by Karen Joy Fowler
When I read Fowler’s two novels, Sarah Canary and The Sweetheart Season, I did not know she was well-known as a science fiction story writer. Black Glass is a collection of the kind of stories that built her genre reputation.
In the title story, Fowler manages to skewer the DEA and use voodoo to bring back Carry Nation. “The Faithful Companion at Forty” reveals Tonto’s dark humor and a different side of the Lone Ranger. “The Brew” puts an unexpected spin on drinking as “the only way to live through living forever.” The closing story, “Game Night at the Fox and Goose” gives the kind of shock at the end that Fowler specializes in — that is to say, a suprise, but not a cheap trick. The extra punch at the closing shows up in stories as different as “Shimabara” with its 17th century Japan setting, and “Go Back” with its Uncle Wiggily board game.
Fowler is preoccupied with relationships, with they many ways men and women come together or fail to do so, with questions of obligation and love. This is probably why people who don’t usually like genre fiction will enjoy her work. And folks who do like genre stories will be happy to find in Fowler someone with an imagination who can also write. Recommended.