**** The Cinema of Coming Attractions
France, the 1960’s. A seaside tourist town. The narrator runs a small gang: shell games, pickpocketing, other petty crimes. The main entertainment for the locals in this town is the titular cinema – which shows not popular films, but glimpses of the possible futures of the audience members. When the narrator meets an aspiring actress, who invites him to attend the cinema with her, both of their futures may change. Beautifully done – the atmosphere of the time and place are perfect…
**** Int. Morgue. Night
An alternate-history Australia, 1951. Here, Charles Sturt’s theoretical inland sea was a reality, and an influx of Asian money and immigration has created a boom of growth, making this Australia more like what we think of when we think of Shanghai, complete with crime and opium dens. Cue a noir mystery: a private eye finds his girlfriend, a hostess at an opium den, murdered. While trying to find her killer, he uncovers a web of schemes and betrayals.
TALES OF CAELI-AMUR:
**** Lovers in Caeli-Amur
A philosopher-assassin, devoted to gratificationism [a hedonistic philosophy], starts an ill-advised affair with the young wife of his employer, and finds his heart betraying him. A classic-feeling tale, full of intricate details and finely-crafted ironies.
**** Twilight in Caeli-Amur
A young agent is tasked with collecting the notebooks of a renowned botanist from his elderly widow. (This being Caeli-Amur, botany is also the study of weapons and poisons.) He discovers that more lies beneath the surface than he expected, and that assumptions can be a mistake. A small and quiet, but powerful tale.
*****The Passing of the Minotaurs
Re-read. This is the story that was expanded into the truly excellent ‘Unwrapped Sky.’ https://www.goodreads.com/review/show… (Which is what inspired me to get a copy of this book.)
**** Lost in the Library of Forgotten Books
Comparisons with Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s ‘Cemetery of Forgotten Books’ and Django Wexler’s recent ‘Forbidden Library,’ as well as any number of other variations on this theme, are unavoidable. Here, an oppressive system forces writers to submit their banned works to the Library, where they will be shelved and willfully ‘forgotten,’ never to be read. There are supernatural and malevolent guardians, labyrinthine corridors, and rumors of secrets… Here, one coerced worker and one proscribed author dream of escaping together to Caeli-Amur.