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This appealing collection of short fiction includes stand-alone stories, a novella, and sample chapters from upcoming novels. My favorites are the title story, “Paper Cranes,” and “The Gargoyle Chronicles,” but everything is imaginative and well written.
“Paper Cranes” retells the familiar story of Sadako, a child who survived the Hiroshima bombing, only to die of radiation exposure in early adolescence while trying to fold a thousand paper cranes. It is told from the point of view of Death, who is drawn to Sadako before the bombing and knows the real meaning of the cranes.
“The Gargoyle Chronicles” comprises three sample chapters from a novel about a sentient gargoyle on Notre Dame, giving his perspective on different periods in the history of Paris as he witnesses plots, murders, accidents, and the Terror. I look forward to reading this book!
“The Creature from beyond the coffee cup” is a creepy story of an analyst and patient dredging up memory of a murder.
“Lost in Authonomy” is a novella about an aspiring author's experience on the Authonomy website with a fellow writer and the wrong conclusions drawn. Although I don't think I read Meyers during my Authonomy years, the experience described was often comically familiar, though more disturbing than anything I encountered.
“The Maia Calendar” offers several sample chapters from a futuristic novel about a savant who records history in her mind through time travel trances, until she goes to the future by mistake and discovers something disturbing about her present.
“The Politically incorrect fishbowl,” a short story of overheard office banter, was for me the least effective of the pieces in this collection. Although humorous, it was too self-consciously arch and preachy to work as fiction. It tries to address “political correctness” without dealing with power and privilege.
“Skeleton Coast/Postcards from the Dead” is another tantalizing novel sample, about a young woman trying to escape her father's obsession with old letters sent from Australia during the war, only to be shipwrecked in her own destiny.