Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Birthday Review: Stories of Caitlin R. Kiernan

Birthday Review: Stories of Caitlin R. Kiernan

Today is Caitlin R. Kiernan's birthday, and I find I've never published a collection of my reviews of her short fiction. So here is one!

Blog review of Shadows Over Baker Street, November 2003

"The Drowned Geologist", by Caitlín R. Kiernan, also only peripherally features Holmes, mostly telling of an American geologist who encounters some mysterious old fossils on a visit to England.

Blog review of Gothic!, April 2005

I quite enjoyed Caitlin R. Kiernan's "The Dead and the Moonstruck", another "reversal" story, this one about a changeling raised by ghouls who must pass a rite of passage test to become fully accepted by her new family. The story doesn't really go anywhere though -- it is clearly a bit of backgrounding for a character in her latest novel. But I did enjoy it.

Locus, December 2008

The opening and closing stories in the fine, typically rather mannered, small magazine Not One of Us (now up to 40 issues!) impressed me. Caitlín R. Kiernan’s “Flotsam” is a brief intense depiction of the protagonist’s latest encounter with a seductive vampire of sorts – it’s essentially a prose poem, and as such not easy to pull off, but Kiernan’s writing is lovely and it works.

Review of Eclipse 4 (Locus, May 2011)

“Tidal Forces” by Caitlin R. Kiernan is very well-written, and the central characters are utterly real, but its central conceit, which is purposely just plain weird, came off simply too affected for me. I have no doubt Kiernan did exactly as she intended, and used the idea with eyes fully open – but it didn’t work. There’s still plenty to like in this story of a woman whose partner is afflicted with a black hole, quite literally, that begins to eat her substance away.

Review of Supernatural Noir (Locus, August 2011)

And finally Caitlín R. Kiernan’s “The Maltese Unicorn”, which is as stylishly noir as any story here, about a used bookstore owner who is friendly with a mysterious brothel owner, and thus ends up trying to track down a strange object – a dildo – for her, and ends up getting involved, to her distress, with a beautiful and untrustworthy woman mixed up in the whole business. I thought this the best story in the book, and the story that most perfectly, to my taste, matched the theme.

Review of Naked City (Locus, August 2011)

The American West, and mines, are also central to another strong Caitlín R. Kiernan story, “The Colliers’ Venus (1893)”, in which a museum curator investigates a captured woman – a woman found encased in rock, while dealing as well with his own abortive relationship.

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