A. C. Fellows
on Aug. 26, 2013 :
While most of the stories in this volume could be improved by the addition of a dancing dinosaur and some upbeat songs, few, if any, seem to have been written by authors who hate the English language and want it to suffer.
You should buy it.
The overall impact of the book was to reinforce my conviction that science fiction is essentially a dead genre. Most of the thirty stories in this book were fantasy, and fully half the science fiction stories reworked the tired old "meddling with things man was not meant to know screws the world up" trope.
There were a few good sci-fi-ish ones:
"Those Days", a chilling story about original sin, was reminiscent of early Philip K Dick.
"Someone's Daughter" made me want to know the narrator better and had an excellent premise that would have made a good novel. It ended too early to avoid explaining too much and was occasionally rather difficult to follow, but who am I to complain about those sorts of things?
The fantasy stories drew very heavily on traditional fairy tales, and there was a long string of rather oversexed ones in a row that had me worried for a while.
My favourites were, in order of appearance:
"Imported Goods - Aisle Nine", which has the best opening line of any of them. I read this before publication because its author is me old pal Dave.
"Almost Beautiful", renaissance fantasy grounded in the real world about the difficulties of being neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring.
"The Room", a haunting tale in every sense of the word.
"When Money Talks", a nice tale about technology stealing jobs from fleshers.
"Phoenix Down", a slice in the life of the 'anchor' of a mystical superbeing, could have gone on for longer.
"Girl Finds Key" had a neat premise, but the characterisation seemed to go off the rails at the end.
I look forward to more anthologies produced under the auspices of a benevolent Sky-Whale. Great is Diana of the Cetaceans!
(reviewed 76 days after purchase)