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Just a quick additional note. Has anyone else noted that some of the small presses are doing some particuarly terrific covers of late? I just saw the cover to Liz Williams new collection from Night Shade, which is just lovely. I also really liked Prime’s work on the cover for Robert Freeman Wexler’s book (see link in the post below), and thought that Small Beer did a great job on Sean Stewart’s Perfect Circle.

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Two books with trains…
My reading, as you, oh faithful reader, already know, has been all over the place of late. As you can see from the sidebar on this page, I’m currently reading Circus of the Grand Design and Iron Council, both of which feature trains (to greater or lesser extents). The opening of the Wexler is very smooth, and reminds me a lot of “In Springdale Town”, which you all have already read. Good stuff.

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Matt Cheney mentions that Ideomancer has new material from M. Rickert online at the moment. I’d not read much of Rickert’s work until last year, when she suddenly seemed to have a story in every second issue of F&SF, most of which were very good. It turns out she’s had exactly a dozen stories published, and I just read her 13th, “Cold Fires”, which is in the Oct/Nov issue of F&SF. It’s a wonderful, touching, funny and even poignant fantasy about pirates, paintings, and love. One of the year’s best. Actually, I’ve read about half of the Oct/Nov issue, and it seems particularly strong, with great stories from Rickert, Gene Wolfe, Dale Bailey, Mike Bishop and others. In fact, if we at Coode St could exhort you to one path of action for the day, it would be to subscribe to Gordon Van Gelder’s fine magazine.

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Stories, stories…it’s all stories
Well, I’ve got myself in a bit of a fuddle. I should be writing a new column, and I should be logically, consistently reading through all of this year’s magazines and anthologies. Instead, I’m dipping into this one and that one, reading finished books and magazines, galleys, print-outs and some onscreen stuff. Which is all good, but I need to be careful that I don’t just miss things.

Stories that have really stood out for me of late include a very good Bradley Denton novella, “Sergeant Chip” from the September F&SF, a terrific and very funny Dale Bailey short, “The End of the World as We Know It” from the Oct/Nov F&SF, Paola Bacigalupi’s pocket-Dune short “The Pasho” from the September Asimov’s and a handful of others. I’ve also been reading through the mostly unimpressive ReVisions anthology (it has a good Doctorow/Stross tale in it) and the very impressive Brett Cox/Andy Duncan anthology Crossroads. You should, as they say, check it out when it hits the shelves. In addition to a number of very sharp reprints, it has a great mainstream Michael Swanwick piece and a wonderful Richard Butner story, “The Wounded”, which seems gentle, delicate even, but is powerful and very well told. I’d not read much Butner before, but along with Jay Lake, Chris Rowe and a few others, he’s a writer to watch.

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We went to Kites for Kids

I don’t get to do enough fun stuff with the family, but not long ago we went to a ‘Kites for Kids’ event, and had lots of fun. Here, as they say, is a picture.

PS: That’s Jess. She turned four about three weeks after this picture was taken.

…unavoidable stuff from jonathan strahan…