As I noted before, I’ve recently read Vera Nazarian’s Cobweb Bride. It’s an outstanding piece of work, and I recommend you read it, too–specifically if you enjoy fantasy on the dark side. I waited to comment on it here, though, because as a supporter of her kickstarter project I received an additional prize of my choosing, of which I selected an award-nominated novella of hers titled “The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass”. I wanted to read it and see what it was like before talking about her work here again.
I’m glad I did.
“Cobweb Bride” is a good story, with fascinating characters in difficult situations. It’s told in prose that in places is quite flowing. It’s the work of an accomplished writer. No surprise there. If you buy it and read it, I predict your main complaint will be that the second book is not yet available.
“CK&tHQ” is different. It’s not as slick. It’s not as polished. In places the story drops a rod and made me shrug to keep going. But , man … I have to say that I loved it even more dearly than I did “Cobweb Bride.” I loved it because it’s more ambitious than most stories I read today. It’s a far future story with big ideas. It explores gender without being preachy. It touches on the ecology, and on what it means to be human in a world where it’s a question of whether “human” even exists. In this way it feels like it’s a golden age story with modern day pretensions.
As a semi-long novella (which I still believe is the perfect length for SF), it reads fast. It’s no surprise to me that it made Locus’s recommended reading list, and Rich Horton’s Virtual Best of the Year recommendation for 2005.
So, yeah. I loved it. It’s three bucks on the Kindle.
You should buy it.
And, of course, “Cobweb Bride.”