White Cat, Black Dog by Kelly Link (Spec Fiction / Stories)

A set of modern fairy tales with an urban twist. Grimm style — brothers on quests, rescue missions to the underworld, etc. — but with more contemporary elements — a talking white cat who manages a Colorado marijuana farm, a faithful and persistent gay lover who tracks his husband to Hell, a post apocalyptic world where corpses provide protection against the terrorizing creepies. Well-written and surprisingly classic in nature. A lot of recent books seem to be modernizing existing fairytales but this one is absolutely adding new items to the Canon.

Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on March 28th, 2023

The Flavors of Other Worlds by Alan Dean Foster (SF)

This new collection of short stories is classic science fiction. Updated for modern times in terms of access to social media, etc, it nevertheless focuses primarily on old themes: how would human beings react and adapt to new situations.  Stories range from alien takeovers so subtle that nobody notices … to a dangerous addiction to knowledge… to a way of channeling the aurora borealis for unlimited power… to the reaction of a colonized world that is none too happy about receiving the “benefits” of a conquering race (us).

Each story is prefaced with a note from the author about the origins of the story — these are almost as interesting as the stories themselves. The writing is concise and clear — reminiscent of, well, Foster himself — the guy has been around for a long time! Like a lot of good science fiction, the stories allow us to think about many of today’s issues in the guise of “other” worlds, people, and cultures. A nice addition.