BooksOfTheMoon

A Vampire Quintet: Five Sinister and Seductive Vampire Stories

By Eugie Foster

Rating: 4 stars

I’m not normally hugely interested in vampire fiction, but I’ve been a fan of Foster for a while and this was the last collection of her work that I didn’t already have. I also recently started a Vampire: The Masquerade RPG, so I thought it might help me get into character as well. And it’s a solid set of stories. It’s a short book, at under 100 pages but with a number of interesting takes on the vampire mythos.

First up we have an origin story, The Son That Pain Made, in which the rape and desecration of a Muse leads to the birth of her son, who would avenge her. Still my Beating Heart is probably the story that I enjoyed the most about a newly turned vampire struggling to let go of his humanity; while The Few, the Proud, Leech Corps is a sort of cyberpunk, near-future story about a military vampire organisation and an opposition that’s better than it should be. Inspirations End is a sort of follow up to The Son That Pain Made, with similar themes; and finally we have Ascendancy of Blood which is a vampiric take on the story of Sleeping Beauty (and when you think about it, the story really does lend itself to a bloodsucking retelling).

This is a good range of stories that find different takes on a classic theme, from a still-missed storyteller.

Book details

ISBN: 9781492839927
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Year of publication: 2013

The King of Rabbits and Moon Lake: And Other Tales of Magic and Mischief

By Eugie Foster

Rating: 4 stars

I really enjoyed this collection of mostly Eastern-themed short stories. This collection is more whimsical than Foster’s other collections and is probably the only one that I might considering buying for my young niece.

My favourite stories are probably The Girl Who Drew Cats, the opening story of the collection about, um, a girl who drew cats; The Princess and the Golden Fish a romantic story of a princess who wants to choose who she marries; and The Dragon Breath’s Seed a traditional quest story. The quality of all the stories is high and I enjoyed the tone of the whole book.

Book details

ISBN: 9781494203931
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Year of publication: 2013

Mortal Clay, Stone Heart: And Other Stories in Shades of Black and White

By Eugie Foster

Rating: 4 stars

Like the last collection of Foster’s stories I read (Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice), I really rather enjoyed this one. I first encountered Foster in audio form through the Escape Artists podcasts (probably Podcastle). It wasn’t until her sad death last year that I picked up some of her work in written form, and I’m glad that I did as it seems to work better (for me, at least) on paper than in audio.

There are some lovely stories here and mostly they’re more whimsical than the previous collection, although that doesn’t necessarily stop them from packing a punch, as The Life and Times of Penguin attest. As for the others, knowing what I do about Foster’s own life and death, Running on Two Legs was heartbreaking, while Black Swan, White Swan just bemused me a bit (although I do think I liked it more than when I heard it in audio). The Bunny of Vengeance and the Bear of Death was in equal parts hilarious, horrific and heartbreaking. That’s a combo that Foster is pretty good at, as the cutesy frame reveals a centre with depth and heart. A Nose for Magic is lighter and more fun (and I always love a story where the IT guy saves the day and wins the girl). The Center of the Universe is a story about growing up, moving on and the passage of time. It’s sweet and melancholic at the same time, as such stories often are. The Wizard of Eternal Watch seems like a segment in a large story and I’d love to read that larger story as this really whetted my appetite. Finally, the title story, Mortal Clay, Stone Heart was a story of love found and love lost. Beautifully told, melancholic (there’s that word again) and haunting.

So a great collection of stories. There’s not much more of Foster’s writing left, but I’ll definitely pick up The King of Rabbits and Moon Lake: And Other Tales of Magic and Mischief (although probably not A Vampire Quintet as I’m not a huge fan of vampires). I’d love for someone to collect the novellas and other stories into a final collection though, ideally one that I can get on paper.

Book details

ISBN: 9781492836995
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Year of publication: 2011

Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice

By Eugie Foster

Rating: 4 stars

I first encountered Eugie Foster via the Escape Artists podcasts, mostly Podcastle, where I knew that a Foster story was probably one that I was going to enjoy. I was sorry to hear of her death last year and that was one thing that pushed me toward getting this collection, which I’ve finally got around to reading.

It’s a collection of retellings of, or stories inspired by, far-eastern myths, with no other real unifying feature. But the far-eastern link is enough for me, and I enjoyed just about every story in the collection. Stand outs include A Thread of Silk about a woman who vows to kill the man who killed her father; The Tanuki-Kettle, a whimsical fairy tale about a mischievous tanuki spirit who hides in the form of a tea-kettle; and Year of the Fox, telling of a rash promise made in childhood and its consequences.

Foster is a confident storyteller, building great worlds. Her afterwords after each story are a nice way into the author’s mind, telling how each one came about. I’ll definitely be looking out for more of her work.

Book details

ISBN: 9781607620112
Publisher: Eugie Foster
Year of publication: 2009

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