Saturday, August 08, 2009

Review: Tesseracts 13

Tesseracts 13
edited by Nancy Kilpatrick & David Morrell
Trade PB 315pp $16.95 usd Edge
release date 09/15/2009

23 really top notch stories. The math says that this is less than 75 cents per story. I don't care what market you're in, that's a good deal. If you're not familiar with the Tesseracts series, all the authors are Canadian and the theme is speculative fiction. Not any outright fantasy but no hard core science fiction either. Now that is not a complaint. I think the editors have a bold strategy in accepting stories that could play as fantasy, while others would be comfortable in horror or science fiction. Something for everyone is too well worn for Tesseracts when in truth the reader that feels comfortable reading say "Stone Cold" is going to feel equally comfortable with "An Abandoned Baby Carriage" where one story is about a possible contagion has the infected feel like they are slowly freezing and another spins around a baby carriage left in an deserted playground. All the while the protagonist's reality is so warped that until the end, one wonders if they or the carriage is a figment or both. Either could be fantasy and either could be science fiction. Most of the stories tread the boundary very masterfully. But then others will boldly plant their stories well within a field. An excellent example is Rebecca Bradley's "Kids these Days". Bradley's tale takes you to a world where there is an absolutely devastating illness that destroys the chances of a future generation, and Bradley finishes with a brilliant twist that leaves you smiling at how deftly you were handled all the while you are breathless at the scope of the reality. Or Belkom's "Quints" is a masterful weave of history and a possible future and a doctor caught between his oath and knowing what is in store for all involved is asked to choose. Here I was astounded by the level of research that is usually only afforded to those that would read a novel and we are given great history, science, medicine and a possible future, told at a breakneck pace but in an environment of quiet and desperation. Mark my word....Quints or something like it next year, Hugo or Nebula... and do you remember Silvia Moreno-Garcia with her story Maquech earlier on BMU? Oh wait until you read Bed of Scorpions!

Hey, hands down recommendation from me on Tesseracts 13. Whatever it takes to get this collection in your will not be disappointed!

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