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Short Story Reading: Mary Robinette Kowal & Ellen Klages

October 20, 2015

scentingNo major updates today. I’ve been reading short stories. I dipped into Scenting the Dark and Other Stories by Mary Robinette Kowal. It’s another limited edition from Subterranean Press. I picked it up second hand after I saw a copy during last year’s Writing Excuses Retreat. I wasn’t following Mary when the book was originally published (2009) so I missed out on it.
The stories are interesting. But “Some Other  Day” led to me getting a bit freaked out. I was listening to the latest episode of Kevin & Ursula Eat Cheap yesterday, and Ursula was talking about sexy mosquitoes. Basically, genetically modified mosquitoes have been released in Brazil in an effort to combat dengue fever. The gm male mosquitoes cannot reach maturity without an antiboitic. The farmed mosquitoes are given the antibiotic, released to breed with the wild population, and then die. The offspring don’t have access to the antibiotic and so don’t mature, and then they die without reproducing. This will lead to an overall drop in the mosquito population and thus, hopefully, a reduction in the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses.
Cool! Science! Fewer mosquitoes!
However, “Some Other Day” is a story about a girl whose father did something to prevent female mosquitoes from being born. Which led to massive and unfortunate changes in the ecosystem, including huge overpopulation of birds, which resulted in diminished crop yields. This was, obviously, a bad thing. So… yeah, sexy mosquitoes freaked me out on top of that short story.
The very cool thing about the collection is that Mary has a little note after every story that gives you a bit of background, or some interesting biographical information. They aren’t my favorite things she’s written, but since those are currently Ghost Talkers, which comes out next year, and Kiss Me Twice, which is a novella she wrote some time ago, and then the ENTIRE Glamourist Histories series, not being my favorite pieces of her work is a very subjective category and I still like everything I’ve read of Mary’s better than 90% of the things I’ve read over the course of my life. So, take that as you will.

The next thing I want to mention is a short story I read today from Uncanny Magazine. It’s called, “In the House of the Seven Librarians.” It’s written by Ellen Klages, who is most known for The Green Glass Sea. It’s about a girl who is raised by seven feral librarians. I have a new life goal; to become a feral librarian. I’ll keep you posted on how that’s going.
I don’t want to say too much about the story, because it’s a perfect little jewel and you should experience it for yourself. I came across the story on Tumblr, I think. I don’t even remember. I’m so terribly pleased that I did. I also wish that I had been raised by feral librarians. It seems like a perfect beginning for me.

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