Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Midnight Circus


The Midnight Circus is a collection of short fiction, poetry, and commentary by Jane Yolen. Due out on 1st Oct 2020 from Tachyon, it's 256 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately

I enjoyed every single story in this collection; there were no weak ones.  All of these have been published previously and date from the last several decades. Many of the stories are quite difficult to find and several were new to me in any form. One reason I prefer collections and anthologies is that short fiction is really challenging.  It's spare and the author doesn't have a wealth of wordage to develop characters or the plotting.  Well written short fiction is a delight. I also love collections because if one story doesn't really grab me, there's another story just a few pages away.  I can only recall a few times where I've read a collection (or anthology) straight through from cover to cover.  This one I did. I even re-read the stories which I had read before. 

In fact, one story, The Snatchers, was one which I'd read in F&SF years ago and couldn't ever *find* again and when I would try to figure out where I'd read it (I knew it wasn't a figment of my fevered imagination, I can't imagine that creatively and well), it didn't ring any bells with anyone. This collection made me so happy to finally find the story again. It was, incidentally, even -better- than I remembered it being. 

I'm not normally a huge reader of poetry but the included poems (they're interspersed with the story notes) were lyrical and beautifully written and engaging and so precisely put together that it was a pleasure. 

A worthwhile collection for Yolen fans, readers of fantasy and speculative fiction, and folks who just appreciate well written fiction. She's a master writer with a prodigious oeuvre and these are some of her best dark stories. 

Five stars. Gorgeous.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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