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The Goosle by Margo Lanagan
Bella
ellen_datlow
I'm posting this now so you can have a head start. I won't be reading it till I get home tonight (agita is not a good thing while traveling)...comments welcome in the meantime,and I'll catch up tonight or tomorrow morning:

Off on a Tangent

I'm adding an excellent analysis of the actual story vs the review here at
Torque Control

and comments by SF Diplomat, Ben Payne, and Chasing Ray

And Margo Lanagan, who has been offline while traveling (why did I think that might be the case) has this to say --at least until she returns:

[L]et me just say that anyone who thinks ‘The Goosle’ is child pornography has their child-porn radar set way too high; that anyone who thinks Hanny for a moment enjoys being buggered simply hasn’t read the story properly; and anyone who thinks the story was written for shock value or because my ‘idea well ran dry’ has very little sense of how stories happen, or how many ideas are constantly beating at the doors of any writer’s brain. Dave’s review says a whole lot more about Dave than it says about ‘The Goosle’ or about my motivations.
Margo strikes back!

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For me, as an avid reader of short fiction, Margo Lanagan's work has been a real bright spot. "The Goosle" is no exception. I have to agree with Nick that this was also my favorite story in the anthology. Not just the imagery, which would be expected, but the word choice, the sentence structure and the dialogue are all integral to creating this visionary nightmare world. Talk about great worldbuilding, it doesn't get any better than this. The story is so idiosyncratically unique, and I found the tale terrifying as any great horror story, each turn of the plot and image riveting. The fact that Dave would want to cast this as smut is dull witted and gravely insulting to a reader's intelligence. The dark qualities, the sense of unease, the sexuality of the piece, the intense descritpions brought this across to me with the power of a true dream -- the kind with bizzare happenings but totally believable, where you wake with a yelp, gtasping. None of the events described in this story are played as pornography -- I hate to let on, but child abuse of this type happens everyday. The fact that Lanagan has the courage to present these situations as being as damaging, confusing, and frightening to a child as she does, lends the story its honesty and its power. Leave it to Dave to direct your attention to the best work in an anthology or magazine. Whatever he dumps on unfairly and most vigorously is more than likely a masterpiece. You can look for "The Goosle" to be on at least a couple of awards short lists next year. His overall critique of the anthology, the fact that he's seen it all before. Merely ticking off stories and saying, well, I've seen that before, is so reductively lame as a critical approach its laughable. I can't wait for Lanagan's new book.
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That's right, Ballingrud's story got the seal of approval too. Damn, he's good.
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