Elephants and Corpses was my very first introduction to Kameron Hurley’s writing several years back when Tor had it on their site. It was a first class story that made a lasting impression, yet its only in the last year that I have started buying and reading more of Hurley’s work. I sit back now and want to kick myself. So of course when I saw this on NetGalley I hit request as fast as I could and then put everything else on the backburner as soon as I was approved, even though I had a couple of months before it’s release day.
Well it was worth bumping it to the top of my tbr because I enjoyed the hell out of every single story in this collection. As someone who finds short stories very hit and miss, I was surprised. Every single story stood on it’s own. If I was to rate them individually the lowest was a 4 star. I can’t stress enough that this is an amazing feat. Every single story is absolute quality.
Lucky for me I got to revisit Elephant and Corpses in this collection and I loved it just as much the second time. And we get a second story with Nev, which was fantastic. Nev’s world and history is so rich and well put together. A person who can jump from corpse to corpse and use the bodies as their own. Nev doesn’t easily divulge much information, but from the fascinating tidbits dropped along the way, especially in the second story, I’m really hoping Hurley will decide to give us a longer story in Nev’s world. Whether it be about Nev or another body merc, maybe even during the war, I wouldn’t mind.
‘Bodies are only beautiful when they aren’t yours. It’s why Nev had fallen in love with bodies in the first place. When you spent time with the dead you could be anyone you wanted to be. They didn’t know any better. They didn’t want to have long conversations about it.’
Hurley has the ability to catch you within the first paragraph. Her writing is full of humour, sarcasm and heart. She uses her writing to ask what happens next, what will the future look like. Most of her stories have a sense of darkness. They are set in worlds ravaged by war, she shows the consequences of war and how really when one war finishes a new one is started. In Red Secretary we are in a world where the government sends those who fight in their war to death once it’s over and they go willingly.
“When they said the war was over, I was glad,” Arkadi said. “I thought it would get easier after that. But it’s harder now. It’s harder to fight your own people. Harder to see what’s right.”
Each of the stories have what I see as a powerful message. I wanted to pull quotes from every one. We have strong feminist stories, women dominated worlds. Stories that highlight how lack of education can be used by the people in power to control the masses. Another that shows how technology might be used in the future. Inclusive stories, you will find yourself inside this book.
Each story flows, has incredible characters and kind of fills me with a sense of dread. Some of these stories really hit a bit close to home. They reflect very heavily on the way some of the Governments around the world are behaving now and have in the past. Each story may be set in a different future, but they are all incredibly relevant to where we are now.
“Do you know the power of story?” Moravas said. “It takes only a single generation to change the entire story of a people. Ten years. You take the children off to state schools. You tell them a story. You make it illegal to tell any other. People forget. The world moves on…”
I recieved a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. Quotes are taken from an arc therefore may be different in the final copy.