Bad Luck, Trouble, Death, and Vampire Sex
By Garth Nix
Green Wizard Gardner just killed his grandmother in a freak accident. This is a bit of a problem since she’s the queen and now her guards want to kill her. Fortunately, he escapes with her gargoyle Gurl to another dimension. Unfortunately, he seems to have a strange preoccupation with dangerous sex, powerful guns, and being a private eye. This short story about regicide and magic gone awry entertains, but it is not Garth Nix at his best. Since Night Shade Books currently offers it as a free download, no one should miss this Ditmar-nominated tale. The open ending allows every reader to imagine their own continuations for the characters’ lives.
Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse
By Andy Duncan
Unlike with Nix, I read this story unfamiliar with Andy Duncan. You can be assured I will be reading more of his work now. Despite its length (less than 5,000 words), “Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse” manages to say a great deal about faith. A priest goes to a farm upon receiving a cryptic note from his secretary:
Father Leggett discovers young Mary O’Connor worships a frizzled chicken, referring to it as Jesus Christ. Most laugh at the girl’s belief, but the priest believes she may be onto something. A subtle exploration of grace, faith, and religion as a whole, I believe “Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse” will appeal both Christians and non-Christians alike. This short story deserves its Nebula nomination.
Both stories are available as free downloads from Night Shade Books. Have fun exploring Garth Nix's site and Andy Duncan's blog.
Coming Soon: A review of short stories by Mary Robinette Kowal, nominated for the Campbell Award.