Shoggoths In Bloom by Elizabeth Bear
With an introduction by Scott Lynch
Winner of the 2013 Locus Poll for Best Collection!
A compilation of short science fiction and fantasy from Elizabeth Bear—tales of myth and mythic resonance, fantasies both subtle and epic in tone; hard science fiction and speculations about an unknowable universe. This collection, showcasing Bear’s unique imagination and singular voice, includes her Hugo- and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award-winning story “Tideline” and Hugo-winning novelette “Shoggoths in Bloom,” as well as an original, never-published story. Recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the Locus Award, a World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and Philip K. Dick nominee, Bear is one of speculative fiction’s most acclaimed, respected, and prolific authors.
[Starred Review] Many novelists translate badly to short form, but Hugo award-winner Bear loses none of her depth or emotional power in this anthology of fierce, lonely tales about sacrifice, bravery, and loss. Missteps—her use of real historical figures in "Sonny Liston Takes the Fall" seems to imply that Muhammad Ali owed his career to another boxer’s mystical sacrifice—are rare. Bear at her best is magical, as in "The Girl Who Sang Rose Madder," in which a former rock star has to choose between death as an artist and immortality as an undead hack musician. Other standouts include the title story, about a black professor in the 1930s who finds kinship with the Lovecraftian monsters he studies, and "The Cold Blacksmith," a bittersweet fairy tale about what it takes to mend a heart. As in her novels, Bear’s world-building is absorbingly rich and strange, full of blue parrot cats, ruthless Mongol-ish princesses, and modern alleyways haunted by cockatrices and harpies, and adventurous readers will find her storytelling absolutely irresistible.—Publishers Weekly
I heartily recommend this book for readers who enjoy complicated stories that deal, often, with the personal and intersectional politics of survival—Bear frequently engages with issues of gender, race, class, and sexuality, among other things, and she does so with an attention to detail and a sympathy for other folks’ stories that I find moving. Shoggoths in Bloom showcases a handful of brilliant stories, and several great ones, to strong effect; I would, happily, read it again. And again.—Tor.com
If I've learned anything from this collection, it's that some kinds of stories deserve hopeful endings. If you already knew that, then I can recommend this collection without reservations. The stories are thought-provoking, well-written, and, above all, pretty fun... this one is worth checking out. There's something here that's real.—Strange Horizons
Shoggoths in Bloom is a pleasingly eclectic collection. It contrives to run from straight SF to fantasy and back again without pausing for breath … Elizabeth Bear is one of those authors who manages to be original every time and, in this collection, we have a rare collection of different stories, each different but with the same standard of excellence … Shoggoths in Bloom is excellent and well worth reading.—Thinking About Books
This is an excellent anthology for those seeking out quality, contemporary speculative short fiction … Each story is powerful, heart-rending, and memorable in its own way … Shoggoths in Bloom left me satisfied—and famished for seconds. More please. (Five stars.)—The Canary ReviewBear is a mistress of short story … If you are tired of clichés of genre or lack of fantastic in literary fiction, try [Shoggoths in Bloom]. If you want to know what it would be like if borders between two didn’t exist, Shoggoths in Bloom is as close as you can get. —A Book With a View
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