Thistle (thistle_chaser) wrote,

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Book #1 of 2015: Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology

Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler
Rating: Okay (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

Depending on what you're seeking from it, this could be a great book or a mostly okay book. If you're interested in the writing process, you'll get probably more than you could ever want from Shadows Beneath. If you're looking for a collection of short stories, there are four.

The book is set up like this:
- Author's final version of the story.
- Transcript of the brainstorming between the four authors on how to write the story, issues with it, everything from large worldbuilding things to tiny details.
- Author's first draft of the story.
- The story with 'editing marks' to show you the difference between the two. (The only editing marks are underscores, for text added to the first draft, and strikeouts, for text removed.)

While I love learning about the writing process, there was way, way too much "other stuff" in this book. For me, I would have liked to keep the first two pieces (final story and brainstorming transcript), and maybe a couple pages of the first draft and edited version. After I read the story once, I had very little desire to read basically the same story a second time, and no desire to read it a third.

All of the stories were really good.
“Sixth of the Dusk” (Brandon Sanderson) - Novella. I reviewed it as my last book of 2014.

“A Fire in the Heavens” (Mary Robinette Kowal) - Novella. A woman on a journey across the sea to find her ancestors encountered things she never expected.

“I.E.Demon” (Dan Wells) - Very, very short story. An amusing look at the US military using demons in warfare.

“An Honest Death” (Howard Taylor) - Very short story. Death himself comes a callin' on the CEO of a company that has invented a way for humans to be immortal.

As good as the stories were, I don't think the four of them were worth a $10 price, especially since I had (mistakenly) bought and paid for Sixth of the Dusk already.

I'd give this one a pass on buying, but if you could borrow a copy, that'd be worth it.
Tags: 2015 books, book review, book: shadows beneath
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