Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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A Saturday Night "This One's Been On The Pile A While" Review: Strange But Not A Stranger

James Patrick Kelly may not be a prolific novellist, but his short stories are regular features of magazines like Asimov's. And they're the kind of stories that will stick with you for years to come. Strange But Not A Stranger is the latest collection of his work, part of Golden Gryphon's series of short story collections.

This is an excellent collection, containing works like the Cordwainer Smith/Alfred Bester homage space opera "Undone", and the seminal cyberpunk piece, "The Prisoner Of Chillon" (which went on to form part of the novel Wildlife). You'll find stories that explore the nuclear fears of the 1960s, of life in the virtual industries of tomorrow. There are love stories, thrillers, space opera, horror and genetically engineered sweets. Some stories, like the haunting "Unique Visitors" are short vignettes that snapshot a few moments in tomorrow, while others feel like the seeds of future novel, while others, like "The Pyramind Of Amirah" are strange, fantastic tales that slide on to the far side of weird.

You can dip into any of Kelly's stories, and come out rewarded. Crafted words explore complex themes, while entertaining and enthralling the reader. It's hard to find enough superlatives to describe Kelly, but you're just going to have to head off and buy yourself a copy of this book.

One of the best collections of a very good year, Stange But Not A Stranger is that rare bird, the essential book. Buy it now, read it, and then go out and share it with a few friends. You won't regret it.
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