Asimov's Review

Kristine Kathryn Rusch brings us a humbly powerful collection with her Stories for an Enchanted Afternoon (Golden Gryphon, hardcover, $24.95, 284 pages, ISBN 1-930846-00-92). The beautiful but wistful Thomas Canty cover belies to a degree the hard-edged fiction within. Never one for melodrama or overwrought prose, Rusch concentrates instead on the slow and deliberate amassing of insightful, low-keyed incidents and details to serve as the foundation for some neat stefnal conceits. With underlying themes of filial and parental duties, many of these stories address the complex demands of familial roles under odd circumstances (on, say, a colonized planet inhabited by humanoid aliens, as in "Skin Deep"). Additionally, in such tales as "Strange Creatures" and "Spirit Guides" Rusch exhibits her flair for the combined mystery/SF mode. And when the protagonist of "Coolhunting" is typified as "someone willing to take that extra step that might be a success or a mistake," we know we are getting a subliminal self-portrait of the author herself.

—Paul Di Filippo, Asimov's, May 2002


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