Cover image for Breathmoss and other exhalations
Breathmoss and other exhalations
MacLeod, Ian R., 1956-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Urbana, IL : Golden Gryphon Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
x, 309 pages ; 22 cm
Big lies -- Breathmoss -- Verglas -- The chop girl -- The noonday pool -- New light on the Drake equation -- Isabel of the fall -- The summer isles.
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This collection of literary short fiction combines fantasy, science fiction, and horror in vivid settings, peopled with ordinary humans with normal relationships, and the interaction of the mundane with the fantastic. In "Breathmoss," a young girl must cope with the relationship with her family, love, and a community set in rigid custom, where males are a rarity. In "Verglas," a man must decide to leave his humanity by going native on an ice world or abandon his family. The events leading to the formation of the current government, the repression of Jews and homosexuals, and the horrors of being a closet homosexual in such a regime are examined in "The Summer Isles." Other stories encompass a scientist who searches for extraterrestrial intelligence; a rigid, aged man finding magic by a pool; and an 18-year-old girl who gains the reputation of being a death flower during WWII.

Author Notes

Ian R. MacLeod was born on 6 August 1956 in Solihull, in the West Midlands of the United Kingdom, and has spent most of his life there. He took a Law degree, mainly because he liked all the leather-bound books of law reports, drifted into a job in the English Civil Service, and worked there until his thirties, whilst always planning and hoping to be a writer. MacLeod's work has been nominated for the Nebula and Hugo awards, and has won the World Fantasy Award, Locus Award, Sidewise Award, and Asimov's Reader's Poll, and been widely anthologized and translated

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

The seven long short stories (originally published from 1996 to 2001 mostly in magazines like Asimov's Science Fiction) that make up this literate collection from British author MacLeod (The Light Ages) range from the pleasantly fantastic ("The Noonday Pool") to all-out, straight-up SF weird ("Verglas"). In the title tale, a girl named Jalila comes of age on Habara, a planet peopled almost entirely by women. Jalila befriends a boy and an old woman who navigates starships, both oddities on her world, and inevitably, the two clash, with disastrous results. The protagonist of "The Chop Girl," set during WWII, is so called because pilots who dance with her end up dead, killed in battle. Walt Williams, a golden pilot, the epitome of good luck, seeks her out, for reasons both simple and complex, and the chop girl finds out whether she's really somehow causing the deaths or she simply draws soldiers to her when they lose hope. Typically in each tale, a distinctive protagonist faces some task or challenge, goes through loss or some kind of trauma and grows from the experience. MacLeod sensitively explores the human condition. Agent, Susan Ann Protter. (June) FYI: The book's final entry, "The Summer Isles," won a World Fantasy Award and was nominated for a Hugo. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Big Liesp. ix
Breathmossp. 3
Verglasp. 68
The Chop Girlp. 104
The Noonday Poolp. 126
New Light on the Drake Equationp. 157
Isabel of the Fallp. 212
The Summer Islesp. 235