Book Review: The Taste of Different Dimensions by Allen Dean Foster (three stars)
“This contravenes every known law of nature!” “Did I not say it represents a new way of looking at the world?”
Anthology of short fantasy fiction. Most are expanded one-liners: starting with a slight deviance from normal and ending with an ironic, even horrible twist. Foster writes better than most of his contemporaries.
“You could say that Morty’s very good at foreign languages.” “For instance?” “He can speak chocolate.”
The farther you read, the more terrible the twists. I am not a fan of horror. I skimmed the last two stories. Creeped me out.
“Alas, there seems to be a problem.” A catch. There was always a catch. “What problem?” “You are not a cat.”
Book Review: The Four Million by O. Henry
“’Tis a weary thing to count your pleasures by summers instead of hours.”
First published in 1906, this collection still resonates with wit and insight. Each story ends with a twist, usually but not always pleasant. Even knowing its coming, the reader is rewarded with a surprise.
“The almanac lied and said spring had come. Spring comes when it comes.”
O. Henry loved New York City every bit as much as Walt Whitman, if not so poetically, though the NYC they heralded may be as distant as the hanging gardens of Babylon.
“Gabriel had played his trump; and those of us who couldn’t follow suit ….”
O. Henry loved words: big words, French words, slang words, puns. His stories are a verbal fuselage. Modern electronic readers will find themselves seeking help deciphering his prose.
“In Soapy’s opinion the law was more benign than Philanthropy.”
Over a hundred year old, this story reflects some attitudes now discarded. O. Henry seemed to love his neighbor, even if he expresses himself in a manner which might set modern teeth on edge. (You’ve been warned.)
“We can’t buy one minute with cash; if we could, rich people would live longer.”
Book Review: Tales of Old Earth: Stories by Michael Swanwick
“You won’t find the natural state here. We’re living in the aftermath.”
A really good collection of short stories. Many good stories about beginnings and endings, especially endings which may be beginnings. Lots of cliffhangers. Some post-apocalyptic, some deeply introspective. Some funny, some tragic, most thought provoking. All well fashioned.
“Self is an illusion … a fairy tale that your assemblers, sorters and functional transients tell each other.”
Swanwick has a gift with word images. Out of a few words, he fashions a complete context.
“…as cozy and snug as the inside of a walnut.”
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