Big Cat and Other Stories characters ô 104

Gwyneth Jones æ 4 characters

Big Cat and Other Stories characters ô 104 é A new collection of short stories from Gwyneth Jones the author of Bold As Love Arthur C Clarke Award 2002 Life Philip K Dick Award 2005 White ueen Tiptree Award 1991 Seven Tales and a Fable World Fantasy Award 1996 The Grass Princess World Fantasy Award 1996 La Cenerentola BSFA Award 1998 and A new collection of short stories from Gwyneth Jones the author of Bold As Love Arthur C Clarke Award 2002 Life Philip K Dick Award 2005 White ueen Tiptree Award 1991 Seven Tales and a Fable World Fantasy Award 1996 The Grass Princess World Fantasy Award 1996 La Cenerentola BSFA Award 1998 and many other acclaimed works. Big Cat is a rich and varied collection of stories Each embodies Gwyneth Jones' trademark prose rich dense fast while tackling a wide range of topics and storytelling modes Some draw on her other stories but that's not an obstacle to enjoyment while the rest stand aloneSome of the stories that made the greatest impression on meVicar of Mars a lovely mashup of science fiction and ghost story Takes place in Jones' Aleutian world and features an alien on Mars getting haunted by another speciesThe Ki Anna science fiction police procedural Another Aleutian tale this one is about solving an apparent murder and turns on issues of interstellar politics and biology A key feature is a pair of species who share the same planet; one preys on the other Reminds me of another story about these speciesThe Old Schoolhouse a dip into Lovecraftian horror Erich Zann is the story I saw most clearly here but also with an echo of Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus with its imaginative linkage of avant garde music and horrorStella and the Adventurous Roots is much goofy and playful than the rest A nice smile of a storyEmergence a nice look at human evolution in a future solar systemBig Cat takes place in the world of another Jones series wherein the British government collapses and hard bitten rockstars take over The premise still seems silly to me but I liked the way this story changed shapeFinal note my first exposure to Gwyneth Jones was with her novel White ueen I enjoyed the first half mostly due to the language and worldbuilding but lost patience in the second half as the worldbuilding and plotting became less plausible I haven't read any of her other novels yet have enjoyed her short stories Perhaps the latter form is just where I like her work the best

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Big Cat and Other Stories gathers together the author's finest work from the past decade and features a brand new story Stella and the Adventurous Roots which inspired the cover image It includes tales that revisit the world of Bold as Love and also the Aleutian Universe White ueen etc as well as venturing into brand new. I'm realizing that much as I love short stories it's been a long while since I read a single author collection and in most of the single author collections I can think of the author pretty much stays in their stylistic lane As a result I'm finding it interesting to think about why I responded well to some of the stories in this diverse collection and poorly to others I note that in every case it's the characters which drew me into the world most especially in Big Cat and Bricks Sticks Straw and The Vicar of Mars and to a lesser extent The Ki Anna In each of those stories the struggles of the characters kept me engaged with the possibilities of the world The conflicts seemed for want of a better word humanWith the very notable exception of Bricks Sticks Straw I also note that I didn't respond as well to the hard sci fi elements of stories like The Flame is Roses or Emergence or The Seventh Gamer To me these felt like the technologies were being explored than the characters were and I just didn't find myself drawn into the puzzle as wellSome of the stories are in very clear genres Stella and the Adventurous Roots is a charming fable and I like fables The Old Schoolhouse is probably a pretty good horror story in the style of HP Lovecraft but I don't care for Lovecraft Cheats is the first chapter of a young adult book It's not supposed to be a self contained story and it's not for my old eyes

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Big Cat and Other StoriesPossible tomorrowsFull of passion vivid imagination and portent this collection showcases a master storyteller at her bestContentsBig CatStella And The Adventurous RootsThe Flame Is RosesA Planet Called DesireThe Old SchoolhouseThe KiannaThe Vicar Of MarsBricks Sticks StrawEmergenceThe Seventh GamerCheatsAbout the Autho. I was given a free copy of this anthology in exchange for an honest reviewBig Cat is a collection of short stories from Gwyneth Jones It’s a versatile anthology so there’s something here for everyone They are all prefaced by short notes which makes it easier to skip through to the ones that appeal to your taste The themes are a mix of dystopia aliens AI gaming and technology The stories are very concept driven rather than character driven or plot driven It makes sense for science fiction but I would have liked to see a little of the other elements There was only one story that I thought was fully complete as a short story Stella and the Adventurous Roots The tale of a bloodthirsty alien plant was chilling and accessible with a touch of poetry at the end I felt like all of the other stories needed room to breathe to unfold That there was something to be said It’s in the nature of science fiction to tease and leave things mysterious but in this case I usually found myself wanting just a dash character insight a few steps in the plot some background They could have easily been longer short stories or novellas The explanatory notes mentioned that many of the stories were written for other anthologies so there might have been word limits at play I still enjoyed most of the stories as they are but I was often vaguely dissatisfied and felt that there was some unfulfilled potential thereThe title story Big Cat wasn’t the best way to start off the collection It’s a short story related to her novel Bold as Love It doesn’t work very well as a standalone story The impression I got from it was of an edgy dystopia where musicians are part of the government It was a confusing read but it did really showcase Gwyneth’s creativity The only story I actively disliked was A Planet Called Desire about a man that is sent to Venus The main character was a creep and the world building felt incoherent There was some exotic alien sex in it that made me cringe If I were to cherry pick my favourites the first would be Bricks Sticks Straw It was a clever story that was a bit ambiguous As far as I can tell it was about disordered personalities stranded in space that are confused over their humanity or lack thereof I would love to read an expanded version The two gaming stories that finish off the collection The Seventh Gamer and Cheats were fun reads They are the most accessible to read and ask some interesting uestions If aliens or AIs were acting as players in a game how would we know How far can gaming technology go even into the depths of spaceThe Big Cat anthology is a bit patchy and uneven but it’s worth reading for the good parts Your idea of the good parts might be different than mine but some of the fun of reading the short story collection is finding that out It’s easy to skip between stories until you find something that works for you and I think everyone will find at least one story that they enjoy