Thursday, August 14, 2008

"A striking freshness linked to unique points of view"

The new issue of Realms of Fantasy, just out on the newsstand, offers this review of Nisi Shawl's Filter House from Jeff VanderMeer:

Aqueduct Press, headed up by L. Timmel Duchamp, continues to offer unique, thought-provoking fiction by authors readers often cannot find through other publishing houses. Nisi Shawl's excellent collection Filter House is a good example. These fourteen stories, including three originals, share a striking freshness linked to unique points of view. Sometimes Shawl opens with a great hook, as with the opening of "The Water Museum": "When I saw the hitchhiker standing by the sign for the Water Museum, I knew he had been sent to assassinate me." Other times, she invokes African and African-American folklore or weaves a unique riff on fairytales, as with "The Princess Pragmatic" or "The Beads of Ku". "Good Boy," meanwhile, is a crazy and unique post-cyberpunk novelette. The provenance of these stories-from the Dark Matter anthologies to Asimov's SF Magazine, Strange Horizons to Detroit Noir-also provides proof of the diversity, and talent, on display here. The common thread to all of these stories is Shawl's pragmatic, sharp yet comfortable voice. Filter House is a great treat for anyone who likes good writing and, come awards time, Filter House deserves serious consideration.

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