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Sparks and Shadows (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Lucy A. Snyder

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Creative Guy Publishing is very pleased to bring you this new edition of Sparks and Shadows, originally published by HW Press. Sparks and Shadows won the 2008 Editors' Choice Black Quill Award for Best Dark Genre Collection. The award is sponsored by Dark Scribe Magazine.

Fans of Lucy A. Snyder's Jessie Shimmer series won't want to miss this book, which includes a trio of stories featuring Miko, Sara, and Charlie: characters who appear in Snyder's urban fantasy novel Shotgun Sorceress

This collection of seventeen short stories, seven poems and four humour essays from Lucy A. Snyder will appeal to any reader of the dark fantastic. By turns touching, chilling, surreal, wryly satiric, seductive, macabre and laugh-out-loud funny, this book will take you from adventures in the farthest reaches of outer space to the darkest shadows beneath the surface of modern America.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 628 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 250 Seiten
  • Gleichzeitige Verwendung von Geräten: Keine Einschränkung
  • Verlag: Creative Guy Publishing (9. August 2010)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B003Z4KBT8
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • : Aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #967.454 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.6 von 5 Sternen  5 Rezensionen
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The Edge of Edgy 1. Mai 2010
Von Scott Slemmons - Veröffentlicht auf
The word "edgy" gets tossed around way too much.

Every book with a vanilla sex scene, every story with a bit of gore, every writer willing to shoehorn a little politics into a story -- they all get branded as "edgy." It's like tossing a pinch of salt into a souffle and calling it "spicy."

Lucy Snyder is genuinely edgy.

Her story "Feel the Love" was rejected for an anthology because the content scared the anthologist too badly. And she once had to rewrite a story she'd co-written for a "Hellraiser" anthology because it squicked out the publishers. "Hellraiser," for the sake of all that's unholy!

Of course, she isn't merely an edgy writer -- lots of writers cultivate a reputation for edginess by shoveling controversy into their stories without regard for, well, the story. Snyder's reputation as a writer relies less on the shocks her fiction can give to her readers, and more on her picture-perfect characterizations, her smart dialogue, her razor-sharp plots, and her superior wordsmithing. She is, frankly, an absolutely fantastic writer -- her edginess is just a bonus for lovers of prose and poetry.

"Sparks and Shadows" is a collection of Snyder's deceptively dangerous fiction, poetry, and essays. Besides the aforementioned "Feel the Love" -- focusing on a very bad day for the protestors at an abortion clinic -- this collection includes stories like:

* "Through Thy Bounty" -- What's the worst torture the alien invaders can devise for a lowly human chef? Maybe just being a human chef...

* "Soul Searching" -- An elderly WWII vet learns that guilt for the sins of the past sometimes takes a more corporeal form.

* "Roses of Gomorrah" -- Can creatures built for pleasure feel the need for something greater?

* "Forgetting" -- Can a child's pure love make the dead forget being dead?

* "The Dolls' Hearts" -- The first year of college is a little rough on everyone. Surely every student has to deal with a few nightmarish hallucinations now and then, right?

* "So Lonely as the Grave" -- When you're all alone in the world, maybe the restless spirits of your loved ones can provide all the comfort you need.

All that plus Snyder's luxurious, imaginative poetry, and her hilarious essays, providing everything from an analysis of the secret filth hiding under the surface of innocent camp songs to a primer for men on what it's like to menstruate.

Whether you just appreciate a good story told well or if you want to see exactly where the edge is, Snyder's "Sparks and Shadows" is going to be something you'll want sitting on your bookshelf and coiled up inside your brain.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Go! Buy! Read! 30. April 2010
Von Kaolin Fire - Veröffentlicht auf
"Sparks and Shadows" is a collection of poems, short stories, and essays by GUD contributor Lucy Snyder ('Sublety', Issue 2). Snyder has a unique voice and her work is almost instantly recognisable. Dive into this collection and you begin to feel like you're swimming around inside her head. It's not necessarily comfortable in there, but it's certainly interesting.

It's rare to encounter a writer who so loves words and the changes that can be rung and the tricks that can be played. Rare and precious. But because of Snyder's versatility, it's difficult to give an overview of this collection. Every piece is different, and every piece demands attention. So I'm just going to pick out a few to comment on, and you'll have to buy a copy if you want to know the strangeness and wonder of the rest.

In the short story 'A Preference for Silence', we meet Veronica, who has "never lost her tea in zero gee", but for whom the predilection of the title becomes more and more pressing while she and companion Melvin keep watch on a sleepship travelling through space. It's always the little things that wear you down, and even out in the deep black, peace isn't so easily found. Snyder presents the story with confidence, explaining only that which you need to know, and leaving the rest to silence.

The hilarious short story 'Boxlunch' starts with a slightly risky hunt for a condom and ends with a race-against-time through mortar attacks in order to save a recorded ('boxlunched') personality from data decay. This story started off by reminding me of "Appropriate Love" by Greg Egan in which a woman must incubate her dead husband's brain, but it soon went off in an entirely different direction. Egan's story was more disturbing; this is funnier.

> "I know you'll fly to me;
> babies can't resist the shiny, pretty things,"

So speaks the narrator of 'Dark Matter', the "death we cannot see", or, given our endless curiosity, elude. The poems in the ebook version tend to have their last stanza dropped onto a second page, which can give a false impression of where the poem ends. Here, I thought it ended nicely before I even noticed the last stanza--maybe it's one stanza the poem could have done without?

'Through Thy Bounty' presents a chef forced by alien invaders to cook the relatives of the resistance of which she (or he? the narrative doesn't specify) was once a part. The chef's only salvation is a telepathic link with her mother, the organiser of the fight against the Jagaren. Urged by her mother to stay alive, the chef cooks meal after meal, day after day, butchering men, women, and children alike with a dreadful, self-willed calmness. Disgusted by her mother's plan to sacrifice herself trying to rescue her "helpless, useless child", the narrator belatedly discovers there's more to it than that. Although heavy with backstory, this macabre tale is gripping. The reader is forced to balance sympathy for and dislike of the narrator in about equal measure.

In a more light-hearted vein, we have "The Fish and the Bicycle", a poem that explores the incompatibility between the eponymous creations.

> "Consider the physics:
> how could she pedal
> with fragile fanning fins,
> sit with slippery tail,
> steer with gasping mouth?"

In its subtle way, the poem is a commentary on the saying from which it derives its concept. A fish may be unable safely to ride a bicycle, but, Snyder says, that doesn't mean she doesn't want to. The deadly attraction can't be denied.

With the short essay 'Camp Songs', Snyder takes an idea about indoctrination via Girl Scout songs and runs with it--some might say too far. It's probably best to enjoy the ride, both here and with the essays that follow. Like 'Why I Can't Stay Out of My Husband's Pants'. No, not in THAT way--go wash your brain out! "And, oh, the pockets! Deep, capacious pockets! I could keep all my hopes and dreams in pockets like those." But she can't just go out and buy men's pants. This is Ohio, after all. Fortunately, her husband can solve the problem, if he can only pay attention to it, rather than her, for long enough. This is more of a rant than an essay, but it's touching, all the same. As for 'The Dickification of the American Female', I honestly can't tell you whether it's a rant, a story, two interviews, or an essay. I know for certain it's not a poem. It starts innocently enough by letting you think that "dickification" only refers to famed SF author Philip K. Dick, whom Cassandra (whose story this is) apparently discovered much younger than I did--lucky her! But then it's time for Randi's story, which goes into "Tiny Tango" territory (anyone else know that "undrag" story?) until an almost complete dickification has been achieved. Very strange stuff. Finally, 'Menstruation for Men' is the essay so many women have wanted to write, but only Snyder has. A shame that men will probably wince and skip it.

The discomforting poem 'The Jarred Heart' plays with two meanings of "jarred"--the narrator's heart is literally in a jar, and she (or he? again, we don't know, and we're forced to deal with that not-knowing), and her love for the enchanter who "wooed me and won me // fed me lies sweeter than the opium wine" has been jarred by the discovery of treachery, and poison. But the narrator's not going to put up with this situation for long. Lots of play on words here; it's a delight.

'...Next on Channel 77' gives a literal bent to the idea that our deceased relatives are looking over us in Heaven. Tom's Aunt Fran comes back as a news announcer who's determined no harm will come to him, or to the two sisters he hasn't seen in years. While running hither and thither to do her bidding, Tom rediscovers connections to his family that he (and they) thought were gone forever. There's perhaps one too many emergencies in this story; it started to lose credibility towards the end. Better pacing might have helped, but this is ultimately a feelgood story with not much more to offer.

Dark, funny, and romantic by turns, "Sparks and Shadows" is a must read. Go! Buy! Read!

[[review by Debbie Moorhouse for GUD Magazine]]
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen wow! 16. Dezember 2010
Von Michael W. Lucas - Veröffentlicht auf
Mixed works like this often leave me cold, but the unpredictability of the contents works here. When I turn the page, I don't know if I'll be facing a story or a poem. I don't know if it'll be odd, exciting, or downright horrifying. You don't know until the last word what sort of story you're reading, giving the tales a tension often lacking in more homogenous collections.

Read this.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Great content, not-so-great Kindle edition 24. Januar 2012
Von rantboi - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I'm a huge fan of the author's novels featuring Jessie Shimmer, so even though I'm not much of a short story reader, I decided to give Sparks and Shadows a shot because I like her writing style so much. I don't regret that decision at all. I pretty much liked, if not outright loved, all the stories and essays in this collection. As far as the poems, I liked some ("The Monster Between The Sparks," "Photograph of a Lady, Circa 1890," and "Glowfish") but didn't really care for the others.

As far as the stories featuring characters from the author's novels, "Sara and the Telecats" was probably my favorite because it was completely new to me. "Soul Searching" featuring Miko was good, but the ending was featured in Shotgun Sorceress. Charlie's story, "...And Her Shadow" was disappointing not because it wasn't good, but because I'd already read the whole story in Shotgun Sorceress, so there was nothing new in it.

Other stories in this collection that I really enjoyed: "A Preference For Silence," "Boxlunch," "Through Thy Bounty," "The Sheets Were Clean and Dry," "Burning Bright," "Roses of Gomorrah," and well let's just say most of them! I also enjoyed all the essays included.

Now the main reason I gave this collection four instead of five stars is because of the Kindle edition. Main problems: no cover, no Table of Contents (!), and pretty much every story had small sections that were indented differently than the rest of the story for no apparent reason, which was pretty annoying.

Overall, the stories and essays in this collection are definitely worth your time, but beware that the Kindle edition has some issues.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Great read 5. Oktober 2011
Von Michele Lee - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
I was given this book to review by the author.

I'm a big fan of Snyder's Jessie Shimmer series, which is often considered by readers more horror than urban fantasy. I expected much the same going into Sparks and Shadows. But instead of a rich, dark collection of horror I found Sparks and Shadows to contain Snyder's other trademark, sexy, playful stories, that just happen to be science fiction, fantasy or horror. There are poems, fantasy, horror and science fiction stories bound together on these pages, most of which, despite the terror or pain the characters go through, left me smiling.

Sparks and Shadows is a great read, particularly for those who love dark humor, or readers who love seeing writers play with all manner of storytelling tools, from regional mythos to genre. And of course, it's a must have for Snyder completeists, or even Jessie shimmer fans as it contains side stories from Snyder's dark, demon-ridden world. Sparks and Shadows is definitely an excellent read for fans of the fantastic dark.
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