Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In The Stices

Interfictions 2 bills itself as an anthology of interstitial writing and takes time at the beginning and end to try and figure out what that term means. What comes in between are stories that the editors (Delia Sherman and Christopher Barzak) feel fits into those parameters. What are the parameters? Stories that fall between the cracks of genres or the spaces in between those genres, stories that are more unusual than the standard fare or that meld many genres. I've heard the term, of course, and have already been a fan of an unusual story that catches the imagination. As such, none of the stories in the anthology are shocking in their content but that's okay. For me, it always comes down to stories and there are some good ones here.

You want unusual narrators? I'll give you a couple - a house and an explosion. Will Ludwigsen's "Remembrance Is Something Like a House" tells the tale of a house traveling across the country after many years to bring relief to an old man for a crime the house inadvertently committed. The house is a fully-realized character and the story makes sense within its framework (does that make any sense?). The explosion is David J. Schwartz's "The 121" is fully-realized as well. It's an explosion born of a bomb that somehow lives with the souls of the 121 people it killed. It is inventive and devastating. I loved both stories.

You want unusual events? In Ray Vukcevich's "The Two of Me," a brother and sister have to go through their lives with her slowly growing out of him.

You want unusual structures? Brian Francis Slattery uses oral history to tell about a musician who caused a revolution and disappeared in "Interviews After the Revolution" and Alan DeNiro dispenses with section breaks and runs his character viewpoints together in "(*_*?) ~~~(-_-): The Warp and the Woof," a fascinating look at a disastrous future that was caused by a thriller writer.

You want quietly brilliant? Try the low key time travel of "Count Poniatowski and the Beautiful Chicken" by Elizabeth Ziemska or the magic and ghost of Carlos Hernandez's "The Assimilated Cuban's Guide to Quantum Santeria."

Or the slightly askew? Theodora Goss presents a typical adventurer on another planet story from a different perspective in "Child-Empress of Mars."

I haven't touched on all the stories or approaches but there is definitely a variety. All of them are interesting, which is a hard thing for an anthology to accomplish. The ones I mentioned above are my favorites of the bunch. Your mileage may vary but there is a lot to dive into, enjoy, and think about in this collection.

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