12 February, 2008

People are seriously underwhelmed...

...by my story 'She-Creatures' in Jonathan Strahan's SF and F anthology Eclipse One. Dave Truesdale says:
A perfect example of the style over substance story, which featured a seductive and well rendered scenario but then petered out and failed to deliver as a story, was Margo Lanagan's short "She-Creatures." A tale of (alien? sorcerous? "[t]he women, the bitches, the witches"?) abduction rife with erotic overtones goes nowhere, explains nothing, and ends with the village-farmer-cum-nighttime-smuggler-of-kegs frustrated when his wife won't believe what he saw. We are given one well rendered scene to tickle our fancy, but that's it. Literarily put, big whoop.
And Andrew Wheeler reckons:
In Lanagan's typical vaguely-like-Australia-but-not-anywhere-in-particular, three men are doing some kind of smuggling by night, when a group of five witches find them and perform a weird sexualized ritual on one of the men. It's all very life-changing and frightening.

The scene where the witches do...whatever...to the guy is genuinely powerful. But Lanagan refuses to explain it or have it lead anywhere, so it just floats above the story. We don't know who these guys were before, or what they were doing. We don't know who the witches are, or what they did, or what they have to do with anything. So it's one strong scene embedded in a few thousand words of not enough scene-setting, like a fan dancer whose thin, wispy fans don't actually cover anything.
It isn't hard to work out from the story that the men are smuggling kegs of Spanish wine, therefore that this story takes place somewhere in Devon or Cornwall. That's all I'll say. *zips lips*


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Literarily put, big whoop"

ooh! Now there's a blurbable quote if ever I saw one!

12 February, 2008 12:25  

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