I recently have reread a collection of short stories called I got a while ago, I was looking for a particular story to show somebody and then remembered that I love most of the stories in this collection. Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction edited by Sharyn November is full of stories that are unique, varied and perfect for reading just about anytime. It is geared towards the young adult crowd, but that does not take anything away from this collection. Here are some of my favorites.
Tam Lin story set in the Vietnam Era New York City is a perfect opener to this book. It is both classic and new all at the same time. The story is the perfect length and the ending is what every love at first sight story should be.
The Baby in the Night Deposit Box by Megan Whalen Turner - This is one of my top ten short stories of all time. It is original and funny and sweet and has terriffying shadow bunnies of evil. It also features a little girl (who is not blond haired, fair skinned or rose lipped thank you very much) who in a very short story grows up to be even awesomer. Just go read it.
Mariposa by Nancy Springer - This is the perfect story of what happens to us when we grow up...we lose our soul. The souls in this story are represented by various objects, butterflies, birds, or in the case of our main character a sunfish. This sweet story reminds us to go back to that time in life when you could still see the magic in everything, and how that made the world a better place.
Max Mondrosch by Lloyd Alexander - I have to put this story in here for sheer writing skill, and the fact that I hate it so much I refuse to ever reread it. This is a fantastically written short story, but it is heart wrenching and sad. It makes me feel super depressed when I read it...again, not a bad thing, just a writer who knows how to get to his readers. I will say you should read it and get back to me on what effect it may or may not have had on you.
The Fall of Ys by Meredith Ann Pierce - This is a retelling of the fabled city of Ys. In this story the author has changed the perspective to a selfish man who wants to have absolute rule. Instead of his daughter being a monster, she is actually the good guy. I like this story because it always sticks in my head after I have read it. Actually this is the story that made me hunt down this book again.
Byndley by Patricia A. McKillip - This is one of my absolute favorites in this book. It is a truly magical fairy story. It has everything one wants from a high fantasy tale, it has the Fair Folk, a mysterious village in the enchanted woods, a tortured soul looking for a way back, and an epic tale of love and betrayal, all told over a mug of ale...ahhh perfect.
Little Dot by Diana Wynne Jones - This story is told from the perspective of a cat and is hilarious. A wizard becomes the unintentional owner of several cats who help him defeat a monster who is intent on eating the villagers livestock. It is witty and sweet and one I am going to read to my nephews in the very near future.
As I look at my favorite stories I am not surprised to see that this book inspired me to pick up several of these authors books. Patricia A. McKillip and Diana Wynne Jones are two of several authors I now read extensively thanks to this collection. This is just one of the things I love about these kind of collections, how it introduces writing styles and authors you have never tried before, YAY ME! Anyways everybody go pick it up (and the companion book which I will get to later) and tell me what you think. I give this collection an 8 out of 10 firebirds.
What author(s) have you been introduced to through a short story collection? Do you ever have to go through your short story collections to find a story you were looking for/thinking about? Do you find it amusing when my favorite list in these collection includes almost all of the stories?