Woman Power

I rarely visit an author’s website.  I really only do so when amazon is not helpful in determining when upcoming books will be released.  This means that the only information I have about most authors’ personal lives is what they choose to put in their books, which is very rarely anything of not.

So I had no idea that Margaret Weis is a breast cancer survivor.  That is, I assume she is a survivor because this book was published in 2000 and she was a guest of honor at Capricon just a couple years ago and signed several books for me.  But this is about cancer.  In Weis’ mind, she compared the sacrifices of cancer with the legendary sacrifice of Amazonian warriors, said to cut off a breast to better wield their bows.  From that was born New Amazons, an anthology of women overcoming great odds and fearsome foes.

New Amazons is everything I had hoped to find and missed in Dangerous Women.  These eighteen stories are heavily weighted towards female authors, but some men also contributed.  And I didn’t hate a single tale here.  Oh sure, some I liked more than others and some struck me more than others, but every single one was well written.  Even the poem.

It is such a relief to have read an anthology that is this powerful, resonant, and skilled.  I’d have to do some digging in this blog to pull up the last time I had no complaints about an anthology.  A new one, that is, not one of my old classics like Immortal Unicorn.  (I had a great conversation about that today.  A friend of mine found a copy of volume I a while back, and I was encouraging him to actually read it.  Unfortunately, it seems to have been eaten by his apartment.)  I already know what to expect from the old anthologies, so rereading one of those can’t really count as far as being pleasantly (or unpleasantly) surprised by the quality of stories within.

Since it wasn’t a Fantastic anthology, I couldn’t be sure of how good it would be, since I’ve had a lot of hit-or-miss collections.  That’s probably why I’ve avoided reading anthologies for a while: being afraid that they’d be mediocre.  I have some others in the Pile though, for when I can summon the courage necessary to read them.

While all the stories are good, I don’t know that any of them really stuck out quite enough to highlight.  No, I lied.  “Sleep With One Eye Open” by Linda Baker is probably my favorite.  It’s gritty, and clearly evokes a Western while being set in a world a bit different from our own.  It’s short, but sharp and cutting, leaving you wondering if you dare ask for more.

I’m not sure what I’ll be reading next.  I’m leaning towards trying another new book, if only because I’m looking to add to the Pile in the nearish future.  There’s some rereads I’ve been thinking about, but I’m still not ready to commit to the weeks I’d need.


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