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Desiree finds a harpy living in a dumpster behind her house. It is an ugly old thing, with yellow and black crooked teeth, dingy bronze colored feathers, and hooked talons.

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She visits the harpy every day on her way to school, and though it is an ugly creature, repulsive, and unorthodox, Desiree is mysteriously drawn to it, perhaps because she herself feels like an ugly outsider, but also because the harpy makes her feel special. In these meetings, Desiree reveals some of the darkness that surrounds her heart, and we readers get to watch her heart break in the worst way. I wanted to reach through the screen of my kindle to hug this girl, tell her that she's not ugly, and that the world has to have some kind of window out for her. It's also heartbreaking to see her vulnerable heart manipulated by this demon, though perhaps, the harpy is only trying to set her free.

I say, 'You only want me because my blood is rotten. You only want me because I got thrown away. I turn rot into strength. If you came with me, you would have to be like me. Our unconscious can play some nasty tricks on us sometimes.

Blood On the Risers(Gory Gory What a Helluva Way to Die)

When Desiree is just longing for a way out, she is battling her inner demons, one of them being the harpy which turns garbage into bronze. A semi-precious metal, but one that is not nearly as valuable as gold. One that is somewhat dirty looking. Desiree's conflict is between this desire to be something and someone else, to go with the harpy, and be free, and also from this innate will to survive that every living creature has. Because she knows that to go with the harpy is to not survive. Desiree's narrative voice is my favorite part of this story.

She speaks to the reader in a very sad, but strangely poetic tone that really crawled into my mind. I know exactly how she feels about herself, her life, the harpy, and I can identify with her. As more of her backstory is revealed, the more this strange tone begins to make sense. And strewn throughout are some examples of absolutely gorgeous writing. The thing I really loved about both of this author's stories I've read is the way she tells them.

Both are very realistic with only trace elements of the supernatural.


  1. All Different Kinds Of Free;
  2. Publication: The Stories: Five Years of Original Fiction on wesatimunogo.cf?
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  5. The Hunter Diaries (The Hunter Diaries: Minibook Book 1).
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But, the supernatural elements, are VERY supernatural. It is a beautiful blend of real and nonreal, conventional, and twisted. Both stories also serve as allegories or symbols of a real, deep, underlying issue. And both endings left off at just the right point, forcing me to use my imagination to finish the story. I just want more. I want to fight for Desiree, for her humdrum life. I want more to her story, and I just want to see her again. A life written into existence in a mere 7 pages, and I'm already mourning for her. That is good writing.

And again, some beautiful artwork to accompany it: Do yourselves a favor and read this short story here for free: View all 9 comments. Jul 11, Ivan rated it really liked it Shelves: This was so emotional.

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Since it's short story it's packed so tightly with dark emotions and bleak pathos that it's bit hard to read but we'll worth the effort. Nov 20, Jonnie rated it it was amazing Recommended to Jonnie by: I just lost my Tor virginity in the best way possible. No candles or rose petals required. I have straight black hair and crooked teeth and no real chin, which is okay because I've already decided nobody's ever going to kiss me.

Imperfect characters - I dig 'em. So it's no surprise that I love Desiree, a year-old girl with a plethora of health issues and a curious mind. For 15 minutes every day before school, she sneaks past Mama Alice's window and talks to the harpy that lives in the alley be I just lost my Tor virginity in the best way possible. For 15 minutes every day before school, she sneaks past Mama Alice's window and talks to the harpy that lives in the alley behind her building. This story is laced with just enough magical realism to engage you without putting you off. Elizabeth Bear has written beautifully in the sense that it evokes sadness without pity, which to me is a more devastating emotion to experience than the two combined.

It tells a story through a very unique perspective and I have to respect Bear for that!! Our MC is a young unattractive girl with an expiration date Through the MC and her relationship with the harpy we get a glimpse of what beauty really boils down to and the difference between what exists and what we understand.

The Horrid Glory of Its Wings

A very interesting short story that satisfied me entirely in it's current form BUT would also make a stunning novel! Feb 24, Sara rated it really liked it Shelves: This was so good. A harpy lives in the dumpster behind Desiree's house, eating the rubbish left behind by others. What forms is a tentative friendship between girl and beast, and Desiree's desire to be free and be wanted.

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There's something very open and emotional about this short story. There's nothing fancy about it, it's not dressed up in pretty words and metaphors, it's just honest and raw. Desiree is very straight and direct when telling her story and talking to Another tor.

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Desiree is very straight and direct when telling her story and talking to the harpy, and that's refreshing to see. I instantly warmed to her and loved the little snippets of conversation between the two. I would have loved this to be longer, but another advantage of a short story like this is that everything is told in such a compact easy that there's no room for meandering plots and unnecessary characters.

Everything has a purpose, every word must get straight to the point. Dec 21, Lata rated it really liked it Shelves: This narrative follows teenager Desiree, who is HIV positive and also has lipodystrophy. She is fostered by Mama Alice, and is responsible and hardworking. And Desiree feels so alone.

The Horrid Glory of Its Wings by Elizabeth Bear

She also interacts with a harpy who eats garbage from the dumpster behind the building she lives in. This story has some pretty ugly imagery the harpy eating! The author really helps you feel Desiree's loneliness. This short, left me thinking about choi 18 short story read this month. Feb 09, Alina rated it really liked it Shelves: Oct 09, GoldGato rated it it was ok Shelves: This was a serious Tor short. The usual fantastical setting is there, but oh so serious. I was lulled in by the presence of a Harpy, the kind who used to roam around ancient Greece in the mythological days of Zeus and his brethren.

A Harpy living in a modern urban city! I really liked that, and I don't care if one can say it's a real Harpy or the fevered imagination of the main character. Ferocious beast with wings and claws, works for me. What didn't work for me was the downer of a story, cente This was a serious Tor short. What didn't work for me was the downer of a story, centering on the woe-is-me thoughts of the protagonist. It just didn't work for me. I get it, life is very difficult if you are born with an awful disease, but I lost interest and worse, anticipated the ending.

When I, not especially swift in thought, can guess the finish of a story Hopefully, others will enjoy. Nov 20, Tamara rated it really liked it Shelves: Jul 13, Licha rated it liked it Shelves: This was a powerful little story. There was something beautiful about its sadness. I was so not prepared for that ending. Dec 04, Denisse rated it really liked it. There are some very interesting ideas in must of them.

The Horrid Glory of Its Wings is that kind of short story you wish were a complete novel. Storytelling in its best form can make you feel with just a few pages, no characther development needed. For anyone who wants a sad story. If you want to close the year with some light but powerfull reads, just visit Tor. Oct 03, April Cote rated it it was amazing Shelves: You know an author is a fantastic story teller when they can make you feel so many emotions, make you use your imagination and leave you pondering for hours in such a few pages.

This short story was beautifully sad. The story is only. So you have no excuse not to read it. Oct 02, Becky rated it it was amazing Shelves: I thought what the hell? You should read this short story. I mean, it should be studied in classes. I honestly wish it was a novel. I'm really quite floored by how much these twelve pages made me feel. A hard read, and you will feel like the harpy's talons are squeezing your heart. Jan 23, Wayne Barrett rated it really liked it Shelves: Such a poignant tale. Very touching in a horrific, behind a stinky dumpster kind of way.

Oct 02, Erin rated it really liked it Recommended to Erin by: A short story where the reader is silently yelling at the main character is a success. Apr 21, Badseedgirl rated it liked it Shelves: This is a Very. With an ambiguous ending. Aug 19, Ashley rated it really liked it. I wonder exactly how she was transformed at the end Feb 08, Nadine Jones rated it liked it Shelves: The gloves came from the fire department, too. This is kind of a weird one. It's powerful, and there is the slightest hint of hope, but overall it felt very grim to me.

I like that we don't know if there is really a harpy living in the alley, or if it's all Desiree's imagination. The ending was very deflating and disappointing for me. But the author came back and commented that this interpretation is "very interesting" hide spoiler ] and the author added in another comment: I have always felt like you can choose the harpy's life or the mundane life, but you have to pick one--and they are both valid and valuable choices.

It's the Peter Pan thing: The collection ''Steampunk Quartet'' by Eileen Gunn appears in its entirety beginning on page and ending on page As with the original ebook, Gunn is credited correctly on the cover but the byline for each story is "Elieen Gunn". On page begins an excerpt of ''Birthmarked'' by Caragh M. O'Brien; the excerpt is not identified as such, and simply begins "Chapter 1". The collection ''Two Stories'' by Ken Scholes and Jay Lake appears in its entirely beginning on page and ending on page On page begins an excerpt of ''Lockdown'' by Alexander Gordon Smith; the excerpt is not identified as such, and simply begins with the chapter title "Buried Alive".


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  • Hartwell, appears in its entirely beginning on page and concluding the anthology. The same story and its illustration are published twice in this publication.