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on 24 May 2010
This is a good, decent enough value (though not necessarily *the best*) SF collection, though there's nothing out and out terrible in it.

When I started reading it, I didn't think I was going to enjoy it: I felt that perhaps the first couple of stories weren't so great; though I think that was mostly on personal taste. Little of the writing is bad: it's clear that the editor loves the genre. However, as it got going, I did start to enjoy it a lot more: there are a couple of real crackers in this book. I shall certainly be reading further "Eclipse" anthologies.

Recommended.

Anyway, the stories are as follows (sorry I can't fully review them all - this could get a little on the long side! If nothing else, it helps to know who is in the collection):

Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse - Andy Duncan. Didn't really enjoy this it wasn't particularly bad, had an interesting descent into, well, not quite madness, but the main characters were obviously disturbed by what was happening.

Bad Luck, Trouble, Death and Vampire Sex - Garth Nix. Same with this: it's actually quite an interesting take on urban fantasy. However, I believe Garth Nix writes (very good) YA fiction. This read a little like YA with added swears to me. Possibly being harsh, but again, I didn't enjoy the style. If you like Garth Nix or urban fantasy, I suspect you'll enjoy this more than I did.

The Last and Only, or Mr. Moscowitz Becomes French - Peter S. Beagle. Now, *this* was an excellent story. A tad whimsical, but a great take on identity. Wonderful stuff.

The Lost Boy: A Reporter At Large - Maureen F. McHugh. A good, interesting, take on psychological problems (specifically: amnesia). Recommended.

The Drowned Life - Jeffrey Ford. An extended metaphor, yes, but particularly pertinent just now as people find themselves in poor financial situations. Once again, highly recommended. (Unless you can't stand extended metaphors! but, really, it was emotionally affecting. I enjoyed it a lot).

Toother - Terry Dowling. A chilling tale encompassing murder and mutilation. Very effective though.

Up the Fire Road - Eileen Gunn. Good fun, switches between the two main characters (and not merely for effect, it's integral to the plot). Another story where it's not *entirely* clear what is real - or does it just depend upon your viewpoint. Not the best here (the ending...rushed?) but fun, nonetheless.

In the Forest of the Queen - Gwyneth Jones. Gwyneth Jones writes some beautiful fiction. This is no exception. Great, beautiful stuff.

Quartermaster Returns - Ysabeau S. Wilce. Funny!

Electric Rains - Kathleen M. Goonan. An effective post-apocalyptic short story.

She-Creatures - Margo Lanagan. Another chilling little tale. Perhaps they'd have told it to each other in that pub at the start of An American Werewolf in London [Blu-ray] [1981]. Very good.

The Transformation of Targ - Paul Brandon and Jack Dunn. Messes a bit with some SF (or I suppose, any fiction!) good/evil tropes. Not a personal favourite, but it was amusing.

Mrs Zeno's Paradox - Ellen Klages. Can't remember this one now: not a great sign! That said, I've liked most of the things I've read by Ellen Klages! I'll say it's OK on that basis! (Sorry).

The Lustration - Bruce Sterling. I have to confess, I'm not generally overly enamored of Sterling. This was...effective. He's clearly a good SF writer. The thing I've like the best by him in the past was The Difference Engine (Gollancz S.F.) and that was a collaboration. It's by no means bad, so I reckon if you're a Sterling fan, you'll enjoy this. (It's a bit more *obviously* SF than the rest of this - high concept, maybe?)

Larissa Miusov - Lucius Shepherd. Hard to be objective here: I haven't read enough of Shepherd's stuff, but anything I have has been literally awesome. This is no exception. Again, if you like Shepherd, you'll love this.
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