Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Short Stories

Like James Reasoner, I seem to be in the mood for reading short stories. The three I read yesterday are all in Asimov's Science Fiction for June 2003.

The lead story in the issue is John Varley's "The Bellman." I used to like Varley's stories a lot, and I really enjoyed his 2003 "comeback" novel, Red Thunder, which for me captured some of the feeling of Robert Heinlein's YA novels from another era. But I didn't much like "The Bellman." It went along fine until the end, when I suddenly felt as if I'd somehow skipped six pages or so. Maybe I'm supposed to be smart enough to fill in the blanks, and I guess I am, but I prefer to have things made a little more clear. Maybe I'll have another look to see what I missed. Or not.

Cory Doctorow has made a lot of noise in the SF field lately, but I'd never read anything by him. So I was glad to see that he had a story in the issue. It's "Nimby and the Dimension Hoppers," and while it has plenty of weird things in it (living houses, bicycle fields), at heart it's an old-fashioned story of the kind I like. I enjoyed it.

I also enjoyed Lawrence Person's "Morlock Chili." I've been acquainted with Lawrence for years, thanks to attending Armadillocon and Aggiecon, but I don't think I'd ever read his fiction before. This story could definitely have appeared in an issue of, say, Amazing Stories around 1958, and nobody would have been overly surprised. I mean that as a compliment. It's funny and well-written and very Texas, and I'll be looking for Person's name from now on.

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