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A Creature of Moonlight
Rebecca Hahn
Saffron And Brimstone: Strange Stories
Elizabeth Hand
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
Lois McMaster Bujold
Snow in May: Stories
Kseniya Melnik

Saffron And Brimstone: Strange Stories

Saffron And Brimstone: Strange Stories - Elizabeth Hand ***** Cleopatra Brimstone.
A budding entomologist suffers a traumatic attack, and goes all Ms. 45 on some probably-undeserving men. Loved it. The supernatural/horror elements are unstinting, but the psychological/metaphorical aspects of the story are as delicate as butterfly wings, and carry the ring of truth.

**** Pavane for a Prince of the Air
Previously read in 'Embrace the Mutation.' I was slightly less enthused on a second read, but I'll stick with 4 stars. "Unlike most of these stories, not horror at all, but a story of grief. A friend of the narrator (author? It feels very, very autobiographical), an old hippie, passes away, and the narrator participates in his widow’s neo-pagan death ritual."

***** The Least Trumps
A tattoo artist lives a solitary life in her mother's old cottage, on a remote Maine island. She battles agoraphobic panic attacks and still suffers from a bad breakup with her girlfriend. But when she buys a mysterious pack of tarot cards, that may have belonged to her favorite childhood author, something seems to change. Loved this story. It's full of perhaps-unnecessary details (like real life) and inexplicable circumstances, redolent with a vivid love of art and literature. It's also awfully, though strangely romantic.

***** Wonderwall
This is one of the very, very few stories I've read which accurately captures the experience of being young, rebellious, genuinely messed up, and simultaneously intelligent and potentially successful. I felt like it was almost... not about me, but about people I might've known. It's also about an art-school dropout and about... not missed opportunities, but perhaps about opportunities that never were.

The Lost Domain: Four Story Variations
*** Kronia
Kronia was a Greek New Years' festival, where role-reversal and wild partying were accepted. Hmm. I'm not sure I get the connection to this piece, which is about different possibilities, the many 'roads not taken' and their outcomes, focusing on a man and a woman who meet (or don't) in childhood, or later, or not at all...

*** Calypso in Berlin
Previously read in 'OBSESSION: Tales of Irresistible Desire.'
An ancient nymph, now living in the modern world, is a human man's mistress. But her attitude toward relationships is still more like what one might find in Greek mythology than what our modern morality calls for...


The Saffron Gatherers