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Wrong Train, Right Time ([personal profile] wrongtrainrighttime) wrote2017-03-12 10:35 pm

Homecoming and Lady Antheia's Guide to Horticultural Warfare by Seanan McGuire

Another two-for-one review! This time of a pair of short stories.

McGuire, Seanan. "Homecoming." Lightspeed Magazine, 2013.

There is something uniquely American about the myth of the football player, be he in high school, college, or the big leagues. There's a powerful sense of that American myth in this story, which folds in a bit of Norse mythology as well to add a bit of meditation on what it really means to be a hero. And not just in the sense of being the star quarterback, either. This story is strange and sad and gentle, and I liked it enormously.

Also, I always appreciate it when McGuire champions cheerleaders and the amount of work and risk it takes to be one. So there's some of that in here too.

McGuire, Seanan. "Lady Antheia's Guide to Horticultural Warfare." Lightspeed Magazine, 2017.

I can't say that steampunk is a genre that I've always found very interesting, but I enjoyed the tack taken by this story. Lady Antheia's POV on the Victorian society she's found herself in is both cutting and terrifyingly (and literally) alien, and it makes for a very fun read. It is both somewhat horrifying and yet rather delicious to watch a British Empire, the archetype of colonial expansion, be destroyed by an empire that's them but stronger.

Gleeful schadenfreude aside, this is a great piece of sci-fi, and McGuire does a really good job of sketching out her alien empire in the short space she has to work with, while also telling the story of her protagonist and the invasion. Excellent stuff.