Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Kitty’s Mix-Tape

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Kitty’s Mix-Tape (2020) Carrie Vaughn

Kittys Mix-Tape
“Kitty Walks On By, Calls Your Name” (2020)
“It’s Still the Same Old Story” (2011) Down These Strange Streets
“The Island of Beasts” (2018) Nightmare, December 2018.
“The Beaux Wilde” (2014) Urban Fantasy Magazine, December 2014.
“Unternehmen Werwolf” (2013) Halloween: Magic, Mystery, and the Macabre
“Kitty and the Full Super Bloodmoon Thing” (2015)
“Kitty and Cormac’s Excellent Adventure” (2020)
“Sealskin” (2015) Operation Arcana
“The Arcane Art of Misdirection” (2012) Hex Appeal
“What Happened to Ben in Vegas” (2020)
“Kitty and the Super Blue Blood or Whatever Moon Thing” (2018)
“Defining Shadows” (2011) Those Who Fight Monsters
“Bellum Romanum” (2017) Urban Enemies
“Kitty Learns the Ropes” (2010) Full Moon City
“Kitty Busts the Feds” (2020)

I have always liked Carrie Vaughn’s short stories, and in fact one of her short stories–that is actually in this volume–is one of my favorite fantasy-mystery short stories.

The Kitty series was finished in 2015. The Immortal Conquistador, which features on of my favorite characters from the series, came out this fall. This collection is stories that didn’t make the first anthology, Kitty’s Greatest Hits (2011).

Surprisingly–or perhaps not given how much I read–there were several stories I had no memory of reading. Which is fine, because then I got to enjoy them again.

“Kitty Walks on By, Calls Your Name” tells of Kitty’s 10th high school reunion. It was unusually over-the-top for a Kitty story.

“It’s Still the Same Old Story” is a Rick story that I’d read before, set in the present with flashbacks to 60 years earlier. Despite his age, Rick has kept far more of his humanity than many other vampires in this would, and that might be in part because he continues to allow himself human friends.

“The Island of Beasts” is a story that is NOT a kitty story and doesn’t seem to have any characters we’d met previously. It’s set in the early 1800s, and follows a young female werewolf who is exiled to (dumped on) an island that is home to werewolves who cannot follow the rules set by their master.

“The Beaux Wilde” is another story that occurs outside of the Kitty timeline with none of the Kitty characters, sometimes in the 1800s, where a young woman is being encouraged by her family to get married, but because she can feel others thoughts, she’d rather be a spinster than marry someone who has no respect for her.

I liked this story quite a lot.

“Unternehmen Werwolf” is set during WWII, and stems from the stories that Hitler used the supernatural.

“Kitty and the Full Super Bloodmoon Thing” is more a silly excerpt than a full-fledged short story.

“Kitty and Cormac’s Excellent Adventure” is interesting in that it is essentially Kitty and Cormac playing a bit part in someone else’s story–a story that you will never learn.

I love the idea of it and how it makes a perfect short story.

“Sealskin” takes place a generation after “The Temptation of Robin Green”. I really like how this story ended.

“The Arcane Art of Misdirection” is an Odysseus Grant story, set in Vegas. I feel like Odysseus got short shrift in this series, in that he’s a fascinating character, but we never really learn much about it.

“What Happened to Ben in Vegas” is more of an outtake from Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand that is precisely what the title says.

I don’t love how insecure Ben is here.

“Kitty and the Super Blue Blood or Whatever Moon Thing” is another silly bit.

“Defining Shadows” is not just one of my favorite stories set in Kitty’s world, it’s one of my favorite supernatural mystery stories. Detective Hardin get stuck with a murder where half a body (the lower half) is found standing upright in a shed–and they can’t figure out who or what killed her.

Particularly fascinating is how Hardin decides to deal with the culprit she discovers.

“Bellum Romanum” here we see one of the Big Bads of the series, and how he got his power to attempt to destroy the world. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this story.

“Kitty Learns the Ropes” was a story I’d read previously and completely forgotten. It’s a story about someone being outed as a supernatural–to the detriment of his current career. It’s interesting to consider both the concept of outing someone against their will as well as whether they have an unfair advantage in things, being a supernatural.

“Kitty Busts the Feds Story” is set after the series ends, and is essentially Kitty discovering that the government is developing an agency for dealing with supernatural creatures. Which really, it seemingly would have done earlier in the series.

Although there are some excellent stories in this anthology, there are also some weak stories that felt more like asides rather than full-fledged stories. But I think it’s worth reading because the good stories are quite good.

Tachyon Publications
Rating: 7.5/10


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