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by Marie Brennan
Tachyon-San Francisco, $15.95, 224pp
Published: August 2020

This is as different from Brennan's Lady Trent novels as it can be.

Driftwood is a world where other places go to die. Like a whirlpool of broken chunks of ice sucked toward a hole, the large pieces initially come from out of the Mist, and as they near annihilation, are broken up into smaller pieces and the smaller pieces broken down further until they reach "the Crush" where they disappear forever. Some of the shredded bits are only the length of a couple of blocks, a few, just a smattering of houses. Each of these places are all that are left of complete worlds; they have different beings who speak different languages, have different customs and gods.

I like the visual of walking down a street under three suns with a dry wind blowing and turning the corner and finding yourself in a night time landscape covered in ice. And of course, the place you might be looking for has completely disappeared.

Communication is managed, but not always very smoothly. Set in the ruins of an outdoor amphitheater - in true classic presentation - there are thirteen tales; their connection being an immortal called Last (yes, the last of his people) who will decide to help you or not and guide you to a piece of Driftwood that might be your old home or the ancient center of your religion.

Last is aloof but kindly enough, when he chooses to be, as he wanders through the remnants of hundreds of worlds. The writing is quirky and descriptive, the tales fascinating and bizarre. This has a real whiff of China Mievelle, a leading light in urban fantasy called the New Weird.

I think New Weird applies to this peculiar little of collection of stories. And I admire Brennan for writing something so distinctly…well…weird as this volume.

This is quite a new flavor for her and well worth a visit. ~~ Sue Martin

For more titles by Marie Brennan click here

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