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Friday, September 28, 2012

Short story review -- "Iphigenia in Aulis"

If anyone knows of a website where one can post short story reviews, please let me know in the comments -- because I'd like to tell as many people as possible about this wonderful short story by Mike Carey. I found it in the anthology An Apple for the Creature, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner, subtitled All-New Tales of Unnatural Education. Most of the stories are paranormal fantasy. "Iphigenia in Aulis," on the other hand, is essentially science fiction. I checked Amazon and see no evidence that Carey has written other SF (most of his novels belong to one of two paranormal series) -- but I hope he writes more of it! Ultimately, however, it makes little difference: Carey's beautiful way with characters, plot and language will no doubt be evident whatever his genre.

The title refers to a Greek legend, previously immortalized in a Euripedes play. How the subject matter of that play is woven through the story is just one of Carey's many masterful touches.

I am particularly anxious to avoid spoilers where this story is concerned, so I will say only that it provides an unusual take on a fairly common theme, and that it will break your heart -- "in a good way," as my daughter might say. This is a story that clutches at you and stays with you. I haven't yet finished the anthology; so far, I have enjoyed some of the other stories, and leafed through others. But this one story, at least, is not to be missed.

4 comments:

Mary said...

I really enjoyed it!!! Would love to be able to download it and buy it as a single story as I read it in the same anthology that I had borrowed from the library.

parlance said...

I think this is the most elegant short story I have read in ages. It was framed with the Greek mythology from the first sentence to the last, and the theme of sacrifice was woven in beautifully. After I read the last sentence, I wanted to talk about it to someone, to anyone, but the only person around was not a fantasy or sf reader!!

Anonymous said...

This is being expanded into a standalone coming January 2014 - The Girl With All The Gifts. Keep an eye out in the new year!

Andrew Bridges said...

"Iphigenia in Aulus" has also been the subject of a few operas

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