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Sunday, November 25, 2012

"City of Blind Delight" by Catherynne M. Valente

Anthology:  Clockwork Phoenix 1

Writers with elaborate descriptive skills tend to earn more writerly praise within the genre.  Valentine is no exception.  While her ability does impress--"graffiti-barnacled leviathan" for a train--certain readers will be put off.  Mike Allen clearly wanted to establish a certain tone for his anthology.  He isn't going to let it be easy on you, but the view will be worth it.

The story opens with speculative philosophizing:  A train exists that traverses the world, all train stations.  Gris, a business man, unknowingly steps aboard and enters the station for the City of Blind Delight, where you either work as a dancer or a prostitute.  Dancers decorate the walls and ceiling.  And a prostitute greets Gris, shows she is both a woman and a machine, and he returns home.  The story closes again on its speculative philosophy.

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