Title: A Cargo of Ivories
Author: Garth Nix
Another short based on an existing series – I seem to be hitting a swath of those, aren’t I? – this is definitely one definitely wins on a character front. Sir Hereward and the puppet Mr. Fitz were fun characters that almost had a Sherlock and Watson vibe to them in terms of the way they interacted (the fact that Mr. Fitz is actually a puppet who is also a sorcerer didn’t hurt). Also enjoyable was their animal companion, Rosie the maklek whom Nix did a great job of imbuing a personality into, which can be difficult for some authors to pull off. It’s just a shame that the story wasn’t quite as lively as the characters. It served the characters well, but your interest will be held by the dialogue and their interactions and not the heist. A great story would have you compelled by both.
Title: Diamonds from Tequila
Author: Walter Jon Williams
And yet another! Dang. Again, like the last it’s a complete standalone, if I hadn’t read the introduction, I’d never known that the main character of Sean wasn’t created for this story. The tale itself- a modern day thriller about a Hollywood actor who takes up a sideline of blackmail after a costar dies on set – is enjoyable enough. I’m not entirely sold on the story – the plot is set in motion by the threat of tech that doesn’t yet exist and I’m not convinced that it will in the near future (using 3D printers to replace drugs of ALL kinds, illicit and legal) and the speechifying from one of the characters, is perhaps too effective in how annoying it is. I just wanted to get past it already. Again, this is mostly one of those “not my cuppa” stories, but I can others enjoying it because it was well done.