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Clockwork Phoenix 2: More Tales of Beauty and Strangeness Paperback – July 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Allen finds his groove for this second annual anthology of weird stories, selecting 16 wonderfully evocative, well-written tales. Marie Brennan's thought-provoking Once a Goddess considers the fate of a goddess abruptly returned to mortality. Tanith Lee puts a stunning twist in the story of a morose prince in The Pain of Glass. Mary Robinette Kowal's At the Edge of Dying describes a world where magic comes only to those at death's door. In Hooves and the Hovelof Abdel Jameela, Saladin Ahmed tellsof a small village on the edge of a desert, a hermit and a woman who may be a witch. Each story fits neatly alongside the next, and the diversity of topics, perspectives and authors makes this cosmopolitan anthology a winner. (July)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Mythic Delirium Books (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607620278
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607620273
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A collection of 15 stories of fantastical transformation, Clockwork Phoenix 2 walks the line between readability and art to build a collection which is haunting, inspiring, and glorious. As with most short story collections some stories are more successful than others, but as a whole these are all far above par. From a girl who was once a goddess's avatar to a lover made of glass to middle-aged Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the wildly different content disrupts the flow from one story to another, but be patient with the transitions and you'll be rewarded. Fantastical, beautiful, harrowing, and all of them vibrantly unique, the stories in Clockwork Phoenix 2 are a delight to read, and this collection is a resounding success. I recommend it.

Coming into this collection, I had not read the original Clockwork Phoenix and worried that I would miss something for being new to the anthology. Rest assured, this volume stands alone, although it can take a little while to divine from the title and the stories just what it is meant to be. For me, the uniting theme that emerges is transformation. In "Once a Goddess," a woman transitions from goddess's avatar to ordinary human; in "Angel Dust," a stone statue comes alive; in "Never Nor Ever" Tweedledum and Tweedledee meditate on death. Transformation--be it a change role, shape, or place or the cycle of life, death, and rebirth--is a broad and weighty theme. But this theme may not be intentional--Allen never indicates one way or the other, instead commenting on the style of the stories, which he describes as "adventures both in how they read and what they said.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By branewurms on September 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
4 1/2 stars. This is an excellent collection, both strange and satisfying, and now I want the other two in the series. (My poor groaning book budget, s-sob.)

Was interested to read in the author segments at the back of the book that Mike Allen, the editor, wanted to see more strange and experimental fiction, but at the same time often found many experimental works to feel "incomplete and unsatisfying," and "forgettable because they lack emotional punch." Apparently he was seeking out stories that occupied a middle ground between a more traditional narrative arc and the spirit of the strange and experimental.

This is perfect for me, since I love the bizarre and the experimental in fantasy, but I also often feel unengaged and let down by the seeming lack of any point in many examples of this type of fiction. I usually tend to assume that maybe I'm just not getting the story, rather than that the story truly lacks any point (or perhaps that looking for a point is missing the... point), but either way, the effect is the same - I don't really connect with the piece or care very much about it. I didn't feel that way about a single story in this collection - they all felt complete and satisfying from start to finish.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N. Composto on March 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am not the biggest fan of story collections, so that may be why this wasn't my favorite book. About half of the stories made me yawn, and most of the time I didn't know what was going on until a page or two before the end of each story. HOWEVER, there were some GEMS in this book. Angel Dust was by far the star of the collection. A beautiful story that held my interest from beginning to end and left me wanting more. There are some other stories lumped together in the middle of the book, they are all good as well. The story about the fish (can't remember the title offhand) was great and made me laugh. Overall I would recommend it if you like the variety that a short story collection has to offer, I just wish all the stories held my interest.
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Clockwork Phoenix 2: More Tales of Beauty and Strangeness
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