Short Fiction Friday: Late Nights at the Cape and Cane

Late Nights at the Cape and Cane by Max Gladstone, Uncanny #1

So yes another Max Gladstone short story, that is two in a row already. Last week I reviewed A Kiss With Teeth from Max Gladstone which was pretty cool. Last Tuesday night I found out that a new magazine was release, Uncanny, that feature a story of Max Gladstone as well. And being a big fan there was only one possibility left. Review the story.

There isn't a given synopsis of the story but if I would have to describe it Max Gladstone takes you to an alternate urban fantasy realm where you can't always win... 

Late Night at the Cape and Cane is a short story that has approx 3k words and having read several of his stories this is once again a story in a different direction but perhaps the closest linked to his Craft Sequence. As I already said the setting of the story is really in the lines of Urban Fantasy and Max Gladstone isn't afraid to show some of the magic associated with this theme. In the story of Late Night at the Cape and Cane, you follow the story of Doc Sinister and his adventures in the cafe/bar named the Cape and Cane, well just to say the back drop of this story combined with the early mention of magic and Super-League did already inspire a lot of promise for the remainder of the story. Also an early reference marks Doc Sinister as a sloppy drunk, scared and monologuing, now soon the narrator tells that the former and latter are normal for Doc but the middle one, being scared is something of concern. Already my mind was on overdrive thinking about the direction of the story. Soon after this Max Gladstone delves deeper in the why Doc is scared and by this introduces several other characters like Stella the narrator (perspective that you follow) and Skeleton Gwynne I presume that she is a female walking skeleton? All of these characters have something weird of their own and this really make them stand out of the story.

Now there isn't a full focus on urban fantasy epic magic sorcery battles but it does feel like a very pressured atmosphere. WIth the mentioning of all the magical powers that some of these character posses it is a bit like that after every sentence a "bomb" might go of escalating the events. In end it there is nice confrontation that really has a tense atmosphere but luckily it went down quiet. I really liked one of the ending sentences of the story "I didn’t smile back. I went inside to see how Doctor J’s hat would fare. Us losers have to stick together, after all". This given over the whole story and the whole atmosphere gives a very nice description. 

One thing that readily stands out and which is in direct relation to the characters is the world that Max Gladstone has managed to build. It is very science fictiony with lines in the Urban Fantasy direction but whereas some others need several pages to build a world, the one that is shown in Late Night at the Cape and Cane is build within just a few sentences and the whole remainder of the story is just so pretty darn awesome to read about. Max Gladstone introduces some very cool concepts that readily ask to be built in more episodes or a full story. I really must urge you to read this story!

You can find the full story following this link


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