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Quashie Trapp Blacklight in the Solaris Book of New Fantasy, edited by George Mann

#1 User is offline   Malaclypse 

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 12:56 PM

The Solaris Book of New Fantasy at File  newfantasy-so340.jpg (20.69K)
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Here's a review copied from Lou Anders' blog Bowing to the Future, in which he announces another Erikson offering in an upcoming anthology he has co-edited.


This is a 28 pages long short-story that was newly published in the “Solaris Book of New Fantasy”, a short-story collection edited by George Mann that surely contains all sorts of tasty treats. I, however, was only interested in it for the story written by one of my favourite fantasy authors, Steven Erikson. Here’s what I thought of it:

“Quashie Trapp Blacklight” is a very weird story that is perhaps best compared to his brilliant Malaz novella, “The Healthy Dead”. I got the feeling that this had been written a long time ago, before the Malazan-era, when he was writing fiction inspired by archeology under the name of Stephen Lundin, but I have no grounds for that statement except a feeling in my gut.

Amongst other things, this story contains a literal flying Irishman named Mowbry, an undercover Tarantula spy, a hairless feline wearing a factor’s wig, an invisible Mayan god, a ocean-crossing elephant and a whore named Red who’s in love with her bathtub. I can’t say anything else than that I loved reading this short; but then again I kinda adore everything this man has done so far…

My favourite passage from the short is to be found on page 491:

“I know all about cats, Mowbry, cause I’m a woman, see? There ain’t nothing poor about ‘em. Now dogs, Mowbry, dogs is the poor ones. You ever see a toy French poodle?” She shook her head. “Sorriest sight ye’d ever see. Even the rats laugh at ‘em, and they’re from Norway! Since when did anyone from Norway laugh at a Frenchie, Mowbry? Answer me that!”
“I ain’t no good on history,” Mowbry mumbled, discomfited bye Red’s evidently prodigious education.”

At the end of the short (SPOILER!), Red ends up sailing her bathtub from the Caribbean to Norway, where she eventually becomes a god for our famous rats. There are funnier quotes to be found in this short, but I picked this one because, hey – I’m from Norway and I can’t help getting excited when cool people like Erikson acknowledge our existence, even when it’s because of rats…

All in all I thought this was worth the 99 kroner (20 USD) I could have spent on this collection if I had indeed paid for it. As things are I got it for free on a gift-certificate and I haven’t any plans on reading the whole collection, even though it’s probably really good. I just don’t have the time, nor the will to read a lot of shorts by unknown authors right now. But this was fun and I’d recommend it in a heartbeat to any Erikson fan. You’ll just have to decide for yourself if you can afford the fun.

Sounds like fun. Speaking for myself, I love a good surrealist/absurdist romp so I know that I'm going to enjoy this when I get my hands on it :(

#2 User is offline   Testluv 

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 04:26 AM

I read this in the Solaris anthology. I can see how a fan, expecting hard-core fantasy from SE, might be disappointed by the story. But, if you like whimsical magical realist tales, then you will like this story. Myself, I enjoyed it. More for the style than the story. In an interview, SE mentioned that he likes the magical-realist style, and that at some point he will be looking to write a longer tale in this style. I can't wait for that....BUT I wouldn't put him anywhere near the best magical realists (in my opinion: Calvino, Borges, Marques, Grass, Rushdie, and perhaps Pynchon). Maybe with practice!
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