Good Behavior: Good, Not Best

Good Behavior is simultaneously the definitive collection of Letty Dobesh stories by Blake Crouch and no longer the definitive story of Letty herself.

These stories were originally published as three separate novellas over the course of a few years. As of 2016, they are also the basis for a TNT series starring Michelle Dockery in her first post-Downton role in an ongoing series. The stories are collected in one volume along with author commentary.

However, unlike other book adaptations, I think I might recommend watching the show *before* reading Good Behavior. These stories read a hell of a lot like the rough draft of the show, and might best be appreciated with that in mind.

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It’s Kind of a Funny Story: Bream Gives Me Hiccups

Bream Gives Me Hiccups is actor Jesse Eisenberg’s debut short story collection. Although it doesn’t feel like a vanity project, it is definitely a little derivative. Eisenberg’s work is in the same wheelhouse as Woody Allen’s short fiction, and doesn’t always fare well by comparison.

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Lucky Alan: When the End Comes

The only thing I remember about Jonathan Lethem’s first collection of short stories is that he really liked abrupt endings. Lucky Alan is no different. Sometimes the endings work, and sometimes the stories just feel unfinished. That’s probably why this collection has so many one-star ratings – people assume that Lethem is trying to pawn off his fragments on an unsuspecting public, and they react with vehemence.

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Dangerous Women: Only Occasional Danger

Dangerous WomenDangerous Women

Edited by: George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
Published: December 3rd, 2013
Publisher: Random House Audio
Genre(s): Fantasy, Science Fiction, Crime, Historical
Format: Audiobook
Length: 32 hrs and 49 mins

Dangerous Women is one of George R.R. Martin’s many side projects. The pedigree of contributors is excellent, but the quality varies, sometimes wildly. Of course, that’s true about most short story collections, even those largely considered masterpieces of the form.

The nice thing about Dangerous Women is that a large percentage of the stories are worth reading and most tie in to the overall theme fairly well. On that level, the collection is a success. It’s also an excellent collection to pick up in audio because the talent on offer is both varied and impressive. Actors like Sophie Turner, Iain Glen, Claudia Black and Jonathan Frakes all narrate, as do audio mainstays like Scott Brick.

One thing to keep in mind is that a few of the stories tie in to existing series and may constitute spoilers if you aren’t caught up. The Jim Butcher story takes place late in the Dresden Files series, and Lev Grossman’s story is a direct prequel to the upcoming third novel in his Magicians trilogy. I wasn’t necessarily current on all the related works, but for the most part I was able to enjoy the tie-in stories on their own merits.

Dangerous Women also isn’t a strictly SF&F anthology, including several crime, historical and literary stories in the mix. Some of those stories are the best parts of the collection, but if you are particularly stringent about your genre tastes, you may come away disappointed at the balance between SF&F and other genres.
As for the individual stories, capsule reviews follow after the jump.

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Short Stories of the Week: Driftings and The Taste of Starlight

I’d like to talk about two short stories I read this week: one I loved, and one I found absolutely revolting. The first, Driftings by Ian McDonald, is available in the January issue of Clarkesworld Magazine. I own The Dervish House – a 2011 Hugo nominee for Best Novel – but haven’t read it yet, …

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Short Story of the Week: How to Become a Mars Overlord by Catherynne M. Valente

Catherynne M. Valente is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors even though I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of her work. She’s most well-known now for her Fairyland series (which starts with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making), but she’s also a highly prolific author of …

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LA Noire: The Collected Stories From Mulholland Books

I really don’t mean to be a Mulholland Books fanboy, I swear, but they just keep announcing such cool stuff that I can’t help myself. Their newest announcement ties in two of my favorite things: videogames and crime fiction. It turns out they’re going to release a tie-in volume of short stories involving characters from …

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Dangerous Laughter by Steven Millhauser

Published: February 12, 2008 Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Genre(s): Fiction, Slipstream Format: Hardcover Pages: 244 I was drawn to this collection of short stories by two things; first off, the cover is gorgeously designed, evoking both the period setting of many of the stories – the 1950s and 1960s – and the unsettling, off-kilter themes …

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St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

Title story from St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell, published 2007. I’ve recently been making a point of reading more short stories because I’m interested in trying my hand at writing some. As I’ve read more, I’ve discovered that there are certain genres that seem to excel in a shorter form. There’s …

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Reheated Cabbage by Irvine Welsh

Published: September 14, 2009 Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company Genre(s): Literary Fiction, Short Stories Format: Paperback Pages: 288 This is the second book I’ve read by Irvine Welsh. The first, Ecstasy, disturbed me to no end back in the day even though I’ve always been a huge fan of the movie version of Trainspotting. …

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