The first book of Patricia Anthony’s I came across was Eating Memories — a collection of her short speculative fiction. I found it when I was just getting serious about this “writing thing,” as my dad called it, and was reading short stories by the ton.
From the first story to the last, I was captivated. So captivated that “Dear Froggy” inspired one of my earliest stories. I thought “I’ve got more to add to this conversation,” so arrogantly did. (Now that I think on it, Anthony is responsible for inspiring two stories from me.)
From there, I sought out her novels. They’re each deliciously different — and I say that even as I haven’t even read them all. I was pacing myself, because they’re such treats.
And then in 2013, Patricia Anthony died.
Her stack of books on my shelf will not grow — though in the writing of this piece, I was delighted to see that Wildside Press is publishing her last book next year, eeeep! I’d heard talk about a found manuscript, so perhaps this is it.
Still, pace is important, when one’s supply is finite. (I’ve done the same thing with other authors who are less prolific, like Laura Kinsale, whom we should also probably discuss sometime.)
Anthony’s Brother Termite has been optioned for a movie — but nothing’s ever come of it. An alien in the White House. A literal alien, I mean, as the president’s chief of staff. It is glorious. It talks about men and women and the roles each play, and mashes Washington politics with alien politics, love what you kill!, and I want to read it all over again.
Cold Allies ponders climate change — that’s right, you heard me, climate change is a thing. In this novel, nations fight for land where food may yet be grown, only to have aliens show up and complicate an already complicated situation.
And the heartbreaking Flanders. My heart clenches up even as I start to type about it. It’s a story of war, and of the places between war — the places between life and death; what we find there, what we don’t.
Happy Policeman calls to mind Ray Bradbury (and would make a super film, too!) — whereas Anthony’s work on a whole also makes me think of the work of Connie Willis. There is something inherently charming, even as Anthony is taking you down dark and darker paths.
I was so saddened by her death, yet heartened by the idea, as I always am with writers, that the work remains, and is there for people yet to discover. Go discover it. Go on.