions keep it from moving from great to excellent. 8/10.

Monument: One of the shorter pieces in the collection but one that really worked for me. Aliens tried to make contact with man but the mother ship was destroyed as a potential threat. A woman visits the wreckage which is now a national monument and searches for meaning. I was absolutely stunned with the sheer number of ideas that Fulda fitted into this one. 8.25/10.

Tammi's Garden: Emotional tale about a girl who lives in two worlds and has to decide which one is real and which is the dream. Well-drawn protagonist but the concept has been done a few times before. 6.25/10.

All Praise to the Dreamer: A new mother tries to save her baby from insect-like monsters, while dealing with the guilt of turning her back on her parents years ago. Very strong piece. World-building is top notch and intriguing and the protagonist is simply brilliant. 9/10.

The Breath of Heaven. AI's clash with colonists as they achieve self-awareness. Clever take on a classic idea and POV from Sacia an AI was very intriguing  and pulled off perfectly. 9/10.

Ghost Chimes: A woman has to deal with her dead mother's interfering from an artificially created afterlife, Some very clever ideas here but doesn't really go anywhere. 6/10.

The Man Who Murdered Himself: A man suffering from a terrible disease undergoes experimental and illegal treatment that will recreate him without the disease. The plot twist was too similar for Blue Ink, which I consider the stronger of the two, for my liking. 6.25/10.

A New Kind of Sunrise: A young woman finds a dying stranger and her tribe takes him in. Very good world-building and two interesting characters but reads too much like a chapter from a larger work. 7/10.

Movement (Not actually part of the collection but as it is from the same author I will review it here anyway): An autistic girl has to watch as her parent's decide whether to agree on a new type of treatment that might allow her to live a normal life but will take away her genius for dancing. Very clever piece that works on a number of different levels while considering complex issues including evolution. The POV in this piece is truly masterful and I loved the way she saw time on a different scale. 9/10.

Overall this well-written and enjoyable collection of short stories with a few exceptionally good pieces. My only major issue is that I would have liked to see one of the stronger pieces open the collection. 8/10.

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