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Sparks and Shadows Paperback – April 30, 2010
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From the Inside Flap
From the Back Cover
"(N)o matter what kind of story you like - romantic, creepy, violently scary, Hitchcockian, devilishly clever, or packed with fantastic adventure, you'll find something in this book that will seem written just for you."
"Snyder's work is vibrant and resonant and superbly measured ... Short, sharp, and sometimes slightly shocking, (her) fiction is always memorable. ... (T)he stories in Sparks and Shadows weave a spell that'll prove hard to shake ... this volume belongs in any serious dark fantasy collection."
"The short stories and poems in Lucy Snyder's debut collection range from dark to very dark to sexy to hopeful, often with a wry twist of humor ... Highly recommended for lovers of the creepy and twisted."
-- Sequential Tart
"At times poignant, witty, erotic, thoughtful, chilling and maniacally gleeful, Sparks and Shadows is a delightful collection and book length introduction to an author to watch."
-- Horror Reader
"It's a bacchanalia in there. And I must tell you: you may never find your way out again."
-- Nalo Hopkinson, from her introduction
More About the Author
* Shotgun Sorceress
* Switchblade Goddess
* While The Black Stars Burn
* Soft Apocalypses
* Orchid Carousals
* Sparks and Shadows
* Chimeric Machines
* Installing Linux on a Dead Badger
* Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer's Survival Guide
Her writing has been translated into French, Russian, Italian, Czech, and Japanese editions and has appeared in publications such as Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Steampunk World, In the Court of the Yellow King, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad 2, and Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 5.
She lives in Ohio and is a mentor in Seton Hill University's MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. You can follow her on Twitter at @LucyASnyder.
You can learn more at her website: www.lucysnyder.com
Top Customer Reviews
Every book with a vanilla sex scene, every story with a bit of gore, every writer willing to shoehorn a little politics into a story -- they all get branded as "edgy." It's like tossing a pinch of salt into a souffle and calling it "spicy."
Lucy Snyder is genuinely edgy.
Her story "Feel the Love" was rejected for an anthology because the content scared the anthologist too badly. And she once had to rewrite a story she'd co-written for a "Hellraiser" anthology because it squicked out the publishers. "Hellraiser," for the sake of all that's unholy!
Of course, she isn't merely an edgy writer -- lots of writers cultivate a reputation for edginess by shoveling controversy into their stories without regard for, well, the story. Snyder's reputation as a writer relies less on the shocks her fiction can give to her readers, and more on her picture-perfect characterizations, her smart dialogue, her razor-sharp plots, and her superior wordsmithing. She is, frankly, an absolutely fantastic writer -- her edginess is just a bonus for lovers of prose and poetry.
"Sparks and Shadows" is a collection of Snyder's deceptively dangerous fiction, poetry, and essays. Besides the aforementioned "Feel the Love" -- focusing on a very bad day for the protestors at an abortion clinic -- this collection includes stories like:
* "Through Thy Bounty" -- What's the worst torture the alien invaders can devise for a lowly human chef? Maybe just being a human chef...
* "Soul Searching" -- An elderly WWII vet learns that guilt for the sins of the past sometimes takes a more corporeal form.
* "Roses of Gomorrah" -- Can creatures built for pleasure feel the need for something greater?Read more ›
It's rare to encounter a writer who so loves words and the changes that can be rung and the tricks that can be played. Rare and precious. But because of Snyder's versatility, it's difficult to give an overview of this collection. Every piece is different, and every piece demands attention. So I'm just going to pick out a few to comment on, and you'll have to buy a copy if you want to know the strangeness and wonder of the rest.
In the short story 'A Preference for Silence', we meet Veronica, who has "never lost her tea in zero gee", but for whom the predilection of the title becomes more and more pressing while she and companion Melvin keep watch on a sleepship travelling through space. It's always the little things that wear you down, and even out in the deep black, peace isn't so easily found. Snyder presents the story with confidence, explaining only that which you need to know, and leaving the rest to silence.
The hilarious short story 'Boxlunch' starts with a slightly risky hunt for a condom and ends with a race-against-time through mortar attacks in order to save a recorded ('boxlunched') personality from data decay. This story started off by reminding me of "Appropriate Love" by Greg Egan in which a woman must incubate her dead husband's brain, but it soon went off in an entirely different direction. Egan's story was more disturbing; this is funnier.Read more ›
As far as the stories featuring characters from the author's novels, "Sara and the Telecats" was probably my favorite because it was completely new to me. "Soul Searching" featuring Miko was good, but the ending was featured in Shotgun Sorceress. Charlie's story, "...And Her Shadow" was disappointing not because it wasn't good, but because I'd already read the whole story in Shotgun Sorceress, so there was nothing new in it.
Other stories in this collection that I really enjoyed: "A Preference For Silence," "Boxlunch," "Through Thy Bounty," "The Sheets Were Clean and Dry," "Burning Bright," "Roses of Gomorrah," and well let's just say most of them! I also enjoyed all the essays included.
Now the main reason I gave this collection four instead of five stars is because of the Kindle edition. Main problems: no cover, no Table of Contents (!), and pretty much every story had small sections that were indented differently than the rest of the story for no apparent reason, which was pretty annoying.
Overall, the stories and essays in this collection are definitely worth your time, but beware that the Kindle edition has some issues.