Other than the longest, first, and book titling short story being my least favorite, "Black Glass: Short Fictions" is varied and filled with surprises. I'm glad I got past "Black Glass" and kept reading. I would much preferred to have the volume titled after another story, "Lily Red." Karen Joy Fowler is able to capture our imaginations quickly, develop the story, give us enough twists and leave us satisfied but wanting more. Many of these stories have a science fiction flare. Lily Red was perhaps my favorite. I could see it developed into a haunting romantic film script. Lily is stopped by a police officer, directed to "Mattie's," a little bed and breakfast, where everyone asks her if she's come to see "the caves." The police officer turns out to be an American Indian named Henry who is quite older than his appearance of 33 years. The torrid love story of Henry and Lily in the cave comes as somewhat of a surprise, and then more twists of reality occur. I did not care for "Black Glass" because of the issue of drugs, but appreciate the way Fowler twists language and traditional story structure to reflect a hallucinogenic experience. It was quite individually done. "The View from Venus: A Case Study" was an excellent exploration of the conundrum of romance. My second favorite story was "The Brew" which connects the magical traditions of the past, witches and unicorns, to the real story of friendship in present day. Mr. McBean is such a drunken and delightfully crotchety character that he scares us and makes us curious at the same time. He begs to be put on the stage. I honestly don't know what to make of "Game Night at the Fox & Goose," but I liked it. The story seemed to leave off just as it was beginning, leaving my mind to suggest how it might have worked out. Fowler's language is hardly lyrical, but is rooted in the conversational patterns and idioms of the present. This volume offers plenty of material for oral literary performance; and the often used first person enhances the stories when read aloud. I might have wished for a bit more of a spiritual level, a couple stories of faith and joy, but as is, these stories are fresh, well written, and greatly entertaining.