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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Librivox Short Science Fiction Collection 018 - review

This collection consists of ten stories.

Belly Laugh by Randall Garret
This story routes us through an alternate reality in which the Cold War between the USSR and the USA exploded into a hot fury. It is a potential future that we could still experience based on a number of current events and the items contained within the story.
The narrative is framed in an interesting and, to me, somewhat novel way. In fact, this short story resembles, in many ways, my writing style and the manner in which I portray small glimpses into the realities that my characters are presented with.

Breakaway by Stanley Gimble
An interesting prediction on the potential for the first space launch.
It is easy to imagine that something similar to this took place with the first astronauts before their launch.

Cully by Jack Egan
This is an interesting short that presents the horror of consciousness gone awry from the perspective of the person affected.
As is obvious from the fiction I write this theme is a strong one in my imagination and this story handles it in a way that is intriguing and frightening and presents a plausible scenario in which one might accept the horror until they are not longer able to accept it.

Earthmen Bearing Gifts by Frederick Brown
A fascinating story outlining the plight of the people of another world.
There is not much I can write about it without ruining the story for the reader/listener.

Mex by Laurence M. Janifer
This story is a metaphorical tale of bullying and avenging against bullies.
It's only marginally interesting to me in that vein and also only marginally interesting to me in the fantastical context.

The Putnam Tradition by Sonia Dorman
This story outlines how a fantastic family tradition can be overwhelmed by the encroachment of the modern world. It seems, to me, that this is an allegorical tale about the problems of modern society destroying the traditional family life that existed before electricity and telephones permeated the countryside.
From a metaphorical stance this is an interesting study but I did not care for it.

Some Words with a Mummy by Edgar Allen Poe
I am surprised I have not encountered this before.
The way the story is framed well and the concept behind it is fascinating to contemplate.
The ending is fantastic and harkens to the innovative mind that Poe possessed. His way of thinking was obviously in the same vein as some of the great science fiction and fantasy masters who were his contemporaries and those who followed.

Summit by Dallas McCord Reynolds
The summit refers to a conference rather than the peak of a mountain.
This is another story that portrays a world in which the "cold war" exploded into a heated fury.
It presents a disturbing look at politicians from the inside of their inner sanctum; a picture in which the face they present to the people they lead is completely different from the face that they present to each other in closed doors; a reality which may very well already exist.

The presentation is relatively straight-forward but there is an interesting twist at the end of the story that I found worthwhile.

This is Klon Calling by Walt Sheldon
I think this is now one of my favorite short stories.
The main character appears to be the type of character I would enjoy spending time with and the secondary character appears the type of character that I have spent a lot of time with.
The joke seems plausible and as one that I could see any of one group of friends playing on any from the other group.
The way the joke plays out is what makes this an interesting story.

Two Plus Two Makes Crazy by Walt Sheldon
This story is fascinating to me, as it highlights a prediction that is recurrent in science fiction culture but, since this work is in the public domain, it is likely one of the very first examples of the prediction of computational power becoming dominant and self-serving with a human rebellion against it.
This, in some ways, strikes home as I have an outline for a novel I hope to write that has this as the core theme.

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