Books: Good reads ...

Why I've just noticed something terribly amiss! I forgot (i.e. willfully neglected) last week's Friday roundup!

So sorry! Here we go!

"The Art of the Dragon," Sean McMullen - Fantasy and Science Fiction Aug/Sept 2009 - What begins with one of the best leads I've ever read: "I was there when the dragon appeared - and ate the Effiel Tower" just gets better as the story progresses. McMullen puts forth a remarkably original fantasy that manages to squeeze in a ton of insightful commentary about the nature of art and humanity. But it's never hard-hitting, in fact, it's remarkably clever and, at times, downright fun. I wasn't huge on McMullen's last story in F&SF, "The Spiral Briar," but "The Art of the Dragon" is a keeper. Definitely earned it's place as the lead off story in this month's issue.

"Icarus Saved from the Skies," Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud - Fantasy and Science Fiction Aug/Sept 2009 - Ever wonder what you do if you sprouted wings? I know I did, at least as a kid. Châteaureynaud's fable cleverly deals with the question and rises at a surprising conclusion. Translated from the original French by Edward Gauvin. Recommended. For more Châteaureynaud, check out his collection, Le kiosque et le tilleul, The Pavilion and the Linden.

"The Others," Lawrence C. Connolly - Fantasy and Science Fiction Aug/Sept 2009 - At first I didn't really know what to make of this story, but after a few days I've more or less come around. It's good. And I liked it. For those not in the know, "The Others" continues the journey of the many incarnations of Cara Randall who this time is exploring a strange planet with intelligent life. The story is a direct sequel to "Daughters of Prime," which first ran in July 2007 and can be viewed here.

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