George R. R. Martin – Down These Strange Streets Audiobooktext
It’s actually very difficult to give five stars to an anthology these days, thanks to the mandatory man that the publisher incorporates only to appease the name-heavy crowd, and the fragile stuff brought only to titillate American teenagers. Fortunately, the “big daddy” of science fiction: Gardner Dozois, and the undisputed lord of fantasy at the moment: George R.R. Martin, do a decidedly good job by bringing the matching merchandise on display in this anthology. The covers of anthologies are often misleading, and this one is no exception, George R. R. Martin – Down These Strange Streets Audiobook as it gives the impression that the book is popular by the “twilight”-there kind of people, apart from wearing the frankly dubious label of “urban fantasy”. The content is gritty, darker, more severe and far more than what I had apprehended.
- 1. “Death by Dahlia” by Charlaine Harris: a story modestly written with all-too-familiar figures that seemed to have been raised from some (much, in fact) television series rather than any literary landscape, this one was wafer-thin stuff, resembling the shiny sheet covering the real thing.
- 2. “The Bleeding Shadow” by Joe R. Lansdale: grossly over-written, a bloated piece that began and remained a character-study piece, rather than a tense Lovecraftian horror said.
- [I know, I know. The first two stories had been rather soporific and I had almost felt like “Oh my God, here we are again… before the storm hit!]
- 3. “Hungry Heart” by Simon R. Green: I have not been familiar with Mr. Green’s work, and it seems that the situation needs to be corrected as soon as possible. Really dark, really hard, very fast.
- 4. “Styx and Stones” by Steven Saylor: This historical mystery was better! In fact, after reading this one, I just had to order more books dealing with Gordianus the Finder! This story can be a classic definition of crime – detection in a disturbing context where the bizarre threat may or may not be at stake. You have to read it to appreciate things!
- 5. “Pain and Suffering” by S.M. Stirling: Not great, but a good story, which could have been better said if the author had actually kept the ending a little more open.
- 6. “It’s Still the Same Old Story” by Carrie Vaughn: A neat, old-fashioned, dark story of crime, violence, revenge and memories. Dark, sad, painful and very good.
- 7. “The Lady is a Screamer” by Conn Iggulden: A good story, which lost some of its brilliance as it veered from the awesome con-man zone into the more personal territory of revenge.
- 8. “Hellbender” by Laurie R. King: Brilliant characterization, tight pace, scary look at the science of the future, and overall superb story-telling. This one deserves a multiple reading.
- 9. “Shadow Thieves” by Glen Cook: WHAT A BORE! The author seriously needs to learn the lessons of hard writing first, before tarnishing the paper/screen with such a chore that is tempted to be passed on as urban fantasy!
- 10. “No Mystery, No Miracle” by Melinda M. Snodgrass: Medium History, Great Frame, Dull End.
- 11. “The Difference Between a Puzzle and a Mystery” by M.L.N. Hanover: Awesome! We need more!
- 12. “The Curious Affair of the Deodand” by Lisa Tuttle: The author has already given us many unforgettable stories. Now, with this story, we can only hope that it has started a great series. The writing is so good that the story, especially the protagonist duo, is practically begging for a repeated appearance. More please!
- 13. “Lord John and The Plague of Zombies” by Diana Gabaldon: a short story that was just as mysterious, rich, hot, cold, erotic, terrifying, soporific and thrilling! I really need more of his stuff before I can evaluate the author.
- 14. “Beware the Snake” by John Maddox Roberts: another historical mystery, and another solid artist.
- 15. “In Red, with Pearls” by Patricia Briggs: Finally, a good black set in a totally bizarre landscape. Great!
- 16. “The Adakian Eagle” by Bradley Denton: I can only say “Thank you” to the author, who had finally given the Ace Performer his due by showcasing it in a frightening story in the middle of space too real – time.
Overall, with the exception of a full dud, and some dull overwritten, this anthology is a great example of what can be achieved when publishers apply. Highly recommended!