With the release date rapidly approaching, I’ve decided to finish the reviews of CP3 immediately. As always, if you’re wanting to order this book or the previous 2, you can check out the official site.
Lucyna’s Gaze by Gregory Frost
It’s a holocaust tale with barely enough sci-fi added to get it into this collection. Which isn’t a bad thing, but should be considered a fair warning to any who can’t stand stories etc in those settings.
I am one who will defend tooth and nail for the idea that books themselves can be works of art and spacing, margins, etc should be considered as much a part of the story as the canvas and paint used are considered with other artworks. However, I will admit that the flavor and style of prose can get out of hand and part of it is in here as well. Sometimes, in efforts to make their story almost like poetry (which I have nothing against), authors overshoot their marks and make something nearly nonsensical. An example would be this story’s ending. I was musing less on the impact of it than on trying to figure out what it was saying in the first place. Was it metaphorical or literal or a little bit of both? Making things just a little bit clearer would have worked for the story’s benefit. Unless you want things to be confusing and figuring out “what happened” is part of the story’s point.
So unhappy subject matter plus obscuring ending, I’m giving this one a minus, but that also seems to be the author’s goal.
Eyes of Carven Emerald by Shweta Narayan
Here we have a “retcon” of Alexander the Great’s story in a steampunk world with an additional tale interwoven through it. That other tale? A steampunk version of the Lady or the Tiger. Both are pretty enjoyable, though I do encourage you to brush up on your history before reading (I know I need to to really enjoy it).
One caution. Being one of the Old Ones of the internet, I have gotten used to typos and misprints to the point that I can usually tease out a writer’s original intent without much effort, thus, I rarely count someone’s typos against them. However, on page 170 of the PDF I have, there was a big typo that made the segment nearly unreadable until I was able to figure it out.
All in all, I’ll give this one a plus. Apparently the story involves a clockwork bird that is a repeating fixture of Shweta Narayan, so fans of her will probably definitely need to seek out this tale.
Dragons of America by S.J. Hirons
This story… I wasn’t very happy with, and I’m a sucker for dragons. It reads like a poorly done political cartoon, so immediately your like or distaste of it will rest on your like or distaste of America. What makes this even worse is that it’s pretty much unnecessary.
The story proper takes place in a world with not only a different history from ours, but apparently a completely different geography. Almost everything else in the world has invented and original names, but for some reason, this one particular country (which is occupying the protagonist’s nation), has a name matching a country in ours, oh and seems to have a lot of the same “features” about it (“hamburgers, hot dogs, buttered popcorn and beer” says one passage). Why? Apparently for no more reason than to rail against the current USA policies, which just gets tiresome (especially if you’re already hearing complaints about it all the time). I won’t ramble on and on, but have I mentioned how much I hate politics? Big minus on this story.