An automaton ghost and the Reality Gun

During a recent brief hospital confinement, I randomly selected to read two steampunk short stories from my copy of Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant.

The Ghost of Cwmlech Manor by Delia Sherman shares the legend of Mistress Angharad Cwmlech, daughter of Sir Owen Cwmlech who went into battle and secured her in Cwmlech Manor.

steampunk

The Manor House At Jas De Bouffan by Paul Cezanne (1870). Romanticism style, watercolor landscape on paper. Impressionist period. Retrieved from https://www.wikiart.org/en/paul-cezanne/the-manor-house-at-jas-de-bouffan-1870 on January 5, 2017.

The tale is told from the perspective of Tacy Gof, filial daughter of a smith and a former kitchen maid of the said manor. She grew up with a passionate admiration for Mistress Angharad Cwmlech who hid well her family treasure and confronted a large group of enemy soldiers with a sword.

The night the Roundheads broke into the manor, they found her on the stairs, clad in her nightdress, armed with her grandfather’s sword. They slew her where she stood, but not a gold coin did they find or a silver spoon, though they turned the house upside down with looking. (Source: The Ghost of Cwmlech Manor by Delia Sherman)

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Reading 52 short stories in 2017

EDITED – Why do I read short stories? When you can explain to me how a great short story writer manages to tell a complete tale by a few paragraphs, each meaningful and bewitching, I will pull you aside and tell you not the reason but the reading experiences, each unfeigned and memorable, which draw the entire picture of my reason.

I am a relatively new short story reader, having only patronized the fruits of this challenging craft less than five years ago. While I cannot remember the first short story I read or the first that left a distinct impression on my senses, I know that one short story just led to another, from one writer in America to a writer in India, from gothic genre to social development issues.

Then my feet would drag me to book sales and my heart would easily flutter at the sight of a short story collection whose writer I haven’t even heard or read about until that time. The books naturally start to pile up.

short stories

Reading A Story. Realism Painting by James Tissot (1878-1879). Retrieved from https://www.wikiart.org/en/james-tissot/reading-a-story on December 25, 2016.

Short stories are, to me, addictive, taunting me to read a few provocative lines until I would realize I have read the entire composition. They lend a glimpse into events that could have unfurled around the writer at the time of writing the story and offer me the chance to see and understand them through the writer’s lens.

Briefly yet satisfactorily, these good short stories would introduce me to various teasing scenes: the kaleidoscope of a curiosity shop; a corpse’s advanced stage of putrescence; long hair as black as coal, cared for like one would for a child; and the chattering neighbor’s attention and concern that is often, or perhaps rightly,  dismissed as gossip.

The appetite for discovering new scenes from worlds beyond my boundaries, as depicted in the short stories written with tremendous skill, encourages me, after careful thought, to join Deal Me In 2017: Short Story Reading Challenge created and hosted by Jay of Bibliophilopolis. It is the sort of challenge that reinforces my reading habits and nurtures my love of short stories.

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