Lake is in a devilish mood in his novella "Crossing the Seven," a metaphysical picaresque adventure that reads like a cross between Silverberg's Nightwings and Vance's Cugel cycle. ... The odyssey is intensely dangerous, its episodes first farcical and then tragic; there is a moral to be discerned, but what counts is the sardonic grotesquerie of such prodigal display.
The review goes on to speak in glowing terms about bram452's "The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics" — a truly excellent story, btw — and on to review the rest of the anthology.
As it happens, I received a note not too long ago suggesting I turn "Crossing the Seven" into a novel. While I was glad the reader had enjoyed the story so much, I was quite surprised. I turned it over in my head, and realized that for me, some stories are self-contained, and some are open-ended.
This isn't really a function of plot or anything obvious like that. It's more about my creative and emotional relationship with the story. For example, I really don't see why I'd ever write more about "The Angle of My Dreams." That story is completely self-contained for me. Likewise "Jack's House" and "The American Dead." Those stories are done.
On the other hand, "Into the Gardens of Sweet Night" [ Fictionwise ] could easily open up to more stories, as could "Our Lady of American Sorrows" and many other stories of mine.
I'm not sure what the difference is. Like I said before, it's not a function of plot or structure, or even character or world-building. It's just the way the story does or doesn't tingle in my head.
In other news, at lunch today martianmooncrab showed me the June issue of Romantic Times Book Review, which has a very positive four-star review of Mainspring [ Powell's | Amazon ]. I'll try to score a copy of the magazine later for my records.