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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
Books: After Hours: Tales from Ur-Bar 
6th-Jun-2011 05:17 pm
Read Irresponsibly
Tales from Ur-Bar was a fun short story collection. The prologue starts "Fifteen authors walked into a bar..." and out came this compilation. It wasn't that simple, of course, but it sounded good. Anyway, this collection of stories is hung together on the premise that Gilgamesh did get his wish for immortality - as a bartender in an immortal bar. Yes, it's the bar that is immortal, not that it is a bar for immortals. The bar cannot be destroyed, but that it will reincarnate in another place and time, with Gilgamesh still in its heart.

The most interesting twist to the bar-conceit is that Gilgamesh has one magic drink on offer that has just enough kick to let them decide their futures clearly. In some stories, that drink does nothing more than make sure the person stays on the same path he started. In others, such as "Steady Hands and a Heart of Oak," it pushes a character through the decision tree of the future over and over again until the one possibly positive decision comes clear.

Like most short story collections, there were some that were better than others. Some were funny, some were thoughtful, and two were really on my wavelength. They were arranged in roughly historical order, running from prehistory and Vikings ("Why the Vikings Had No Bars") through the World Wars, up through to post-history time travel ("Forbidden") and zombies. While I purchased the book because it had a Seanan McGuire story in it ("The Alchemy of Alcohol"), I enjoyed many of other authors just as much if not more than McGuire. Dunne's "The Emperor's New God" tickled my history bone, as did Jackson's "The Tavern Fire" (though I wonder how Gil knew no one had died). The end story, "Izdu Bar" was, of course, one with a twist. I didn't resent it, though I still didn't like it all that much. Read it, enjoy it, and pass it on.


-- New-to-me books read in 2011 (as opposed to re-reads) --

January
Little Dee vol 2
Little Dee vol 3
Unusual Suspects
Harvest Moon
The Black Stallion (yes, I know, I should have read it with Black Beauty)
Ravens in the Library: Magic in the Bard's Name, with a pre-finished commentary here
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Fang Bangers: An Erotic Anthology of Fangs, Claws, Sex and Love
Must Love Hellhounds
Truthseeker

February
Dark and Stormy Knights
Tortall and Other Lands
River Marked (2/28 - it arrived a day early)

March
Questionable Content, vol 1
How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
Lifeblood
Magic Bites
Skinwalker, A Jane Yellowrock Novel
Running with the Pack
Magic Burns
Blood Cross

April
"Skyblaze" Adventures in the Liaden Universe #17
Kings of the North
Goblin Tales
Do Not Sniff the Bees, Two Lumps book 6
Magic Strikes
Magic Bleeds
Mercy Blade
The Initiate Brother

May
Angelology
City of Pearl
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses

June
After Hours: Tales from Ur-Bar
Magic Slays

-- Books abandoned rather than completed in 2011 --

February
Sing the Four Quarters, by Tanya Huff

-- Books Still in Progress --
These are books that I haven't totally given up on, I've just... put them aside... for now. And gee, look at how many of them are non-fiction!
The Brand Within
Gamestorming
If You Don't Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails
Swords and Dark Magic
Battlestations
Wise Man's Fear
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