Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Crawling Between Heaven and Earth by Sarah Hoyt

On the Baen books website, there has been for quite some time now, an area called the Baen Free Library, where Jim Baen encouraged his stable of authors to post a free electronic version of one or more of their works, so that readers would download them, try it out, and be encouraged to buy more work by that author. I don't know how that all actually worked out for them in the long haul, though early numbers were encouraging, but it doesn't appear since Baen's passing to have been promoted very heavily, and not much new stuff has been appearing. Anyway, after stumbling upon Sarah Hoyt's blog over the Thanksgiving holiday, I checked and found that I had a copy of this book from the Free Library already loaded on my Nook, and decided to "try before I buy".

This book isn't one of Hoyt's novels; it's a collection of short stories with no coherent theme - just a pretty good collage of her writing style and skills.

There's a pretty good fantasy story set in the time of Shakespeare, with the bard and his brother prominently featured, which left me thinking once again to myself that I really should dig into the massive tome of the Compleat Workes gathering dust in my library, as I couldn't tell whether some of the things old Billy had to say were direct quotes from his works, or just good stylistic imitations by Hoyt. She evidently has several novels set in this milieu, which may prove entertaining at a later date.

There's a couple of nominal SF stories about the fate of clones, one of which is wrapped around a mythological core of the story of Ariadne, Theseus and the Minotaur. The other one was an even more tawdry tale about prostituting the clones of famous females, like Marilyn Monroe. Given the way her image and others are already being used in CGI commercials I don't find it all that far-fetched...aside from the whole cloning technology thing actually working, of course.

There's an intriguing ghost story, too, and lots of other tales, to introduce you to Hoyt's works. I found most of them a bit depressing, but still good enough to merit my actually buying and downloading one of her novels. The Free Library concept works.

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