You Are What You Read

Reviews of books as I read them. This is basically a (web)log of books I've read.

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Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States

I am a DBA/database analyst by day, full time father on evenings and weekends.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Dog Said Bow-Wow

I'd recently read some stories by Michael Swanwick and enjoyed them so I found his short story collection The Dog Said Bow-Wow at the library. Swanwick writes fantastic, often whimsical science fiction. His stories are humorous yet also grand.

Three of the stories involve the characters Darger and Surplus, a pair of gentleman rogues. Darger is an English gentleman and Surplus is a one-of-a-kind genetically modified dog. In the title story, they attempt to swindle an English woman out of her diamonds using a piece of ancient banned technology, a modem. In the second story, Darger beds a cat-woman but gets involved in her ploy to escape from her husband and master. "Boys and Girls, Come out and Play" has the two rogues looking for long lost bronzes in Greece and having to help the locals when Africans let loose the gods Dionysus and Eris to experiment on the effects on the population. The two rogues excel at getting into trouble, never losing their cool, but keep missing their targets.

The story "Triceratops Summer" is a sentimental story about the gift of free time. "The Skysailor's Tale" is a fantastic story of a young man who gets caught up with a sky ship and mixed-up realities. A sky ship comes to Philadelphia from England in the early nineteenth century; but while the Americans are just getting over a brutal war with England, the English sailors have just sailed from a land where America is still a possession of the queen's. "The Bordello in Fairy" is a gritty and grim tale of how desire can be twisted into addiction. The final story, "Urdumheim", taps into myths of creation. The first people receive the gift of language only to have it come under attack from mysterious creatures.

All of Swanwick's stories are very inventive, and he has a great writing style. He can be both humorous and insightful. The stories are often serious but always a lot of fun. A-


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