An Intrepid Reader names Glitter Rose in its Triple Choice Tuesday.
An Intrepid Reader names Glitter Rose in its Triple Choice Tuesday.
I’m sure Deborah Ross won’t mind me re-posting this review she did for Glitter Rose a while back:
Marianne de Pierres, Glitter Rose. I found this little collection of short stories in my goodie bag at the last World Fantasy Convention. Otherwise, I might never have known about it, as it’s from a small print run by an Australian publisher (Twelfth Planet Press). These are exquisite stories, understated in the best sense of the word, with weirdness and mystery (and a little drama here and there) woven into them. Most of them follow the narrator as she arrives on a tropical island, seeking solace for a deep wound that she can’t even bear to describe. The island, however, is subject to waves of wind-borne spores that generate “exotic, often terminal afflictions” for anyone who cannot afford the expensive antidote. As Tinashi settles into her self-imposed exile, she develops relationships with the island’s inhabitants, layer by layer exposing their secrets, her own, and those of the tidal spores.
With the last of the sunset…strange phosphorescence claimed the sand, colorless at first and rapidly changing to a carpet of tiny, shining, rose-coloured grains. Something about them compelled me to hasten to the beach and run them through my fingers and toes.
I must have stirred, because Geronimo and Arthur Wang each laid a hand on my arm.
“The spores are active,” Arthur Wang explained. “Walking on the beach during glitter rose can be…” he trailed off.
Geronimo took it up, his voice a quiet boom. “What the Prof. Is saying, Tinashi, is — if you walk on the beach at glitter rose, you might has well feed your Tyline to the fish. And you don’t know what the spores will do. How they will change you. Everyone is different. The locals, I mean. Some things you can see, like the eyes and the water retention in the forehead. Others it’s only on the inside. They’re the ones to watch. You never know about them. By heaven, it’s tempting though.” His voice brimmed with emotion in that last sentence, like a man on the limit of endurance.
I glanced among them then, and saw the feeling mirrored in their faces. Longing. And fear.
I gulped my pink champagne deeply and felt the tingle waken dead places in me.
By Marianne de Pierres
Australia : Twelfth Planet Press, 2010
A review by
When I think of biological disasters in science fiction, books like the Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain come to mind, with humans facing deadly change. Nothing says, however, that it is has to be that way, as some good could come along with the bad. This is one theme in several of the stories in Marianne de Pierres’ collection, Glitter Rose, from Twelfth Planet Press. When a “freak of nature” changes a touristy tropical island into a place for those seeking something they cannot find anywhere else, great stories are the result.
Tinashi has come to Carmine Island “worn by heartache” and seeking isolation. A decade before, spores settled on the island causing “exotic, even terminal afflictions”. Since then, only those who could afford the expensive suppressants can survive here and most who come seek either a hint of danger or escape from the past. Tinashi is obviously the latter, but she also sees beauty here, such as during the “glitter rose dusk”, when the spore turn the beach into a “carpet of tiny, shining rose-colored grains”. This is beauty with an edge because should one walk among it, the spores would change them. The effect is different for each person. The change can be seen on some of the locals, which might be as subtle as “water retention on the forehead”, or could be something deeper. When she first arrives, Tinashi finds the seclusion she seeks, but soon her neighbors take an interest in her and she learns more about of them, whether she would or not. Like most visitors, they are here for a reason, one directly connected with the spore. They form an unusual crew, including a pair on a long honeymoon, a deep sea fisherman, a divinity teacher and his daughter, and a marine biologist. Most intriguing is Katrin, who has no fear of the spore as she is immune; she gladly walks where others fear to tread.
Where is the good in this? How about Lauren, who is going slowly blind, but this seems a fair trade off, as she was dying from a fatal illness that the spore completely cured. What makes these four stories fascinating is the emotional impact the spore has on the residents, some reacting with greed, others loosing dark desires, and still others forming a family from those who choose to live in this altered world. Definitely a character driven work, the Glitter Rose stories are full of humanity at its worst and best, all set amidst wonder and magnificence.
The last story in this collection, “In the Bookshadow”, is set in a place we all know, a book store. Darker than the four other stories, a clerk in a small book shop begins seeing strange sites, starting with a “large, shadowy, evil” crow. Is this an omen or warning? Why these eerie shadows are appearing could be a warning to us all.
This slim volume might not seem like much, but its stories are lively, compelling and will definitely touch your heart. You might have to search a bit for a copy, but it is well worth seeking out the gem of Glitter Rose.
FastForward TV blog posted here courtesy of Colleen Cahill.
Here’s an excerpt from the Geek Speak review:
In an afterward, de Pierres says she was shooting for a sense of “languorous decay,” which took me aback because those were exactly the words that occurred to me as I read the Glitter Rose stories. All that languor creates an interesting tension with the stew of spirituality and emotion roiling away underneath. Tonally (although not so much thematically) related is the final story in this collection, “In the Bookshadow,” in which the nameless narrator discovers the surprising truth about her(?)self and de Pierres reveals herself to have a delightfully devilish sense of humor that I appreciated very much indeed.
The stories in Glitter Rose will challenge you, and you may find some of the remarkable and vivid imagery creeping into your subconscious. I definitely recommend this worthwhile collection. Just be aware that these may look simple, but they’re not casual reading. You’ll need to bring something to the table, too.
Glitter Rose is now officially in the wild after being released at the World Science Fiction convention in Melbourne in September. You can request a review copy by emailing marianne at mariannedepierres dot com, or contacting Twelfth Planet Press, or leaving a message in the comments section below.