The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra is a linked collection of short stories set in less glamorous parts of Russia. I’m not exactly sure where, someplace far from Moscow, around Chechnya, I think. One of those cities built by Stalin to hold political exiles and their families.  Enough people moved in and stayed long enough to bring about a semblance of home, … Continue reading The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

Raymond Carver vs. Ursula K. Le Guin

The port chops had thawed, too. Everything had thawed, including some more fist sticks, a package of steak-ums, and two Chef Sammy Chinese food dinners.  The hot dogs and homemade spaghetti sauce had thawed.  She closed the door to the freezer and reached into the fridge for her carton of yoghurt.  She raised the lid of the yoghurt and sniffed.  That’s when the yelled at … Continue reading Raymond Carver vs. Ursula K. Le Guin

William Roughead vs. Francis Wyndham

This probably isn’t a fair fight, but each side sure did put up a strong battle. For this final bout in the first round of my mini-tournament of short stories William Roughead’s account of the famed 1765 trail of Katherine Nairn who was accused of murdering her husband with the help of her lover who was also her husbands brother.  This made her guilty of … Continue reading William Roughead vs. Francis Wyndham

Earthsea vs. The Apocalypse

The deck really was stacked against Desirina Boskovich.  Though her short stories Heaven is a Place on Planet X and To Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood are both terrific fun, there’s really no way she could win against an Earthsea story by Ursula K. LeGuin.  Not while I am the judge. I’ve been pairing sets of short stories against each other in a tournament of books … Continue reading Earthsea vs. The Apocalypse

African Writing Today vs. The O. Henry Awards 1995

This week I pitted two stories from Sierra Leone circa 1967 against the first and second prize winners of 1995’s O. Henry Award. Africa won. At some point the question comes down to a matter of taste.  Both of the Africa stories, one by Abioseh Nicol and one by Sarif Easmon, were traditional stories–clearly drawn characters in a linear plot arc with a climax.  Each … Continue reading African Writing Today vs. The O. Henry Awards 1995

A Short Story Omnibus For Labor Day: The Cask of Amatillado, Heavier Than Air, The Night in Question, The Sages of Elsewhere, Inside the Whale, The Dreaming Child

    I’ve been slowly migrating the reviews I wrote for my old blog, Ready When You Are, C.B., since I started this new one.  Ready When You Are, C.B. has gone from over 1000 posts on 8 pages to just under 200 posts, so it has taken some time.  Not everything made the cut, either.  Today, since it’s been too long between short story … Continue reading A Short Story Omnibus For Labor Day: The Cask of Amatillado, Heavier Than Air, The Night in Question, The Sages of Elsewhere, Inside the Whale, The Dreaming Child

Jessica Mitford vs. Ursula K Le Guin: A Deal Me In Short Story Challenge

For this round of the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge I drew Ursula K. Le Guin’s novella The Finder and an essay by Jessica Mitford called You-all and Non You-all: A Southern Potpourri.   My extra challenge has been trying to find a link between the two stories selected at random, which has been fun, frustrating, and once in a while impossible.  You might think it would … Continue reading Jessica Mitford vs. Ursula K Le Guin: A Deal Me In Short Story Challenge

H.L. Mencken vs. Ursula K. Le Guin – A Deal Me In Short Story Challenge

When I joined Jay at Bibliophilopolis’s short story challenge, I added a little twist of my own, drawing two cards/stories from my deck and trying to find a way to link them in my review. It’s been fun but it’s not going to work this time. H.L. Mencken would hate Ursula K. Le Guin.  Mencken would surely be one of those critics lamenting the sad … Continue reading H.L. Mencken vs. Ursula K. Le Guin – A Deal Me In Short Story Challenge

Joan Didion vs. Ben Winters. A Deal Me In Short Story Challenge

You might think this one would be a bit of a stretch. This time the two cards I dealt brought me Ben Winter’s linked stories “BRING HER TO ME” and “BRING THEM DOWN” from The Apocalypse Trilogy and Joan Didion’s essay “Comrade Laski, C.P.U.S.A. (M.-L.)’ from Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Winter’s story is about a group of religious fanatics who believe God has told them to end … Continue reading Joan Didion vs. Ben Winters. A Deal Me In Short Story Challenge

The Horla by Guy de Maupassant Translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell

One man descends into madness.  One author visits this story three times, working it again and again as he descends himself serving time in an asylum between versions.  First published in the newspaper, then re-written as a letter and finally a long version published shortly before the author was institutionalized. The Horla is Guy de Maupassant’s story of how one man succumbs to madness. It’s very … Continue reading The Horla by Guy de Maupassant Translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell

Murakami for Beginners: After the Quake by Haruki Murakami

If you’re one of the many people out there hesitating before you try a Haruki Murakami novel, After the Quake may be just the book for you. Every so often, I read a comment from someone wondering where to start with Haruki Murakami.  Wind-up Bird Chronicle or Kafka on the Shore?  Both are fairly hefty novels which can intimidate people nervous about magical realism. The six stories weighing in … Continue reading Murakami for Beginners: After the Quake by Haruki Murakami

Jessica Mitford vs. Ursula K. Le Guin – A Deal Me In Short Story Challenge

 If you could sit down to a nice dinner with Jessica Mitford and Ursula K. Le Guin I think you’d be in for a very interesting evening.  I have no idea if either ever read the other’s work, I kind of doubt  it actually, but they certainly read enough and wrote enough to be very interesting people.   They both would have a lot of interesting … Continue reading Jessica Mitford vs. Ursula K. Le Guin – A Deal Me In Short Story Challenge