Monday, February 25, 2019

Birthday Review: Stories of A. M. Dellamonica

Today is Alyx Dellamonica's birthday. So here's a collection of my reviews of her short fiction, from my Locus column. It's not as long a collection as it might be ... which can only mean one thing! Ms. Dellamonica should write more short fiction!

Locus, April 2002

The most recent stories in Sci Fiction do nothing to mar the site's well-deserved reputation as the best online source of new short SF, and one of the best sources period. Well worth a look is Alyx Dellamonica's "Three Times Over the Falls": a typically twisty time travel tale, with a man from the future trying to make sure a present day rock band stays together. Stories about the vital importance of rock music to the future never convince me, but that quibble aside this a sound, entertaining, fast moving piece.

Locus, November 2002

The October/November issue of Asimov's is another impressive one. Locus reviewer A. M. Dellamonica contributes "A Slow Day at the Gallery", a fine, cynical, story about a visitor to an alien art gallery with a sinister mission.

Locus, February 2003

Speaking of Canada, the theme for the Winter issue of the e-mail distributed Oceans of the Mind is Canadian writers. A. M. Dellamonica contributes the prize: "Living the Quiet Life", about a far future human society mostly consisting of humans genetically enhanced to be "Quick": telepathic, with special healing powers, etc. Some are "Quiet": they lack these extra powers. Nerethe is "Quick" but passes for Quiet. One of her close "Quiet" friends is the chief negotiator with aliens, who distrust the "mindpicking" abilities of the Quick. Nerethe finds herself pressured to violate her agreements to stay Quiet and to spy on an alien ambassador, who seems to be planning some treachery. Dellamonica sets up an intriguing and original background, and forces her protagonist into a believably wrenching moral corner.

Locus, April 2012

At in February I saw a couple of fine pieces. Alyx Dellamonica's “Among the Silvering Herd” introduces an intriguing character, merchant and diplomat Gale Feliachild. She's been hired to help the island kingdom of Redcap get out from under an onerous tribute they owe a more powerful neighbor. That political story is well enough done if in the end a bit inconsequential, but Gale is an interesting character, and there are fascinating social tidbits mentioned, as well as a personal story involving her unwilling replacement of her ship's captain with a younger man. This particular story is nice enough, but what I really want is more in the same milieu. 

Locus, April 2016

There are some strong recent stories in A. M. Dellamonica continues her series of stories of Gale Felachild and Captain Parrish in “The Glass Galago”, set early in their teaming. The issue here is political: a proposal to increase regulations on magical alterations of people, with a dangerous example at hand: a “script” which changes animals such as the title galago, or humans, to glass. It’s interesting in the short run, but dangerous if not reversed. The problem is, the inventor of this script has lost it, and a woman who has been transformed may die. Gale and Parrish’s job is to find the script, and perhaps also find who took it and why. It’s a nice little mystery, and it fills in some worthwhile background on the society in which this continuingly intriguing series is set.

Locus, April 2017

Also in is the latest Gale Feliachild story from A. M. Dellamonica, “Losing Heart Among the Tall”. Entertaining as ever with this series – this one is from the point of view of Captain Sloot, returning home to retire and leave the protection of Gale to young Parrish. All is complicated by the theft of the Heart of the ship Temperance, which could mean the end of the truce that tamed the pirates. Gale’s sister Beatrice turns out to be central to recovering and protecting the Heart – but her price might be a pledge that Sloot forgo his retirement. These are some of the most enjoyable nautical fantasies of recent years, and perhaps a bit underappreciated.

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