Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review: Running With The Pack

This Prime Book anthology provides a mixed pack of werewolf stories.

Judging by the cover, the book would appear to be female dominated - the female editor, Ekaterina Sedia, has chosen to highlight Laura Anne Gilman, Carrie Vaughn, and C.E. Murphy. The TOS does indeed skew female - out of 22 stories, only seven are written by men (including Mike Resnick, who's recent "fame" has been less than positive on the gender relations front). I doubt this was deliberate, though.

Highlights included "The Dire Wolf" by Genevieve Valentine (Can a werewolf and a human really love each other?). I also liked "Take Back The Night" by Lawrence Schimel, which was probably the most overtly feminist story in the batch. Mike Brotherton's "The Pack and the Pickup Artist" was highly amusing - I can't say why without spoilers, but it's a riff on something very classic in human relations. "Inside Out" (Erzebet Yellowboy) had an interesting variant on dealing with the curse of the werewolf, and whether it should be battled...or embraced.

The stories are overall good. I had the biggest problem with "Gestella" by Susan Palwick, and that's me: I can't stand second person. I wasn't too fond of Molly Tanzer's "In Sheep's Clothing," which read like a thinly disguised anti-Monsanto tract. "Are You A Vampire Or A Goblin?" by Geoffrey H. Goodwin made little sense to me.

Everything I haven't mentioned ranged from good to very good. Sedia is an award-winning editor and it showed. If there's a theme, it's the relationship between man and beast - be it internal or external (more than one of the stories are frankly romances). I've read better anthologies, but I did enjoy this one.

Four stars.

(Disclaimer: I picked up a free copy of this at Balticon)