A short story collection.

Publication year: 2008
Format: print
Page count: 68
Publisher: PS Publishing

The introduction to this collection is written by L. Timmel Duchamp who equates writing with martial arts and at first this seemed a strange idea to me. But then it all came clear: “To write, to practice martial arts, one must be prepared to take falls, to get bruised, to risk one’s ego – and to expect to keep learning for as long as one pursues the vocation, without regard for one’s ease or safety.”

I loved “A Mere Scutcheon”. It’s set in a world similar to the Three Musketeers, except that a woman’s honor is the same as a man’s, and not between her legs. The Queen has her guardswomen and the King his guardsmen, and they are often dueling each other. The Queen gives Anna D’Gart a mission: to get back the Queen’s necklace before the ball where the Queen is expected to wear the necklace. Anna and her loyal friend Asamir set out to retrieve it. Asamir is aiming to become a nun but not before she has lots of intimate meetings with a married count.

In “The First Condition of Immortality” the main character’s friend has just died. When she travels to the funeral, she feels a shadow following her.

“Thirty-One Rules of Fulfilling You Destiny” is a fun way of breaking pretty much all of storytelling rules.

“Homesteading” is set after the collapse of civilized society. Isabel has had to learn to survive and she’s also trying to teaching her headstrong young protégé to choose her battles and not to fight every time.

“Three O’clock in the Morning” is a horror story.

I enjoyed all of the stories, some more than others; I’m not really a horror reader. The first one is my favorite, though. Even those that start with a familiar setting have a twist I enjoyed. They all look at women characters which is still unusual in SFF books. The women are all competent at what they do, but none of them are superhuman fighters, just more or less ordinary people.

The ebook is available at BookView Café which also has an excerpt: http://bookviewcafe.com/blog/2013/05/14/bvc-announces-conscientious-inconsistencies-by-nancy-jane-moore/