Important Notice! One of my duties as Piedmont Laureate is a biweekly blog. So, for the rest of 2015, I'll be posting only rarely here, usually exercise related posts that don't seem at home there. On the Piedmont Laureate blog, I'll mainly be focusing on topics related to speculative fiction. Check it out by clicking here.

I'm James Maxey, the author of the Dragon Age fantasy series of Bitterwood, Dragonforge, and Dragonseed, the Dragon Apocalypse series of Greatshadow, Hush, and Witchbreaker, as well as the superhero novels Nobody Gets the Girl and Burn Baby Burn. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Souls of Living Wood

I read "Souls of Living Wood" last night, the Eugie Foster story in Modern Magic. I hate singling out stories in anthologies I'm in, out of fear of offending other contributors, but, wow, this was a terrific story. I had high hopes for it, since Eugie was a fellow Phobos award winner. The story exceeded my hopes. It has the most unexpected character I've yet encounted in the anthology, or just about anywhere in a long time--a talking house. Of course, the house can't talk to just anyone, but there's a real estate agent who, without giving away too much of the story, has what I can best describe as the oddest superpower I've ever heard of--the ability to talk to houses, and have the houses talk back. It's ideas like this that draw me to science fiction and fantasy. I'm 42 years old; I've read, I dunno, a zillion stories in my life, and it's rare that I run into concepts that I've never seen before. I'm jaded. Finding an original idea gives me a buzzy, drunken feeling as my thoughts crowd around to examine the newcomer. It gets me excited again about the power of words.

Even better, Eugie takes this original idea and builds a terrific, moving story around it. Sometimes, great ideas get stuck in stories that don't live up to their promise, but Eugie follows through with lovely writing, a captivating plot, and strong performances from the other characters in the story, all of whom come to life with an amazing economy of words. The stories only five pages long--I'm guessing the word count is probably only 2,000 words. Quite an accomplishment.

1 comment:

eugiefoster said...

Wow, thanks for the glowing accolades about "Souls of Living Wood"! You totally made my day.