Another short story collection. Two of the stories in here are repeats from collections I’ve previously read: “Dragon Reserve, Home Eight” (in Warlock at the Wheel) and “The Sage of Theare” (in both that and Mixed Magics). The other five are new, in the sense that I haven’t read them before; I didn’t think to approach these things in publication order.
“The Master” didn’t do a lot for me; it felt a little too weird and disjointed, not drawing together until the end, and even then not enough. That scene gave the story a point, but didn’t do anything to put previous events in context.
“Enna Hittims” got me off on the wrong foot with the way Anne’s parents took care of her — or rather, failed to — when she was seriously ill with the mumps. This might be the neglected-child version of what I’ve started thinking of as the Goon Problem: I don’t mind the titular character in Archer’s Goon being horrible at people, because the novel both fleshes out that situation and waters it down with other narrative material, but I dislike that motif when it shows up in condensed form in DWJ’s short fiction. Anne being left to more or less starve, and then being laughed at by her father for the disfigurement brought on by the mumps, really rubbed me the wrong way, even though some of the kids in the novels suffer far worse. The end was touching, though.
“The Girl Who Loved the Sun” was pretty good, in a tragic and deeply disturbed way.
“What the Cat Told Me” is fun but not memorable; the plot is fairly mundane, lifted up a touch by the narrative voice of the cat.
“Nad and Dan Adn Quaffy” I remember reading before, and it still doesn’t do a lot for me. As with my complaint about the stories in Stopping for a Spell and Warlock at the Wheel, the magic is too random and unexplained, and the running motif with the typos doesn’t amuse me enough. I do like the line about pretending to be the captain of a starship, though.