Posts Tagged ‘Hugh Howey’

Where Would You Be Now by Carrie Vaughn is an extremely well written and considered look at life a few years after an apocalyptic event. The title is a repeating question, asked and answered by the main character and her immediate companions. Meditating on how life pushes on, Vaughn captures the essence of loss; loss of what could have been as well as what was. As the survivors slowly come to terms with their new reality, the issue of what the future holds becomes paramount. It’s an interesting essay on how the apocalypse bifurcated the paths of their lives comparing where they are to where they would be had it never occurred. A meditative, somewhat melancholy, story that digs into what the reality of a post-apocalypse existence would be.

As Good As New is as different from the other stories as could be. Author Charlie Jane Anders has taken a wonderful idea and runs with it. Whilst her protagonist, Marisol, survived the end of the world inside an impenetrable bunker, it isn’t until she explores outside that this story takes a massive swerve. Marisol finds a bottle, within which is a very sarcastic and pedeantic genie. What follows is a clever consideration of how genies (or any other wishing machination) contain within both potentially fantastic and catastrophic results. As Good As New is thoroughly enjoyable in its take on the genre and the tools it uses to convey its ideas.

Hugh Howey’s Bones of Gossamer is another quiet and contemplative look at what the ‘end of the world’ would mean. Yet, Howey takes the perspective of an isolated culture, far from the western world. A culture used to separation and disconnection; a man who grew up with distant parents who’d travelled to the ‘big island’ and who, once older, left to find work. Now even older, his children also gone to earn money, he watches as the silence stretches. Where a steam boat would make the harsh journey to deliver supplies once a month, the horizon remains empty. Where a new satellite phone would connect them, silence has returned. When a starving European washes up on the shore, talking of disaster, the old man realises he must somehow make the journey to find his children. It’s a journey both physical and cultural as he embarks on remembering what his ancestors knew before steamboats and satellite phones. Howey captures something here; something well worth reading.

Review copy

Published by Titan Books

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Unexpected napping from my son meant unscheduled reading for me! Continuing the weird west bonanza, I chose to read Hugh Howey’s offering to the anthology. As a big fan of his Wool series, I wasn’t disappointed as his short story is a strangely poetic mystery told from the perspective of an itinerant soldier.

Having been on the losing side in the American Civil War and now signed up with his former enemies, Howey’s protagonist finds himself deep in unfamiliar and unforgiving territory. After a scout goes bonkers and returns to camp on a killing spree, things go from bad to strange.

The tale is wonderfully written as it explores one man’s curiosity and the odd yet enticing path it leads down. Howey has crafted a fascinating story that will stay with you long after you’ve read Hell From The East.

Rajan Khanna’s Second Hand is less mystic and more action packed magic. Kicking off in a saloon with a card game, things soon heat up as the two main characters get caught cheating. But it’s cheating by magic and it’s a system that is very cool.

It’s all about the Cards, the Play and the Game. A magic deck which gives the owner four suits and some Jokers worth of spells. However, for Quentin Ketterly and his charge Hiram Tetch, there’s more to the Cards than they first thought. Deeper down the rabbit hole they go, the darker things become and they’re soon embroiled in murder and mystery. It’s a great, great story and a brilliantly crafted vision into a magical Western.

Review copy
Published by Titan Books