Sunday, April 9, 2017

Deal Me In Challenge Catch-Up Post

I've gotten a bit behind with my reports on my participation in Jay's 7th annual Deal Me In Challenge for 2017. Here are the cards and stories that went by when we weren't looking...

Week #11: Nine of Hearts = "The Last Exploit of Harry the Actor" by Ernest Bramah (found in Murder by Experts by Ellery Queen, ed.). Bramah's story features his blind detective Max Carrados in a mystery featuring the robbery from several safe deposit boxes in a Lucas Street depository known colloquially as "The Safe." The contents of the boxes are held safe behind multiple barriers--both real locks and bars as well as secret passwords known only to the owners. And yet...a large number of the boxes are plundered. Carrodos, whose other faculties have become stronger to compensate for the loss of his sight, is able to "see" the solution to the mystery very quickly. Baynard Kendrick, a mystery writer in the 40s and 50s, has declared this to be "the best detective story I ever read."

Week # 12: Nine of Diamonds = "Evermore" by Sean Williams (found in The Year's Best Science Fiction 17th Annual Collection by Gardner Dozois, ed). "We must all hang together," Benjamin Franklin is reported to have said to his revolutionary peers, "or we will assuredly all hang separately." An appropriate sentiment for a crew of a crippled ship which has long since lost contact with Earth. An earth that has apparently abandoned them--at least they have responded to any of the distress signals sent over the thousands of years that have passed. It doesn't help that you and your shipmates really aren't talking to each other...and none of you exist in physical form. When one of the crew finds an unorthodox solution to the problem...will the rest be brave enough to do it?

Week #13: Six of Diamonds = "Exchange Rate" by Hal Clement (found in The Year's Best Science Fiction 17th Annual Collection by Gardner Dozois, ed). Clement is a legend in the science fiction field. This story finds human explorers under pressure in more ways than one who must figure out and interpret the motivations of an alien species on an incredibly strange planet before their time runs out. [I just have to say that I did not get this one at all. It may be because Clement's hard science was over my head and there was so much of it that it was a bit mind-numbing.]

  And most recently for Week #14: Two of Spades =  "Dapple: A Hwarhath Historical Romance" by Eleanor Arnason (found in The Year's Best Science Fiction 17th Annual Collection by Gardner Dozois, ed). In which we find that females across the universe face similar restrictions--even when they are supposedly the wise ones and in charge. A young girl decides she wants to balk tradition and go into a profession traditionally held by males--but she will have make a perilous journey before she can claim her right to be what she wants to be.

Up next for Week #15: Eight of Clubs = "The Mystery of the Steel Room" by Thomas W. Hanshew from The World's Best One Hundred Detective Stories Vol. 7 by Eugene Thwing.

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