You know… in retrospect I should have done this whole review series in a manner similar to one of my favorite books – giving each “tour” a grade, making references to management, etc. Oh well, live and learn. That’s why I’m not a professional reviewer. Besides, there will probably be other anthologies to criticize (assuming that tomorrow is not the day Jesus returns for His death cage match against Cthulhu as refereed by Bruce Campbell).

So with some ups and down, we come to the end of Clockwork Pheonix 3. All in all, a pretty good work. With the pluses heavily outweighing the minuses, the collection is looking like a worthwhile summer purchase for my fellow imps.

Unless one or both of these final stories is as bad as most of the stuff we usually read (publicly) here. And that won’t happen.


To Seek Her Fortune by Nicole Kornher-Stace.

Awhile back on the forums, we had a discussion on the Readers’ Manifesto wherein we complained about some authors getting a little too pretentious in their writings. While she isn’t as bad as Cormac McCarthy, Nicole provides many examples of everything I hate about most modern novels: More emphasis put on writing a “good sentence” rather than a good story.

But then I look in the appendix and see… well maybe this was the goal.

About “To Seek Her Fortune,” she rather puckishly elucidates, “This story is the result of my taking the timehonored tradition of expanding a short story into a novel and running it in reverse.

So now I wonder if the joke is on me. At any rate, your enjoyment of this story will largely be dependent on how much you enjoy a lot of prose to describe something simple. No it’s not purple prose – more like… indigo prose. It’s not quite as bad as the purple prose gold standard (Twilight) but… well when you read it, you’ll understand. I mean it takes 4 pages from story start to find out that this kid with the main character is her son (half that just to learn he’s in the scene).

The story is also very Tarantino-ish in it’s non-linearity so that could also impact your own enjoyment. I’ve never been a bit QT fan so on nearly every page this story left me cold. Definite minus for my tastes.

Fold by Tanith Lee

If you know much about the fantasy/sci fi lit world, you’ve probably heard about Tanith Lee. Quote: “She has written 77 novels, 14 collections, and almost 300 short stories, plus 4 radio plays”. Yeah, she’s done a bit of work. Tanith is one of those artists where I say, “I’m not a fan who has to read/watch/enjoy everything they’ve made, but if I hear something is by them, I’ll give it my time.”

“Fold” is written in a style similar to a story earlier in the book, “Tomorrow is St Valentine’s Day”. It’s charming but not too sugary. Hearwarming, but not quite a tear-jerker. It’s not really a story you can talk easily about without major spoilers so… I won’t. Let’s just say it’s a plus and a pretty good note to end the book on.


So all in all, what’s the final word? Because I’m compulsive and have to finish reading any story I start (unless it’s eyeball bleeding bad), anthologies are great for summer. I can enjoy a bit of escape before having to hit the beach or the roller coaster or whatever, without much interruption. I like to save more engrossing books for the winter, when you should be curled up with it under the blanket, the snow falling outside.

If you enjoy anthologies and need a sci-fi fix while you wait for Dr Who or Supernatural or any other favorite show to come back from reruns, grab this collection. It will be out soon.

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  1. Mike Allen on 30 June 2010, 21:44 said:

    I would be delighted to hear how reading CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 3 while on a roller coaster works out for people.

    Thanks for taking the time to do this, Nathan!

  2. instagram search on 8 March 2019, 04:55 said:

    Thank you! I look forward to seeing more updates from you.