By a bunch of people.
Another book of short stories, this time featuring divination. Definitely leans toward being creepy, eerie, and unpleasant. To be honest, most of it's not to my taste, but there's a few stories I liked in there.
- "Reading the Entrails" by Neil Gaiman: A rondel poem. Short and creepy.
- "Bright Seeds in a Whirlwind" by Bruce Holland Rogers: When a mother finds out from a curandera that her son is likely to end up a homeless dreamer, she does whatever she can to make sure that doesn't happen, including cutting off the source of his dreaming. From then on, it gets kind of weird and things go awry. Started out well and then kinda lost me.
- "First Thing In The Morning" by Billie Sue Mosiman: In her youth, a cup reader is promised a husband and 8 children...but the woman is going to have to pay for her happiness by losing some of those people. And finally, being beaten and inprisoned by one of her kids. Creepy, sad, depressing, bothersome.
- "Playing With Fire" by Mark A. Garland: A man who's already feeling stressed out and unhappy with his family at home loses his job, which he knows is only going to up the stress by a billion. He ponders suicide, but he can't pull it off, so...there's maybe other alternatives. Until a woman comes along trying to make sure that the bad future she saw won't happen. Starts out disturbing and gets better.
- "Tomorrow Eyes" by Peter Crowther: A friend of Bones's wins a pair of "tomorrow eyes" in a card game. It was pretty deliberate that the guy he got them from wanted them gone...and they won't go away if you pitch them out, either. Fortunately, Bones can come up with a way to put them to good use. I liked the end of this one.
- "To Fit The Crime" by Ed Gorman: A futuristic version of the "appointment in Samarra," where a drunk driver gets allowed out of jail only because he's about to die soon. Sad (the guy has a whomping broken heart), then veering to weird. Not my favorite.
- "When The Child Screams And Looks Back At You" by Gary A. Braunbeck: One of the best stories in the book--a woman with an abusive husband finds out from a mysterious woman that her husband will murder her son--unless the mother gives him up. Eerie and done well.
- "Hexefus" by Nancy Springer: When a woman's husband ditches her, she goes to a hex witch for help...as does her husband. Again, goes into the creepy, weird, what's going on sort of territory.
- "The Cards Also Say" by Tanya Huff: Vicki Nelson, vampire PI, gets contacted by a Romani seer about a crazy guy who wants to target and kill both Vicki and herself. One of the best stories in the bunch, even though I'm biased because I like Vicki stories.
- "The Oracle Lips" by Storm Constantine: A boringly bland woman with the power of fortunetelling becomes fascinated by a beautiful woman, steals her lipstick-printed Kleenex, and eventually just takes over being her through that. Again, on the creepy/weird/unpleasant level for me.
- "May Eve" by Rosemary Edghill: I truly do not understand this story AT ALL. It switches back and forth between 1997 and 1916 for um...some reason...and mentions the old "apple peel foretells your love" thing...and makes no sense and is never explained why the narrator is even in this story or anything. It sucked.
- "The Soothsayer" by Lawrence C. Connolly: Involves a guy who reads entrails and the Russian mob. Quite gory and creepy. Of course, someone had to do an entrail story, I guess.
- "True Collectors" by Brian Stableford: Eerie but interesting story about a fence/store owner passing on a mysterious box to one of his clients, which freaks the client right out. Also involves a pregnant druggie and a guy who might just be the devil, and all four of them playing a card game for...what, exactly? I'm not sure I comprehended it all, but it was interesting.
- "Not Ours To See" by David Langford: An amusing story about a guy who comes up with a method of divination by gazing into a particular brand of cat food. I guessed the punchline, but it was a welcome change from the rest of this book. I'm going to quote from it below, just for kicks.
- "Those Who Know" by Leslie What: Odd story about an old Jewish couple with conflicting psychic dreams. The wife's dream makes her NOT want to do what they are studying that night, the guy's makes him want to. Weirdness ensues. I don't think I really got what was going on with this story.
- "Beyond the Flames" by Janni Lee Simner: A heartrending story about an orphan who has disturbing psychic dreams of people dying, and another psychic teenager that he meets and falls for. Has a bit too much "Can Not Spit It Out" going on for a short story, but otherwise it's good.
- "The Vision Of Men" by Michelle Sagara West: A fellow's been using crystals to foretell the future for years, and it's freaked him right out to see when people he loves are going to die and his relationships are going to break up. When he gets into another relationship, he has to fight the urge to try to peek ahead on this one too. The boyfriend in it is a bit too perfect, but otherwise it's a pretty good story.
And now, the quote from "Not Ours To See:" Smythe is talking about the various obscure methods of diviniation he's tried before the cat food...
"...Myomancy depends on the actions of mice; all my mice seemed to do was eat and pee a lot (but let's not talk about uromancy). Cromyomancy is prediction by cutting up and studying onions...I tried that diligently, but it all ended in ears. Once I even came to this very pub and attempted both oenomancy--using libations of wine--and gyromancy, being divination performed by walking in a circle until dizziness supervenes. And I want you to know that the conclusions you lot all loudly drew were both distracting and unfair."
I guess I'll give it three stars overall.