I was able to “sneak” in to the World Fantasy Convention here in San Jose last week in the guise of press. It was great fun to meet some local authors, and I got a post for Metblogs out of it. I also got to sit in on a couple of readings and about half of Gordon Van Gelder’s panel on 60 years of F&SF magazine. To come to the point, though, this collection from Night Shade Books and editor Jonathan Strahan was my take-home from the dealer room.
“The Pelican Bar”, Karen Joy Fowler A willful young woman (as they used to say) is sent away for to a tough-love camp in Mexico, which turns out to be particularly brutal, and from which she dreams of escape. The story’s well-written, and especially strong in exploring the Norah’s psychology and internal dialog, but I never quite caught on to the motivations of the reform camp operators — why they ran the camp as they did, what they were gaining from it, and why they eventually allow Norah her freedom.