- Paperback: 184 pages
- Publisher: Press 53 (February 29, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0981628001
- ISBN-13: 978-0981628004
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,080,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Springtime on Mars Paperback – February 29, 2008
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
Top customer reviews
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Charming, deceptively simple, and utterly American, many of these tales depict the country at the brink of change and huge scientific advances. Others show the struggle between faith in God and faith in science. Ranging from the introduction of the television into our living rooms, to the Kennedy assassination, to the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, Springtime on Mars holds up a mirror and shows us not only who we were, but who we are.
Woodring breathes life into her characters so quickly- within a few short paragraphs you fully grasp who they are. I was perhaps most touched and completely caught off guard by the story Beautiful, in which a father is staying in a hotel, apart from his family, on an extended business trip. His wife and daughters come down for a visit, but there are huge walls of silence and misunderstanding. He realizes his 13 year old didn't want to make the trip; she seems embarrassed and unsure of how to act around her dad. He then remembers how it used to be:
"When she was little, though, she used to cup his face in her hands and draw it very close to her own. Listen, she would say. There's a crisis on planet Gimbel and we have to go there now. "
Throughout that story, I was rooting for the dad so much. I kept thinking, Do something! You're going to lose your family! The relief I felt when he finally took some action to connect with his kids is hard to describe. I got so choked up and was surprised at how much it affected me.
Susan Woodring has a unique voice and a disarming style. Many short story collections are woefully uneven, but that is not the case here. I found real moments of charm and humor in every single story. I enjoyed this book so much and enthusiastically recommend it.
Some could say President Kennedy's assassination shocked a naive nation. It also awoke conspiracy theories of lurking Russians and cloaked Cubans. "Radio Vision" tells the story of one woman's efforts to return to the mundane, the "comforting efficiency" (I love that line), after national tragedy and hysteria.
Susan Woodring engages the reader with insightful parallels. The character Marianne Binger is more relatable to the reader than Jackie Kennedy: same age, same number of children, wife of a public figure, chain smoker. Marianne is also as ambivalent about her community status as a minister's wife as we now know the first lady was. The most telling parallel exists in the tragic interruption of Marianne's everyday chores, like being caught mid-wave in the backseat of a convertible.
Marianne Binger's children are our own oblivious consciousness. They continue on with everyday rebellions while trauma and horror await right under their noses, and they expose the guilt that comes from not knowing. Woodring reminds us in her haunting narrative that life goes on, and we have more to fear in our own homes than from any conspiracy theory or terrorist. For when one asks Marianne's boys where they were when Kennedy was shot, they won't think of the convertible or the mysterious second gunman or even the young son's salute in his blue seersucker suit; they'll think of their mother at the bottom of the stairs.
Read more of my reviews of Press 53 titles at [...]
Woodring sets the tone for each story very quickly, and although the emotions felt by the characters range from love to grief to bewilderment to disappointment, I was able to really get into the characters' shoes and feel what they were feeling. I think Woodring's biggest talent is the believability she brings to her characters. Her words literally breathe life into the characters in the stories, and by the end of a few pages, they were no longer just characters, they were people whose stories I had come to really care about. If you want to go beyond basic descriptive terms in your writing and really get to the heart of your characters, you will learn a lot by reading Springtime on Mars. And if you're looking for a group of short stories that keep you interested and entertained, look no further! Susan Woodring is definitely a writer to watch!