Reviews, by Sean Melican

Reviews, by Sean Melican

Map of Dreams, M. Rickert. Golden Gryphon Press, 2006. ISBN: 1-930846-44-4

Polyphony 6, Deborah Layne and Jay Lake, eds. Wheatland Press, 2006. ISBN: 0-9755903-4-0

Rabid Transit: Long Voyages, Great Lies, Christopher Barzak, Alan DeNiro and Kristin Livdahl, eds. Velocity Press, 2006. ISBN: not available

The Year’s Best Fantasy 6, David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, eds. Tachyon Publications, 2006. ISBN: 1-892391-37-6.

Fast Forward 1 Lou Anders, ed. Pyr, 2007. ISBN: 978-1-59102-486-6

The Steam Magnate, Dana Copithorne. Aio Publishing Company, 2006. ISBN: 1-933083-08-5

The Good Fairies of New York, Martin Millar. Soft Skull Press, 2006. ISBN: 978-1-933368-36-8

Paragaea: A Planetary Romance, Chris Roberson. Pyr, 2006. ISBN: 1-59102-444-7

Reviewed by Sean Melican.

Short Fiction

Whether you are familiar with the amazing M. Rickert or not, Golden Gryphon’s forty-eight collection Map of Dreams is worth reading and sharing with your friends. Not simply a collection, the stories are given an added weight and depth from the structure. The title story is a long, previously unpublished story whose first person narrator, Annie Merchant, having lost her daughter to a sniper shooting, becomes convinced that it is possible to see her daughter in the flesh. Her marriage falls apart and she seeks out a reclusive man in Australia whom she believes can offer her a means of time travel through aboriginal Dreamtime, and save her daughter. But what would that mean for her daughter? For herself? Can the past be changed? The story invokes numerous time-travel cliches, yet manages to avoid the pitfalls for the most part. The mysterious intervening woman is too obvious, but the intensely personal answers and the haunting evocations of aboriginal history are worth reading.

Following “Map of Dreams” is an introduction by Annie Merchant and then short segments—”Dreams,” “Nightmares,” “Waking,” Rising”—describing story/creation. Each segment is followed by stories which are either dreams, nightmares, et cetera. We are supposed (I think) to take it that these stories are Annie Merchant’s map of dreams, stories through which she comes to terms with her daughter’s death. The last story, “The Chambered Fruit,” deals specifically with another mother very much like Annie who has lost her daughter through her own error.

Nearly all of the stories deal with loss: loss of a child, loss of innocence, loss of faith, loss of humanity, and most importantly, loss of identity. The husband of “Leda” loses his wife and perhaps her sanity—after all, she says she was raped by a swan—but what happens when the egg hatches? “Bread and Bombs” speaks of children losing their innocent view of the world to one where there is an us and a them (invoking/discussing/attacking the current political/social/religious climate of the United States), and when the line is clearly demarked, what happens to a child’s soul when he or she crosses that line? My personal favorite, “Peace on Suburbia,” is a daring story: first for using second person and second for taking faith seriously rather than dismissively as so much fiction does.

In his afterword, Mr. Van Gelder says Ms. Rickert is “… an American who was obviously influenced by Garcia Marquez.” What I suspect he means is that in Ms. Rickert’s stories magic intrudes in everyday life without the separate and distinct contextual/textual/narrative markers that are part and parcel of current fantastic literature. For me, I find strong similarities to Flannery O’Conner’s emphasis on ordinary people: not scientists, magicians, geniuses, savants, detectives, or outlaws, except of the accidental sort. Ordinarily, I don’t like the ‘recipe’ method of review: the sort that reads, “M. Rickert is two parts Garcia Marquez blended with one part Flannery O’Conner with a dash of…” But Flannery O’Conner, despite a relatively small body of work, is a critical component of American fiction, partly because she illuminates the forgotten, ordinary corners of America; M. Rickert falls into the same category. It isn’t the hallowed halls of academia or mystical caverns or lands just beyond or overlapping. It is as much a map of America as it is a map of dreams.

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If Ms. Rickert is a true magic realist then Polyphony is perhaps the most consistent advocate and publisher of slipstream. The Leviathan and Rabid Transit (review below) series are also excellent locations, or points of departure from the ordinary of the fantastic. I don’t have room to review every story, so I’ll note highlights.

Following the overlay elaborate metaphor above, Josh Rountree’s “Chasing America” is an appropriate segue. Paul Bunyan escapes Albion, running from the Jacks who want to kill him, to come to America. A giant, he makes his mark on the frontier, but slowly assumes ordinary proportions. He finds himself at critical junctions in American history—including the much-overused JFK assassination, though within the Jack theme, this time it works—until he comes to a surprising and terribly sad conclusion. As an example of slipstream (and story),it works: it takes the impossible/mythical, inserts it into critical but surprising moments (who’d have thought Woody Guthrie?) and most importantly, uses the impossible/mythical and critical to be critical, to illuminate the shadowed realms of the American fictional landscape.

Forrest Aguirre’s “Keys I Don’t Remember” is a collection of vignettes each revolving around a, well, key. Each vignette, though only a page, is one of those very rare gifts: a flash fiction story which works. There are political stories (“The Last Key in Sodom,” which may be the most heart-wrenching) and stories which evoke/reflect on various writers, including Kafka and Borges (“The Schloss Key” and “The Key to the Labyrinths”). Some are historical and all are philosophical. The cumulative effect/meaning is both beautiful and powerful.

Darin C. Bradley’s “The Heresy Box” tells a story in reverse time: a neat trick, and well-executed, though the story itself is well-tread. Nick Mamatas’ “The Uncanny Valley” is a nifty blending of post-human society, psychology, and murder mystery.

But the most potent stories are those which really have no speculative fiction elements, though they reflect concerns and experiences of speculative readers. Richard Waldhom’s “Orange Groves Out to the Horizon” (my favorite) is a lyrical story beginning and culminating with the launching of a pet rat in a model rocket (a common enough experience/love of speculative fiction readers), which fades into a metaphor for lost childhoods and fathers. When the father discovers the son and his friends, the disconnect/distance between them is heartbreaking.

And Pamela Sargent’s “The Drowned Father” tells the tale of a wannabe writer meeting the estranged daughter of his favorite writer. A simple, almost trite scenario, it becomes a meditation on the conflict between those who practice art and those whose lives they touch, whether for good or ill.

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The fifth installment of Rabid Transit, Long Voyages, Great Lies is much shorter than Polyphony, but well worth your time and money. Like Polyphony, Rabid Transit delights in slipstream-y material.

“The Mom Walk: A Story in Five Stories” by Alice Kim begins, “There were two girls. One was Wanda, the other was Wendy. They lived in different universes. In time, they would come to discover that they had the same theoretical mother problems.” There intersecting lives involve aliens, bras and Denny’s. I can’t tell explain it any better.

My favorite is David J. Schwartz’ “Shackles” which is told entirely in the dark and revolves around the lives of various political prisoners, including the Auto-Revolutionary, an indescribable machine that is a thorn in the king’s propagandist’s sides. This is the dark side of all of those autocratic fantasy novels you all like. Dark, disturbing, beautiful.

F. Brett Cox’s “My Whole World Lies Waiting” is a tale of a door to another universe, and Heather Shaw’s lovely “Mountain, Man” is the story of a socially maladjusted man who discovers a woman who is something else altogether. Meghan McCarron’s “The Ghost Line” is a love (sort of, maybe)/quest story in a post-apocalyptic future, and Geoffery H. Goodwin’s “Release the Bats” is, like “Shackles”, the dark side of a common trope, in this case that of having a family when the father seeks magical power.

Different. Exotic.

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If slipstream, New Weird (or whatever), or magical realism don’t appeal to you, how ’bout something more traditional? It is the usual practice for reviewers to cover all the year’s best in a single column, but for various reasons, I’ll discuss only one (for others, read Strange Horizons and LOCUS), because it is a counterpoint to the above three books: David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer’s Year’s Best Fantasy 6.

Obviously, editing a ‘best of’ anthology is fairly subjective. But I think there are some objective qualities: a best story could be an excellent example of traditional fare (“The Imago Sequence,” for example), a genre story that uses the themes and structures to comment on or critique itself, a powerful emotional, political, or social statement, unusual narrative choices (second person, reverse time, historical imitation). Editors still bring biases to the table, and in the case of Mr. Hartwell and Ms. Cramer, it is a quite strong bias toward traditional fantasy. More frustrating, it is not apparent that they have read a wide variety from the year since they’ve taken stories only from F&SF, Strange Horizons, Asimov’s and a handful of others, including three from Tesseracts Nine. (Knowing Mr. Hartwell’s and to a less extent Ms. Cramer’s reputations, I can’t believe that, but still.) They lean heavily on F&SF, which is one of the strongest venues for fantasy, but without an Honorable Mentions section (found in other best-of-the-year anthologies) we can judge only from the twenty-three stories presented.

First, outrage: it is difficult to take seriously the notion that these are the best fantasy stories when it does not contain Kelly Link’s “Magic for Beginners”, which earned the BSFA and the Nebula, was nominated for the Hugo, and even TIME magazine named the collection one of the best five books of the year. Sure, it’s long and space in this particular anthology is at a premium, but is Connie Willis’ inferior (compared to “Magic for Beginners” and several of Ms. Willis’ other stories) “Inside Job,” which is equally long, more deserving? Ms. Link is present with “Monsters” which is a neat twist on monster-in-the-woods-at-camp stories, but arguably one of her weaker stories. (Don’t get me wrong: I would crawl across broken, salted glass to retrieve a Kelly Link manuscript from fire, battery acid, rabid dogs, or ignorant, witch-hunting, book-burning PTA members.)

So. Good stuff? Sure.

Gavin J. Grant’s “Heads Down, Thumbs Up” is inarguably one of the best stories of the year. Taking the idea that language and culture change with changing boundaries, the story is about a world in which boundaries move and people stay still (rather than the more usual, other way ’round) and when it shifts, so does their language, culture, jokes, behavior, et cetera. Where can freedom be found? Why, with the witch, of course. Like the very best of literature, it is impossible to deconstruct and reassemble (oh, the witch is a metaphor for… and the boundary shift is analogous to…) but is something (like sex, war and childbirth) that must be experienced. For further praise, read Jeff Vandermeer’s appreciation.

Laird Barron’s “The Imago Sequence” is a perfectly executed horror story mined from the Lovecraftian vein but utilizing hard science for rationalization. Aside from Mr. Grant’s story, my favorite is Jonathon Sullivan’s “Neils Bohr and the Sleeping Dane” which follows the escape of Neils Bohr from the Nazis; but what is most fascinating (and similar to Ms. Rickert’s “Peace on Suburbia”) is Mr. Sullivan’s willingness to write about religion and faith—in this case, Judaism—as if it were important, valuable, and not to be dismissed. (Which it is.) Instead of representing science as superior, they are complementary. The ending weakens this somewhat by relying on literal magic employed by the stereotype of rabbi-as-magician, but it is still a superior story.

Yoon Ha Lee’s “Eating Hearts” is a beautiful and non-European love story, and Garth Nix’s “Read It in the Headlines!” is a fun story told through, well, headlines. Bruce Sterling’s “The Denial,” while hardly original or ground-breaking, is a solid story of love and death. Esther M. Friesner’s “The Fraud” is again, not ground-breaking, but is a wonderful imitation of Victorian story-telling.

And now for the criticism: some of the stories are too weak to be considered the best of the year. Heather Shaw’s “Single White Farmhouse,” is a simple what-if: what if houses could, through the internet, meet and mate? While amusing, it says nothing of consequence about love or architecture. If you don’t know that meeting someone through email and IM and all that rot is fraught with deception and heartbreak, then maybe it has value beyond its simple humor. Patrick Samphire’s “Crab Apple” has an ending that is too obvious and far too clichéd to be believed. Neil Gaiman’s “The Sunbird” is, like Ms. Shaw’s story, funny but too slight and familiar. (I would save a Neil Gaiman manuscript as I would a Kelly Link.) I’ve no intention to denigrate the authors or their stories; none of them is particularly weak, but neither do they have qualities that merit inclusion as best of the year.

———•———

While Asimov’s and Analog have been solid science fiction magazine—Analog hearkening back to the good ol’ days and Asimov’s focusing on post-human or literate or humanist stories—fantasy and slipstream have come to dominate the genre landscape. There have been several one-shot science fiction anthologies, but other than the aforementioned magazines, there hasn’t been a regular source of science fiction short stories. But Lou Anders, the editorial director of Pyr and anthologist of note, has produced a new, unthemed, refreshingly skiffy anthology that is to become a regular series: Fast Forward 1.

While you won’t find any new writers or novel ideas here, you’ll find several solid stories by excellent writers, a few that are little more than vehicles for an idea (which is itself old-fashioned) and one notably silly story.

Ender’s Game was not the first of its kind, but it set a very high bar for children-commanding-war-machines stories. (For an interesting refutation of/antidote to the hero-worship heaped on Orson Scott Card and Ender Wiggin, read John Kessel’s excellent essay, “Creating the Innocent Killer”.) Not one but two such stories appear here. The first is from Ian McDonald’s heavily mined but still solid near-future India. “Sanjeev and Robotwallah” is a subtle, emotional contrast of the haves and have-nots. The robotwallahs still live with their parents and command platoons of war machines (think Battle Mech) via telepresence in a filthy go-down. Sanjeev loves robots (hey, who doesn’t?) and works for his father’s restaurant in overcrowded India after his idyllic, pastoral home is destroyed by war machines. Befriended by several robotwallahs , Sanjeev discovers the contrast between the shiny, sexy robots and the reality of the exploited child soldiers. The beauty and power of the story comes from its willingness to neither sanctify nor demonize its protagonists, but portray them as people in a world not of their making, in a world where limited employment choices limit moral choices, and where the glamour of our heroes—robotwallahs, rock and rap musicians, actors, athletes—is really just a shoddy facade.

Contrast this to Kage Baker’s “Plotters and Shooters.” On an orbital station, children serve either as plotters, those who find asteroids destined to destroy earth, or shooters, those who shoot the asteroids down. The shooters are the bullies and jocks; the plotters are the geeks abused by the shooters. The story makes no sense scientifically (I hate bad science) and doesn’t rise above the level of cliché. While there are occasional threatening asteroids, there are not so many that an entire platoon of adults, much less children, is needed. Nor is there any reason that plotters cannot be shooters—it’s a simply computation for even this PC on which I’m writing—other than as a plot contrivance. And the conflict between the jocks and nerds is one of the worst clichés in modern times.

But one bad story does not a bad anthology make. Ken MacLeod’s excellent “Jesus Christ, Reanimator,” is a Second Coming story. But is Jesus really Jesus—sure, he can heal wounds, bring back the dead—but is he perhaps an alien, and if he’s an alien, what does that mean for the fundamentalists? And what does it mean for the rest of us? Some Doubting Thomases cannot be convinced even in the face of overwhelming evidence—think evolution and global warming, for example.

Paul Di Filippo’s amusing “Wikiworld” is reminiscent of Cory Doctorow, particularly “Nimby and the Dimension Hoppers,” and Charles Stross’ Accelerando sequence, but with a lighter touch. It is also an effort to bridge the gap between those for whom wiki is an important part of the everyday, and those for whom science fiction serves the same purpose. When discussing the graying of the science fiction readership, one method that may bring the not-so-gray into the fold is to not pretend that the phenomena which matter to younger readers doesn’t exist.

Not quite as successful at merging the two, but laudable for the effort, is Elizabeth Bear’s “The Something-Dreaming Game,” which merges the high of personal asphyxiation (these sections read as if Ms. Bear did extensive but distant research divorced from actual teenagers, the sort of teenage viewpoints presented in newspapers) with the good old dying-civilization-contacts-humans-to-remember-their-race. Paolo Bacigalupi’s “Small Offerings” is a brutal science fiction and horror story in the style of Margaret Atwood. A.M Dellamonica’s “Time of the Snake” is a vicious examination of politics and terrorism.

Curiously, romance, love, marriage—which were largely absent from those old-fashioned stories of so long ago—are strongly represented: from Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper’s “The Terror Bard” to Louise Marley’s wonderful time travel story “p dolce,” (a counterpoint to “Mozart in Mirrorshades”) to John Meaney’s heartbreaking science fiction/gothic “Sideways from Now.”

This anthology is proof hard science fiction is still a vibrant, worthwhile endeavor for any writer; here’s hoping this anthology series has a long, healthy life.

———•———

Novels

On its website, Aio Publishing says it wants to publish complex stories focusing on the human aspect rather than technology, and thus far has done just an amazing job. Dana Copithorne’s The Steam Magnate is no exception. Like The Summer Isles and particularly like Nocturne, it demands careful reading and rewards the reader after the book is finished. I’m writing this a few months after reading the book, and going over my notes, I’ve made numerous notes on what appear to be technological inconsistencies: there are simulacra, holograms, fiber optic cables, levitation platforms; and yet one of the characters wonders if a recording device could be built. It isn’t until after reading the novel I realized (this may be an indication of my density) the world Ms. Copithorne writes of is in the far distant future, where characters use but don’t comprehend technology from their past. And power generation comes from underground steam, solar, wind, and tidal power stations.

The story is a rather loose amalgam of characters and motivations. After being caught in a compromising position, Kyra is sent by her benefactor to infiltrate Eson’s (the steam magnate) home and recover a certain document. Eson has ink and paper which, when signed, can can form an unbreakable master and servant bond between him and another person. Through these, he has many documents which allow him to control economic and political figures. Almost incidentally, he also owns the steam which provides power to several cities. Jado is a young man with a gift for building machines. Eson and Kyra meet under false pretenses, become lovers and later partners; and later still, one will betray the other. Jado meets Kyra and later Eson, and will become Eson’s financial and criminal partner.

But strongest and most inventive is the ghetto in which Jado and his people, live, a distinct ethnic minority reminiscent of Jews in early twentieth century Europe, various physical structures which have numerous meanings, for example:

Sunlight Appears Only At Dusk was at first a ghost tale, a place where one must be fearful of his soul when walking past. Later, Jado learned it was a place where some of his past relatives had been arrested and taken away on false grounds a hundred years earlier.

Most impressive is the walls of Glass Spells a Name, a long wall made of bits of glass spelling out the names of saints, but also a wall along which troubled men and women walk seeking answers in the patterns of glass. While neither the Western Wall nor the Vietnam memorial, it has the logic and solidity of both and yet remains a distinct invention of Ms. Copithorne, not merely a pale copy.

Also of note are the lovely sketches Ms. Copithorne has drawn of various locales in the city.

The writing is lyrical, the characters and world (the world especially) well-drawn, but it is not without minor flaws. Most first novels have them, and should be judged accordingly. The ending is a bit flat, particularly when Eson and Jado leave the Broken Glass City for reasons that, when compared to Eson’s wealth, seem remarkably trivial. And there is one exchange between Jado and Kyra that is facile and unnatural in the flow of the narrative, beginning with, “Do you think future technologies will save us from the world, or destroy it?”

But while there are weaknesses, Aio continues to publish quality speculative fiction like The Steam Magnate that is a refreshing change from the usual fare. Here’s hoping there are more stories from the Broken Glass City.

———•———

I’m always wary of small presses I’ve never heard of who ask if we’ll review something. This isn’t to denigrate small presses—there are many which produce wonderful artifacts: Small Beer, Tachyon, Pyr, Aio to name but a few—but when Soft Skull told us Neil Gaiman (see statements above) had written an introduction, not just a blurb, an introduction!, to Martin Millar’s The Good Fairies of New York, well, I just had to read it.

It turns out there are fairies in New York. (Insert joke and/or derogatory comment here.) But the Chinese fairies don’t mingle with the Italian fairies and so on. There are also fairies in the Celtic isles, but these are being turned from carefree, frolicking-in-the-meadows and other f-ing-in-the-meadows fairies (and do they ever f-!) into miserable cogs in mass production factories.

Morag and Heather are two fairies from this last, who are, for want of a better word, punk fairies. (Insert second joke.) They’ve just flown into Dinnie’s apartment and puked on his carpet. Dinnie is an overweight and terrible violinist. His neighbor, Kerry, has Crohn’s disease. She’s making a flower alphabet for an arts festival to get back at her ex-boyfriend whose producing A Midsummer Night’s Dream for said festival.

Hijinks ensue: the most important flower to the flower alphabet is lost and recovered in the grand tradition of high comedy, and must be made of steel to remain intact through its rough life. Fairies rumble in the streets of New York. (Third joke.) Two girl phone sex will be important for the climax. (Fourth joke.) Heather and Morag help Dinnie and Kerry for impossibly complex reasons involving sneezes, tartans, and violins. Somehow, the ghost of Johnny Thunders is involved.

Everything will sort itself out in the end, never you fear: love and goodness will triumph and everything will be happily ever after; except, well, it doesn’t and isn’t. That may be true for fairies and their tales, but not for us mere mortals. For all the hilarity—and it is laugh out loud hilarious—Mr. Millar never loses sight of the humanity and weaknesses (emotional and physical) of his protagonists.

This is every bit the book that Mr. Gaiman says it is. And now I’ve said so too.

———•———

The press materials for Paragaea sets lofty goals for the novel:

In the tradition of the planetary romances of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Leigh Brackett, Paragaea is in fact a ‘hard’ science fiction adventure, grounded in the latest thinking in the fields of theoretical physics, artificial intelligence, genetics, and more. There is a rigorously rational explanation behind all of the unearthly elements…

Oh boy! I said and rubbed my hands together. What a fantastic idea!

Unfortunately, the book doesn’t live up to the hype. As a planetary romance, it is a fine book, full of curiosities, plenty of swordplay, friendship, grand adventures, great vistas, weird and forgotten realms, a little sex (fairies do it a lot more than people, it seems).

Leena is a Soviet cosmonaut who accidentally travels to Paragaea (para- meaning beyond or similar to, and Gaea meaning earth). The launching of her ship is far too drawn out and fails to deliver on the visceral thrill of rocket launches. She is saved by Heironymous Bonadventure (Hero to his friends), a fellow traveler from earth but this time a sailor from the Napoleonic era, and his meta-man companion, Balam, an ousted prince of the jaguar-like Sinaa empire. Meta-men, a staple of planetary romances, are explained as genetic experiments between humans and animals: jaguars, fish, and the like. Which is all well and good, but the rational for the experimenters doesn’t rise above the usual they-could-so-they-did. I would have like to have discovered (and there is a means of doing so: Benu, who we’ll meet in a moment) that gave a deeper, more rigorously logical, rational; for example, perhaps the experimenters saw that the climate of the world was changing in such a way that Homo sapiens would not survive, but a blend of human and animal would, and to decrease the risk of total annihilation, a variety of blends are made should one variant fail. Hero’s map of Paragaea suggests that it is a far future earth.

Like Dorothy and her companions, they travel Paragaea in search of a way home for Leena, whose relentless single-minded need to return and report to the Soviets is an irritant to the reader. Yes, the Soviets were rigid and promoted loyalty to the state above all else, but in a world of wonders, how long before wonder overwhelms loyalty? Like Dorothy and her companions, they meet an android of sorts, Benu, a creation of the posthumans whose purpose is to record the changes of Paragaea and its cultures. Every millennia Benu’s body degrades and he must move his identity to a new body. And this is where the promise of the novel is most fulfilled: in an earlier such transfer, an accident occurs and the new body awakens without Benu’s identity. Forging its own identity, and without any moral compass, it becomes/rationalizes the Ming the Merciless archetype.

Like Dorothy and her companions, they come to the posthumans’ hideout and, well, it ain’t exactly ruby slippers and a balloon, but you get the idea.

If the scientific improbabilities of Burroughs and Brackett are explained, the novel falls short in examining the motivations of characters. Like the planetary romances of old, Hero and Balam are roving souls who have no substantial ties and can and will risk life and limb for the hell of it. Hero says:

“And where would be the fun if it were easy? If we have to storm the walls of the Diamond Citadel of Atla, if we have to scale the fire mountains of Ignis itself, well… isn’t that better than hanging around here till death takes us in our sleep?”

Honestly, if a writer is going to tackle the scientific absurdities of planetary romance, couldn’t he also tackle the motivational absurdities? Quick, on your fingers, name the number of people you know who can, at the drop of a hat, not only leave their lives for a grand adventure but actually have the skills necessary to survive? There’s nothing wrong with such fantasy per se, but I’d like to have seen a more realistic approach to motivation. (I thought of Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the Short Sun, where Horn has to make a similar journey, but he has to have a damned good reason to leave his home, his wife and children, his livelihood; even then, he’s reluctant.)

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Also, a shout out to a wonderful bookstore if you live in or are near the Trenton/Princeton area. Dedicated to children’s books, Alphabet Soup Books has thousands of books not available in chain bookstores, divided into region. For example, I picked up a wonderful book on Burmese folk tales, but you can also find similar books, as well as historical and pictorial books for various Asian, African and European regions. Just a wonderful place to find all sorts of beautiful and wonderful books for children. And yourself, while you’rethere.

Alphabet Soup Books

(609) 771-3700

Lawrenceville Shopping Center

2495 Route 1

Lawrenceville, 08648

http://alphabetsoupbooks.com



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