Speculative fiction is such a deep, wide ocean, that no matter how much one explores, one will always find something more. Michael Swanwick’s new anthology, Not So Much, Said the Cat is a beautiful, brilliant pearl.
The variety within this anthology of 17 short stories is stunning. Each story is a distinct experience, a unique journey through different worlds, told with as many independent voices. If I had not known that all these were written by one author, I would have assumed that they were written by different people–that is testimony to Swanwick’s range and writing prowess.
Yet, all these stories same to share some common themes. One is the idea of love. The Woman Who Shook the World-Tree, Pushkin the American, and An Empty House With Many Doors, for example, are all love stories, echoing the message that love is universal across time and space. Another recurring concept is that of free will. The Man in Grey, Steadfast Castle, The She-Wolf’s Hidden Grin, are some of the tales that deal with the making of choices and handling the consequences.
One of my favourite stories from the anthology is The Dala Horse, which takes a ‘little red riding hood’ sort of tale and makes it grittier. Another is 3 A.M. in the Mezosoic Bar, an end of the world tale that showcases the fallibility of being human.Tawny Petticoats is a fun story about a temptress and a pair of futuristic swindlers.
With his layered and nuanced writing, Michael Swanwick transports the reader into these varied worlds. From romance to fairy stories, to murder mysteries, Not So Much, Said the Cat, has something for every reader.
Not So Much, Said the Cat, published by Tachyon, is forthcoming on August 9th 2016.
FTC disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for this honest review.
Author Bio: http://www.michaelswanwick.com/auth/author.html