Wednesday, February 11, 2015

'The Very Best of Kate Elliott', or, A Perambulation Through My Spotty Past


        I'm pretty sure this title is a lie.
Mind you, I don't think Tachyon is trying to be deceptive, but, to me, the true 'very best of Kate Elliott' are the poignant and powerful moments of aching perfection that you've been waiting and agonizing over for 400 pages while characters try to bridge the lonely distances between each other or find redemption for the shortcomings of their own imperfect souls (and yes, that was all one sentence, thank you). It's not that Kate Elliott isn't an amazing short fiction writer, it's that her novels are just So. Damn. Good.
         This collection of her brilliant short works is out this week, so just go buy it, and thank me later. Because you will thank me. You'll thank me for every perfectly written sentence that breaks your heart, or fills the hole you didn't realize was there, and you'll thank me for every moment these perfect jewels of a story make you go 'no THAT one is my favorite' until you read the next one.

So now I'm going to circle back to my spotty past and how much I love Kate Elliott.
Many years ago, I picked up this book called 'The Labyrinth Gate' by Alis Rasmussen, which was this great portal fantasy (at a time when portal fantasy was all the rage). Alis went on and wrote a scifi trilogy with Bantam style covers that I didn't love) which had great characters, but I didn't finish the trilogy because I lost my copy of book two, and never found book three (this was back before Amazon).
And then she disappeared.
I hate when authors I like disappear (this was common in the bad old days pre-wifi).
A couple of years later, I read this book, 'Jaran' by Kate Elliott, which I really really liked. It's a first novel, and I am a total sucker for a great first novel. And this was a GREAT first novel. And then, as you did back in the 90s, I never saw any of the other books in the series come out (small town, no great bookstores. Life was barely worth living). After I moved to Phoenix, and got a job in a bookstore, we had a booksigning with Melanie Rawn for her 'Ruins of Ambrai', and she mentioned she had a book coming out with Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliott.  And I was all 'hey, I loved her Jaran book!' and Melanie was all 'she wrote 3 more of them.  Plus she wrote some books under Alis Rasmussen.'
So let me explain, that the only thing I love more than a great first novel, is discovering an author I thought had quit writing had, in fact, written more books.
So TL:DR, go read Kate Elliott, because I've fallen in love with her writing TWICE, and Tachyon says this is her Very Best.*

(*It's not their fault that they're wrong.)

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