Scenting the Dark

$28.39 $14.20

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Scenting the Dark Description

From Publishers Weekly Campbell Award–winner Kowal presents a broad spectrum of stories in her chapbook-slim first collection. The heartbreaking Just Right, in which a family struggles with a child’s strange behavior, isn’t speculative at all. Death Comes but Twice edges into dark fantasy, while blind perfumer Penn is stalked by an enormous predator in SF horror story Scenting the Dark. The deepest tale is Some Other Day, in which a young scientist struggles to undo the terrible consequences of her father’s well-meant work, while Jaiden’s Weaver is a sweet story about nurturing and caring for a creature others think deformed. Kowal’s stories don’t always plumb the depths of speculation or characters, but when they do the results are often stirring. This excellent introduction to her work is likely to make her new fans. (Nov.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Read more From Booklist Kowal is primarily a puppeteer, and the sweetness so much puppetry conjures flavors her writing. And not just in “This Little Pig” and “Jaiden’s Weaver,” which would fit cozily into any good YA sf collection. The first, set in a near-future Iceland that has virtually banned fossil fuels, features a 17-year-old whose fondest dream, to drive a classic 1950s MG-TD, propels him into the workforce, where he meets with humiliation but also hope. A 13-year-old girl who cares not for horses but for “teddy bear spiders”—an endearing species that grows to ridable size on the Earth-colonized planet New Oregon—is the focus of “Jaiden’s Weaver,” an endearing kid-and-critter exercise. Less YA friendly, “Some Other Day” resolves as warmly as those two, though what is resolved is very dire, indeed. In the remaining five, a dollop of acid sours any sweetness, either, as in the tense title story, immediately; as in “Just Right,” terminally; or, as in “Portrait of Ari,” just beyond the story’s last word. Lucid and engaging work from a probable rising star. –Ray Olson Read more See all Editorial Reviews

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