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Andrea K Höst

Australian writer of science fiction and fantasy.
Fiction River: Unnatural Worlds - Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Devon Monk, Ray Vukcevich, Esther M. Friesner, Irette Y. Patterson, Kellen Knolan, Annie Reed, Leah Cutter, Richard Bowes, Jane Yolen, David Farland First of a series of short story collections funded through Kickstarter (each is themed, and this one's theme is fantasy). Most stories good, none total duds. Almost all 'contemporary' fantasy - magic happening to and around people in a world similar to ours (and almost all in the US)."Life Between Dreams" - Devon Monk - Interdimensional 'guardian duo'. Readable."Finally Family" - Ray Vukcevich - Had a vignette feel (though it's not). I liked the feel of this one."The Grasshopper and My Aunts" - Esther M Friesner - Ccomedic mythic creatures in semi-modern day story. Amusing, but the POV character came across as an unpleasant person."True Calling" - Irette Y Patterson - Baking magic and romance. Not particularly surprising, but readable."A Taste of Joie De Vivre" - Kellen Knolan - High School bullying combined with a town which is "troubled" in the same way as the TV show "Haven". Watching bullies 'get theirs' is almost always a satisfactory emotional payoff, though I felt sorry for the dog."Here, Kitty Kitty" - Annie Reed - Urban fantasy ex-cop duo of hot elf and human - tracking down a statue for a fairy. No surprises, but nice enough dynamic."That Lost Riddle" - Dean Wesley Smith - One is this author's "Poker Boy" series, where Lady Luck, etc, etc, are anthropomorphised, and the main character is "Poker Boy", a professional gambler turned luck-oriented superhero. Made me wonder, as these kind of stories often do, why so many ancient gods are American."Shadow Side" - Kristine Kathryn Rusch - One of the strongest (but also the longest, and thus with more time to build) stories in the collection. Cop/Police Chief who has been mixed up in the supernatural in the past and is really not keen in getting mixed up in it again. But a job opportunity in a mountain tourist town obliges him to face up to that choice. Enjoyed this one the most."Sisters" - Leah Cutter - Poignant and quite powerful story about death, belief and ritual."The Witch's House" - Richard Bowes - Post-apocalyptic plus fey. Interesting."Dog Boy Remembers" - Jane Yolen - the back story of one of the characters from "Except the Queen". Powerfully written, as expected of Yolen, but I sighed for the fridging of the unnamed mother. Deliberately nameless, I would presume, but I am just weary of nameless women, their deaths the background of Real Character's lives."Barbarians" - David Farland - Standard story of showing kindless to the enemy, made a little less standard by its conclusion. Only female character is typical "better than the rest because Good".