Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Apex Magazine - January 2011/Issue 20 - The Tolling of Pavlov's Bells by Seanan McGuire

I did not know Seanan McGuire also writes as Mira Grant (published by Orbit here in the UK and elsewhere).  This short story in the Apex Magazine that I bought for my Kindle a while ago, has now made me a huge fan of her writing and I will hungrily find her writings in both of her incarnations.

In The Tolling of Pavlov's Bells we are introduced to Dr. Diana Weston, author of medical thrillers and slayer of humanity.  The short story opens with great impact, where Dr. Weston tells us of her trial being conducted in her absence, where she is convicted of fraud, treason, bio terrorism and sixteen million counts of murder.  The trial is broadcast the world over, on TV and radio but instead of cheering and joy in the streets, it is all oh so quiet.

Told retrospectively and in current time, we find out more about Dr. Diana Weston, her research, her decisions to give the world a wake-up call.  Only the wake-up call is not heeded by anyone, so she takes matters into her own hands. The story is pacey and gripping and scary and thoughtful and it's made me hungry to read more of Ms. McGuire's work.

Written in a harrowingly personal voice we are left in no doubt that Dr. Weston is utterly insane and yet like Hannibal Lector, she is hugely charismatic, believable and oh so logical.  The short story gave me the heebie jeebies, especially in the face of the movie Contagion that's doing the rounds at present, as well as Michael Crichton's new novel: Micro.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Tolling of Pavlov's Bells, even if I am now keen to wear a face mask and surgical gloves.

Find Seanan McGuire's website here.

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