Laura Anne Gilman


Retrievers: Staying Dead (2005)

Anthologies: Highwaymen: Robbers and Rogues (1997), Murder by Magic (2004), Powers of Detection (2004), Unusual Suspects (2008), Running with the Pack (2010), Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives (2011)




Staying Dead (2005)

Staying DeadI found this book disappointing.

I've come to expect a lot from books published by Luna, so it's almost a shock for me to read one of their books that I don't absolutely love. And the thing is I really should have loved this book. Like all Luna books, it has a strong female hero, and I enjoy supernatural fantasy, and the writing seemed strong. Yet as I read the book I felt like it somehow wasn't quite meeting my expectations. Despite the fact that there is very little I can point to and say, "THAT bothered me."

The one thing that did bother me was the font. I strongly dislike sans-serif fonts on paper (they're great on the screen, but on paper I can't stand them). But although it was distracting, it was hardly enough of a reason for the general feeling if disappointment and discontent.

The only other thing that I would take issue with is the fact that I never developed a sense of what Wren could and couldn't do with her Talent. She's wasn't all powerful and able to everything, but I was never sure what her limits were, and what she could do. There was lots of talk about current and electricity, but it never really made a lot of sense to me how that would let you translocate something. So I would have liked the rules--or at least ideas--of magic to have been fleshed out a little more.

Otherwise, I'm hard pressed to say what was wrong. I found the Wren and Sergei interesting characters. Nothing struck me as untoward about the writing--I was never pulled out of the story by some detail or quirk. The story itself was interesting, and there were several different threads to the story happening at once, which I liked, since that's how life generally works.

Yet with all those good points I put the book down with a feeling of disappointment. And because I felt the same way about the Laura Anne Gilman Retrievers short story I read last year, I probably won't read any more Retrievers books, unless I come across them used. So whileI wasn't that excited about this story, that may well be chalked up to personal taste.
Rating: 5/10




Highwaymen: Robbers and Rogues (1997) edited by Jennifer Roberson

Where Angels Fear to Tread - Laura Anne Gilman

Published by DAW

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.

Palimpsest - Laura Anne Gilman

Rating: 5/10

Murder by Magic (2004) edited by Rosemary Edghill

I love fantasy, and I love mysteries, so I figured that this should be a great short story collection. After all, I’ve read some excellent fantasy mysteries recently, such as those written by Charlaine Harris and Simon R. Green. This collection, however, was a mixed bag. For one thing, it look me about three months to read. I’d zip through a couple of stories, and then get bogged down in a story that took days to read, and then I set it aside for something else that looked more interesting.

The problem with several of the stories seemed to be that the ability to write good fantasy does not mean the ability to write good fantasy, and vice versa.

But there are some excellent stories in this collection.

Overrush - Laura Anne Gilman

So, as a mystery collection, I found this anthology mostly disappointing. But I really do recommend looking for Laura Resnick's "Doppelgangster," which was just plain fun.
Rating: 5/10

Unusual Suspects (2008) edited by Dana Stabenow

I own and read Dana Stabenow’s first fantasy/mystery anthology, Powers of Detection and found it a mixed bag. But when I saw Unusual Suspects and saw it had stories from Sharon Shinn & Simon R. Green, I knew I would have to have this anthology.

In general, I enjoyed it more than the first anthology. Unlike the first anthology, the Sookie story was not on of my favorites. I fear I’m becoming annoyed by Sookie. Hopefully the next book I get will repair my goodwill towards her. And I didn’t dislike the story, I simply didn’t care one way or the other about it. The primary mystery itself was actually interesting, but I suppose I felt like the story wandered all over the place; perhaps I like my short stories to be a little tighter. But again, it wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t as good as other short stories I’ve read by Charlaine Harris.

Illumination - Laura Anne Gilman

If you’re a fan of fantasy mysteries, this anthology is a good introduction to some authors I particularly like, and although it had some weak spots, was better than its predecessor.
Rating: 7/10

Running with the Pack (2010) edited by Ekaterina Sedia

When I saw there was a new werewolf anthology edited by Ekatrerina Sedia with a story by Carrie Vaughn I automatically ordered it. Then of course, once it arrived, it sat around like anthologies tend to do, waiting for the “right” time to read it. But eventually read it I did, and it was excellent, with a few caveats, the biggest being, the anthology should not have ended on the story it did. On the plus side (and this is huge plus in my opinion) these are stories that deal with werewolves without all the hawt supernatural sex. A couple stories acknowledge sex, but the focus of these stories is upon the other aspects of being a werewolf, which I very much enjoyed, because there is a lot to explore in this mythos and this anthology does a very good job of moving beyond the paranormal romance aspect of werewolves.

Laura Anne Gilman‘s story Werelove was another very good one, and although it deals with love, it remains boink free.

All in all, this is an excellent anthology, and one I can highly recommend.

Published by Prime
Rating: 8/10

Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives (2011) edited by Justin Gustainis

those-who-hunt-monstersAs the title says, this is a collection of supernatural mysteries.

“Dusted: A Cosa Nostradamus Story” by Laura Anne Gilman

This was, as sometimes happens, a mix of stories I liked and didn’t like, though there wasn’t any particular story I thought was terrible. Just stories that were more or less to my personal taste. There were also several stories I had previously read.

“Dusted: A Cosa Nostradamus Story” by Laura Anne Gilman. Daniel is a retired cop and private investigator who deals with… special cases. Cases that involve things that Nulls don’t see or know about. It wasn’t a bad story, but it didn’t do anything for me, either. Which happened previously with Laura Anne Gilman stories.

All an all, an interesting anthology, and would I can easily recommend–especially if it’s still only $3.

Published by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
Rating: 7/10