Are Highly Recommended. In fancy font and flashing letters. (I don't do reviews. These are think-out-loud squees).
Two old-lady narrators. Two utterly marvellous stories. I don't believe they have anything else in common.Carol Emshwiller's A Safe Place To Be
challenges genre boundaries, which as I'm sure you all know is Entirely Not Surprising, this being Emshwiller. This does not make it a hard story to read -- it's charming and whimsical and entirely endearing.
It started with a funny feeling in the bottoms of my feet. Something is going to happen. Perhaps an earthquake. That's what it feels like. But perhaps terrorists on the way. Whatever it is, something's coming.
I didn't find it an easy story, exactly -- the ones that break my brain open a bit further never are easy. Hm. Maybe, easy to read, less easy to think about? I was sort of anxiously hovering in "What's really going on" land for much of it. I suspect that's deliberate, as is the fact that the story's relationship to apocalpyse-city-escape stories is left vague.
I'll have to think about it more. This, too, is Entirely Not Surprising.
Amal El-Mohtar (tithenai)'s And Their Lips Rang With The Sun
is something I've been looking forward to so! much since she posted the first paragraph in a response to nojojojo
's post about describing characters of color
Look at them! Are they not beautiful? Had cinnamon been ground and rubbed into their skin, they could not have been more brown, more fragrant, more beloved of the wine-bright sky.
...So, why are you still here? Oh, you read it already? Good-oh then.
It is dreadfully dusty in here, is it not?
Oh, okay, I'll try to say something coherent that isn't just quoting. It's luscious language, as you can tell. And there's a story within a story that lets the reader work out the glorious city and fascinating people and the so-delightful narrator; and if that weren't enough there is story-internal Language Awesomeness!
The girls are chosen to it by nothing less than the Sun Herself. For the Sun speaks to us in a language all Her own, a language distilled from that which we speak in the streets of the city, hidden within it as wine is hidden in grapes. It is heady, too, and strong: sheen, dah, tah, noon, reh, zein, sounds that brook no spill of liquid before their heat, threaten any lilting sibilance to vapour and smoke if it should come too near.
I fail :)
But. Amal wins.
I really want to get back to reading all of SH's archives and catching the stories I have missed! Health allowing, this will happen soon.