One Little Room an Everywhere
by K.J. Parker
Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 23 November 2012
The Eclipse original anthology series from Night Shade Books is now available free online.
Editor Jonathan Strahan says of the new series: "We've taken the dream of Eclipse — that idea of the rare and unusual, the strange and eldritch — and we've stripped it down and rebuilt it for a new decade. Now we're taking it out for a spin. There may be things added to it in the coming months, and things removed, but at its core there will be at least two new stories every month, the best I can find by the most exciting writers in the field."
Eclipse Online is a free, online publication. No subscription or sign-up is required. There will be a story released by editor Jonathan Strahan every first and fourth Monday of the month. Check them out. Each new story will be reviewed separately. This second one, "One Little Room an Everywhere" by K.J. Parker, was posted on October 22, 2012. It would have been reviewed sooner, but for the storm.
In this story, our narrator is a young man named Epistemius, who has left the Studium (a college for adepts at magic), not being adept at much. He can do a few things and one of them is to use a "proscribed Form" (an illegal spell) called Talis artifex to create beautiful religious icons that people will pay him incredibly large sums of money for. As you might expect, there is a down side, but I won't go into details.
This is a supremely entertaining story and you'll find yourself liking Epistemius, whatever he is doing. It has this wonderfully dry wit and is very different from "The Contrary Gardener" from earlier in the month. That bodes well for the series being varied.
Eclipse Online keeps up the good work. Look for this and more stories at http://www.nightshadebooks.com/category/eclipse/.