December 2nd, 2009

wardlock thinking

Colour bombs away! (107)

Red Spikes by Margo Lanagan.

Souls for Stygia!
Souls for Heaven, souls for Hell!
Limbo's confusing.

I'll cop to it, I'll own up. I've been slack about reading. Heck, even when I have been reading, I've been paging through old roleplaying books. Three plot devices are to blame-- one my NaNoWriMo, which gobbled up chunks of my time. Speaking of gobbling, two-- Thanksgiving. We had two of them, one in which Jenny cooked a turkey! Three, Metroid Prime. James brought some GameCube games with him, & so my slacking off time has been devoted to shooting missiles at Space Pirates. All that aside though! I did read this. Which is a short collection of short stories. Yikes! Short short stories, too, mostly.

The two strongest contenders in it are "Under Hell, Over Heaven" & "Hero Vale." First off-- this is Margo Lanagan of Tender Morsels fame. I expected things to be fairly terrible, by which I mean bad things happening in good faerietale form, & there were definitely moments of that. The only rape was monkey rape-- & frankly, hanuman langurs are the sort of thing that make you think Dworkin might be right about heterosexual sex. There are a lot of dreamy tales in here-- queens coming out of cupboards, clay changelings in the upper east side, dead babies hidden in the forest. "Under Hell, Over Heaven" is a procedural set in Limbo; the souls who try to earn "brownie points" in Heaven's ledger by rounding up souls that have been waylaid due to clerical error. Two things going for this: one, it absolutely reminded me of Wraith: the Oblivion & that is always a good thing; two, it is full on Catholic. A lot of writers would have twisted the concept, but no, Lanagan stands by the Catholic mythology, with all the silly candles as get out of jail free cards & unbaptized babies in hell. "Hero Vale" is-- well, I called Tender Morsels a "woman's tale," & "Hero Vale" shows Lanagan can write a "boy's tale" too. Just the sight of a "hero" is enough to drive you mad...possibly mad with bravery.
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