"Scenting the Dark," Mary Robinette Kowal's debut short story collection is slim and spare and eminently satisfying. Kowal writes science fiction that uses our relationship to technology to expose our relationships to one another. Kowal is one of science fiction's most celebrated new writers, a winner of the Campbell Award for best new writer and a current Hugo nominee, all on the strength of her short fiction (she has two novels forthcoming from Tor), and it's easy to see why.
For me, the standout story here was Jaiden's Weaver, a tale that combines the astronomical reality of life on a ringed planet with a subtle and moving coming-of-age story. Like the other stories in this volume, it epitomizes Kowal's gift for using rigorous science fiction as a lever for prying open the subjective reality of the people who inhabit the futuristic world of now.
"Scenting the Dark" is a slim, handsomely made hardcover volume from the specialist house Subterranean Press, a great gift and a great treasure for yourself.
Be sure to check out Kowal's website for readings of her work (she's a talented and accomplished voice actor and puppeteer -- she read my story After the Siege for Subterranean's podcast), free downloads (she's a copyfighter, too!), and other supplementary material.
Scenting the Dark and Other Stories
The Philip K Dick Award is given to the best paperback original each year (past winners include Tim Powers’ Anubis Gates, Rudy Rucker’s Wetware, William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Meg Elison’s The Book of the Unnamed Midwife).
Ari Fararooy writes, I digitally animated my photographs from the Burning Man festival to create a surreal illustration of my experiences.
Just look at it. (Thanks, James!)
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