December 23rd, 2002

A Monday Afternoon "Upgraded Laptop" Review: Impossible Places

Alan Dean Foster's short story collection Impossible Places is the latest collection from one of the more prolific SF writers around.

Impossible Places is the sort of book where you can dip into a story before you go to sleep, or flip your way through four or five in a bath. His style is very televisual - it's easy to see many of the stories as a 40 or 45 minute Twilight Zone style drama: the trucker who met Marilyn Monroe, the stoners on Mars. It's also very National Geographic, with stories from the four corners of the world (and in one case, quite literally the seven seas). Foster is a globe trotter who visits inaccessible and unusual places - ideal fodder for his stories - especially the mainstream "Pein bek Longpela Telimpon", a transliteration of classical fairy tale themes into the underbelly of modern New Guinea.

Foster's style varies wildly, from fantasy to SF, via non-genre fiction. This is a book where nothing it is quite what it seems at a first glance - even the story that'll make most people buy it, a new Flinx and Pip short.

While everything here is good, light fiction, a word of warning: don't go expecting anything deep and meaningful. But then, where reading Alan Dean Foster here, not China Mieville or Tim Powers, and Foster never sets out to write literature: just stories. If we get to see a bit more of the world than we might have through these stories, then all to the good.
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