A Year on Saturn

...is approximately 29.7 Earth years.

"A Year on Saturn" is the website of Shannon Fay,
freelance and fiction writer.

Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

Strange Horizon Review: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

I recently wrote my very first review for Strange Horizons. In it I talk about ‘Through the Woods,’ Emily Carroll’s collection of short horror comics. I’ve learned a lot over the years reading the reviews at Strange Horizons, so it’s a little surreal (in a good way!) to see a review from me up there.

If you are intrigued by the review, you can check out Emily Carroll’s other stories online here.

Works Updated

Updated the ‘Recent Works’ sidebar, which is really something I should stay on top of all the time rather than just updating every few months, but oh well, it’s a good excuse for a post. Soon I’m hoping to review Helen Oyeyemi’s ‘Boy, Snow, Bird,’ and ‘S.’ J.J. Abrams by Doug Dorst. It’s taking me a while to get a handle on either of them. In Boy, Snow, Bird’s case it’s because it’s a fantastic, complicated novel whose flaws and strengths are so entwined it’s hard to pull them apart. In S.’s case, it’s because the book’s a derivative slog and I have to finish the damn thing before I can review it.

More 2014, some 2013

Super busy with work lately, but don’t feel too sorry for me- one of my day jobs involves reading a lot of manga and I love my work. I’ve also hit on a streak of inspiration lately, so the writing has been strong. I’ve written roughly five stories since the start of the year. All of them super short flash pieces, but stories nonetheless.

I’m taking a break from my regular scheduled programming to brag a little bit. Two of my stories that were published in 2013 have made it onto Tangent Online’s 2013 Recommended Reading List: ‘House Hunting’ (published in Crowded Magazine) and ‘Colossus’ (published in the June 2013 issue of Penumbra). Both stories got three stars and kind words from their reviewers.

Also in December, fellow writer Danielle N. Gales had some very flattering praise for my story ‘You First Meet the Devil at a Church Fete,’ naming it as one of her favourite stories of 2013. From her blog:

You First Meet the Devil at a Church Fete

by Shannon Fay (Interzone, #246)

Here’s the thing: I hate stories told in second person. Hate them. It’s a gut reaction. Usually I can’t get more than a paragraph in before becoming irritated beyond belief, no matter how well-written, no matter how intriguing the premise. And yet…

This one works. Hell, more than that, I couldn’t imagine it being told any other way. You First Meet the Devil… charts the life of a certain fifth member of a certain band as he is offered a Faustian bargain, and then follows the repercussions of the choice he makes. A great, imaginatively told story, and winner of 2013′s James White award, with good reason.

Wow. It makes me really happy to see my strange Beatles story connect with people.

All right, enough about 2013! Back to work.

Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to say that I hope everyone had a great holiday/is having a great holiday/ got some time off to do whatever. My Christmas was fantastic, spent with family and friends. I feel ready to tackle the new year.

Speaking of the new year, now would be a good time to go to The Coast’s website and see what my top ten DVDs for 2013 were. To be honest I’m still not totally sold on my list. There were some really good movies that I saw (Fruitvale Station) that didn’t make it because they haven’t been released on DVD yet, and then there are some supposedly great movies that I just didn’t get to see at all (The Art of Killing). Even now I’m waffling a little bit on what made it and what got cut- maybe Frances Ha should be there instead of Much Ado About Nothing or The Great Gatsby? Oh well, too late now.


New story in ‘Dandelions on Mars’

Various musician friends have told about about a common experience they share: you’re playing the guitar alone in your room when suddenly you hit upon a really catchy melody. You keep at it, making it better and better, until you call in your friends and family or whoever is close at hand to hear it. And as you play your newly improvised song to them, it dawns on you that you’ve heard this music somewhere before. You’re not playing a brand new song of your invention, you’re just playing the guitar part to ‘Lola.’

I think writers have a similar experience. I wrote my story ‘The City Electric’ and was pretty pleased with the finished product, a story of robots and electronics keeping themselves busy long after the fall of man. And then I realized that I had basically just re-written my favourite Ray Bradbury story, ‘There Will Come Soft Rains.’

So I did the only thing I could do, which was sell it to a Bradbury themed anthology.

‘Dandelions on Mars’ came out this summer and can be bought through Lulu here. I haven’t seen a copy of it myself, but you can read a review of the anthology here

Works updated

I’ve been keeping myself busy and out of trouble thanks to the Clarion West Write-a-Thon, which I will be posting about very soon. I’ve also been reviewing everything I can get my hands on for The Coast, Halifax’s weekly alternative paper. Usually I review comics and weird documentaries, but lately I’ve been reading enough new book releases to review those. Especially of interest to genre fans would be my review of Lauren Beuke’s latest, The Shining Girls, and Mark Z. Danielewski’s gothic horror The Fifty Year Sword. Earlier in the year I also reviewed Hugh Howey’s Wool omnibus, but that review only ever appeared in print and not online. Here it is for posterity:

The Wool Omnibus is a collection of post-apocalyptic novellas originally published as a series of e-books. Thanks to its popularity among sci-fi fans the series became a hit and has become a success story not only for self-publishing but e-books as well. The story takes place in Silo 18, a humongous underground bunker that reaches deep into the earth. Anyone who causes trouble is sent outside to die on the surface. Wool is a fun read and Howey squeezes the underground setting for maximum claustrophobia. But even though it’s written well it’s hard not to feel like there was a missed opportunity. Wool may be part of the vanguard when it comes to online publishing, but story-wise it covers a lot of the same ground as other post-apocalyptic novels. You end up wishing that the plot was as ground breaking as the format.

Interzone issue 246 reviews

The May-June 2013 issue of Interzone (which features my story ‘You First Meet the Devil at a Church Fete’) has been out long enough for there to be a few reviews of it on the internets. Here are some snippets concerning my story.

From Anthony G. Williams at SFF blog:

Winner of the James White Award for new writers, this is a bizarre story (factually based, according to Wikipedia) concerning the short career of Stuart Sutcliffe, an early member of The Beatles pop group, told from Sutcliffe’s viewpoint but in the second person.

From DF Lewis’s Gestalt Real-Time Reviews:

…A fine example of the ‘synchronised shards of random truth and fiction’. The Minotaur legend earlier transfigured, now the Faust Legend. The ultimate Icarus legend as a ‘dying fall’ in music, I feel. It leaves a good thought-provoking aftertaste, as we wonder which Beatle is still to reap the ‘tontine’.

From Lois Tilton’s review at Locus:

It’s hard to think that a story about Sutcliffe’s tragically short life could be very happy, but this comes pretty close. Still, there’s no real fantastic content here, or much real creation.

From Steve Rogerson’s review

This sent a shiver down my spine.

Books I’ve read in 2013, pt. 1

Sorry for my absence from this blog. It’s my unofficial goal to make this blog as boring as possible, but I promise that I am not trying to take any shortcuts by simply not posting. Sure, a dead blog is pretty boring, but the people of the internet deserve better than that. You deserve boring blog posts and boring updates! I promise to step things up.

So, in that spirit, here’s a list of books I’ve read so far in 2013.


Review: Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti

As part of World’s Without End’s ‘Women in Genre’ challenge I am reading a sci-fi or fantasy novel each month from an author I have never read before. For more information on the challenge visit Worlds Without End.

Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti
By Genevieve Valentine

There are parts of Mechanique I really enjoyed. There are lots of good lines, interesting characters, certain chapters that would work great on their own as short stories. But on a whole this book underwhelmed me. I like unconventional formats, so the fact that the narrative bounces around and that the point of view changes tense didn’t bother me. What did bother me was that I didn’t feel like it was used to great effect. We get told the same things over and over again in great detail, where’s other things (like why Stenos and Bird even want the wings) are left unexplained.


Review: Bitter Angels

While all the authors that I’ve read as part of the Women in Genre challenge have been new to me, this was my ‘random pick’ and therefore I went into ‘Bitter Angels’ even more blind than usual. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have read this book if it hadn’t been randomly selected for me (I’m not a big fan of military sci-fi or even space opera). I enjoyed it, but it’s not enough to make me want to seek out more books like it.