[cross-posting to sfandf_writers, fantasywriters, sfba_sf_fans, sfwriters, shortform, speculativefics, starmerrow]
[This Review is by request of F&SF Magazine and is cross posted to the F&SF message board http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/
In The Lineaments of Gratified Desire by Ysabeau S. Wilce, I am spun like strands of cotton candy into a madly exotic world of overdone, overblown excess. Dense. Thick. Saturated. Pummeled. There's no gentleness here and comprehension is something to be grabbed at with both hands as I follow the unwilling hero, Hardhands, as he chases after his four year old trick-or-treating wife, through the unsavory and magical streets of the city of Califa. Trickery is afoot, and that's the least of his problems. With a wife named Tiny Doom and her pink piglet underarm, Hardhand trails the girl through a whiff of pink magic all the way to Madame Rose's Flower Garden where he discovers that his wife, and piglet, are caged and being auctioned off to monsters or demons (this is never entirely clear.) Here he discovers the meaning of bait and the hard lesson of being eaten by a Goddess only to be rescued by a piglet while being forced to realize that the world isn't entirely as he thought it was. Overall, an intriguing short story but not one for easy reading. It is challenging to follow the characters, story and worldbuilding with every tiny detail so enormously overdone.