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 3Unusual 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 hereThe Hundred Thousand KingdomsFang Bangers: An Erotic Anthology of Fangs, Claws, Sex and LoveMust Love HellhoundsTruthseekerFebruaryDark and Stormy KnightsTortall and Other LandsRiver Marked
(2/28 - it arrived a day early)March
Questionable Content, vol 1How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
Magic BitesSkinwalker, A Jane Yellowrock Novel
Running with the PackMagic Burns
"Skyblaze" Adventures in the Liaden Universe #17Kings of the North
Do Not Sniff the Bees, Two Lumps book 6Magic Strikes
Magic BleedsMercy BladeThe Initiate BrotherMayAngelologyCity of PearlAn Artificial NightLate EclipsesJuneAfter 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
If You Don't Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails
Swords and Dark Magic
Wise Man's Fear