Anne Bishop


The Others: Written In Red (2013)

Anthologies: Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears (1995), Powers of Detection (2004)


The Others


Written In Red (2013)

written-in-redMeg Corbyn is running from those who held her for as long as she can remember. She needs a place to hide, and the Courtyard of the Others seems like the perfect place. An island of Others in the city, a place where human laws don’t apply and she might be safe from the Controller who is hunting her.

First, although this is an urban fantasy, it’s not like much else out there right now. Humans evolved and expanded across areas controlled by Others, knowing that they were seen as prey by the others, and doing what they could to make themselves useful, so they could live in as much peaces as humans and Others were able to.

Second, this book was a gift from a friend who read it, loved it, and wanted me to read it as well. Thanks N!

With one caveat, there was an excellent, amazing book, that not only avoided the tropes of typical urban fantasy, and avoided a lot of tropes of fiction in general: the misunderstanding that comes from main characters keeping secrets and not sharing critical important knowledge.

You can’t even imagine how happy this made me. Every time I thought I saw stupidity, the main characters would actually TALK and, you know, avoid the stupid misunderstandings.

Now, to the single caveat that annoyed me.

“They aren’t human, will never be human. But we’re going to try to get them to see at least some of us as more that useful or clever meat. Then maybe–maybe–the next time adult men act like fools and enter the Courtyard uninvited, we’ll get a call instead of having to fill out a DLU form.”

“I’m not sure anyone ever tried to change the dynamics between us and the Others.”

Really? No one? Ever? Humans have evolved enough to have computers and cell phones, which means they’ve been coexisting with Others for quite some time, and NO ONE has before thought, “Hey! Maybe we should try for better relations!”? I just have a hard time believing they could have developed to they point of what was, essentially, modern society, without someone before trying to get along with the Others.

But let me be clear, that was pretty much a minor quibble compared with all the other things the story got right.

I wanted to point out this passage, which reminded me so much of my grandmother:

Meg filled their baskets, handed out treats, and breathed a sign of relief that she had just enough carrot chunks to go around. She wasn’t sure they could count and would know if the last point only got one chunk instead of two, but it wasn’t a chance she wanted to take.

And this passage, which cracked me up, simply because I had actually seen the second poster before, as a kid, before it was seen as politically incorrect and taken down.

(A) drawing of a cow with arrows point to the various cuts of meat popped into her head. Then she imaged a drawing of a human with the same kinds of arrows. Could there be a sign like that in the butcher shop?

To be clear, the poster I remembered seeing as of a woman in traditional pin-up pose, with her parts labeled, which is why, I’m sure, it eventually disappeared.

So all in all, this was an excellent story that I thoroughly enjoyed, and highly recommend.
Rating: 8.5/10




Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears (1995) edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Ruby Slippers - Susan Wade
The Beast - Tanith Lee
Masterpiece - Garry Kilworth
Summer Wind - Nancy Kress
This Century of Sleep, or Briar Rose Beneath the Sea - Farida S. T. Shapiro
The Crossing - Joyce Carol Oates
Roach in Loafers - Roberta Lannes
Naked Little Men - Michael Cadnum
Brother Bear - Lisa Goldstein
The Emperor Who had Never Seen a Dragon - John Brunner
Billy Fearless - Nancy A Collins
The Death of Koshchei the Deathless - Gene Wolfe
The Real Princess - Susan Palwick
The Huntsman's Story - Milbre Burch
After Push Comes to Shove - Milbre Burch
Hansel and Grettel - Gahan Wilson
Match Girl - Anne Bishop
Waking the Prince - Kathe Koja
The Fox Wife - Ellen Steiber
The White Road - Neil Gaiman
The Traveler and the Tale - Jane Yolen
The Printer's Daughter - Delia Sherman

Published by Harper Collins

Powers of Detection (2004) edited by Dana Stabenow

I like fantasies. I like mysteries. So… “Stories of Mystery and Fantasy” sounds like a good thing. Plus Charlaine Harris has a Sookie Stackhouse short story, and that had to be a good thing.

Well, it was an okay thing.

Cold Spell - Donna Andrews
The Nightside, Needless To Say - Simon R. Green
Lovely - John Straley
The Price - Anne Bishop
Fairy Dust - Charlaine Harris
The Judgement - Anne Perry
The Sorcerer's Assassin - Sharon Shinn
The Boy Who Chased Seagulls - Michael Armstrong
Palimpsest - Laura Anne Gilman
The Death of Clickclickwhistle - Mike Doogan
Cairene Dawn - Jay Caselberg
Justice Is A Two-Edged Sword - Dana Stabenow

The Charlaine Harris story was good. In "Fairy Dust," Sookie has to figure out who killed Claudine's sister, Claudia.

Having read Anne Perry's fantasy before, I skipped "The Judgement" entirely. She may write good mysteries, but what fantasy I've read has been not good.

I liked Jay Caselberg's "Cairene Dawn" even though I caught onto where he was going with it. It was fun and amusing. Anne Bishop's "The Price" was an interesting story. The setting and the world were strange, but the story was still fascinating.

I also liked Simon R. Green's "The Nightside Needless to Say," which was a quick read, and in the hard-boiled vein, which I enjoy when done well. John Straley's "Lovely" was interesting as well, seeing as how it was written from the point of view of a crow.

The other stories were for the most part okay. I didn't like "The Death of Clickclickwhistle" too much, but it was science fiction rather than fantasy, and that was the part I didn't care for, rather than the mystery.
Rating: 5/10