Oh you guys. I want to bake this cover into a cake (a yellow one!) and EAT it.
Margo Lanagan is the very best kind of crazy. Short stories have never really been my wheelhouse, but there’s a story in here about Rapunzel and her prince and her sentient hair. You heard me. That shit is the sort of bananas I can bake into a cake (damn, there go my cake-baking metaphors for the week).
And this is the part where I usually blather on about plot for a bit, but short story collections! They are multi-plotinous, Lanagan’s more than most. It’s like she has a Giant Spinny Wheel of Ideas and she gives it a whirl and it’s all, You must now go write about the twelve plagues of Egypt, and merrily she goes to craft this beautiful, odd little thing full of terror and delight and TRIUMPH. And then there’s one about the fellow what ferries your soul across the fiery river only he slips and falls in, and it’s so sad I nearly died. Margo! I am a delicate flower, you cannot do this to me!
And you half expect every story to sound samey after a while, but here is sort of a mean little tale about two sisters and here is a sad little dystopia about a kid who measures the heads of the dead, and you never know who is going to get comeuppance and who is going to get off scot-free.
And I usually spend the first bit of most SFF trying to Figure Out How Shit Works so that I can get on with things, but in these story-nibbits, the figuring out what kind of space you’re in and how all the bits dance together is part of the fun. At the same time, like the very best SFF, it won’t be about the little boy’s psychic powers, but about the nearby old man and his wife and their workings.
Yellowcake! Read it. And then partake of her other color-nouns (I can’t speak for Red Spikes, but Black Juice is delightful and the cover is similarly creepy and great). Eight and a half caterpillars.
OH! Requisite ass-covering: book received from publisher, and also Margo and I are Friends On The Intarwebs, so this entire review might be a sycophantic lie. I mean, it’s not. But it MIGHT be.