I bought Uptown Local and Other Interventions by Diane Duane for two reasons. First, Diane Duane wrote my favorite Star Trek novel. No surprise, it’s Spock’s World, but I don’t just love it because I love Spock. Telling the grand tale of Vulcan from it’s formation as a planet to Kirk’s time (as we think of it in the Federation terms) and interwoven with a complicated plot involving inter-planetary politics and, of course, involving the crew of the Enterprise is an impressive feat of writing. I’m not ashamed to say, multiple points in the book move me to tears.
So when John Scalzi put out a call to his blog readers to buy digital copies of her books from Ebooks Direct while she was dealing with the fallout from fraudulent activity on her bank account. Banks don’t care if you need money to eat and stuff while they sort out the details and I was more than happy to trade a little cash for ebooks. Did I mention, I love my Kindle?
I got Uptown Local and a book by Diane’s husband Peter Morwood which I haven’t read yet.
First, I should say, I love short stories. A well written short story, especially in fantasy and science fiction, the world building and story telling in a small number of words creates a distilled flavor that packs a punch most full length novel can’t match. Almost all the fantasy I’ve read has been in the form of short stories. Maybe that’s because so many fantasy novels are super long and intimidate me. Short stories give me everything I need – dragons and magic and a connection to mythology – without reading for weeks.
One difficult thing about reviewing short story collections is not spoiling the stories. I loved this collection. Some of the stories are set in the universe of Diane’s Young Wizard young adult novels. I want to pick those up based on the strength of these stories. Modern settings for magical stories dominate the collection. The couple revolving around food were very cool and connected to each other but not interdependent. The characters and settings are well developed, again, hard to do in smaller word counts. Establish mythology is played played with and even a famous (dead) writer is called into action to save his hometown.
What happened with Diane’s bank account was terrible and I wouldn’t wish such frustration on anyone, but I’m glad I tried one of her non-Trek books. I won’t be waiting for such an event to pick up some more.