tpietila's review

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A varied bunch of stories. A serial (which I haven’t started yet) takes a lot of space.

The Smell of Blood and Thunder • novelette by Liz J. Andersen
A veterinary doctor who works sometimes for interstellar community tries to settle a dispute between intelligent fleas, dogs and cats. Light and very stupid, not as good as the previous installments of the series. ***-
Breakfast in Bed • shortstory by Ian Watson
A man realizes that he slipped to an alternative reality or time stream as his arm isn’t over the bedsheet but rather under it. And then he discusses that realization with his wife. In boring detail and confusing things happen. Another short and stupid non-story.**½
Potential Side Effects May Include • shortstory by Marissa Lingen and Alec Austin
A young woman takes part in the study which studies ways to remove anxiety reactions. The treatment works very well, but some degree anxiety at some situations might be really usefully. At first she worries about it especially after a dangerous situation, but then decides not to feel too anxious about that. A pretty good and well-written story, which might have been longer. ***+
Guns Don't Kill People • shortstory by Jacob A. Boyd
A very short story which involves guns, clones or something like that and some sort of inspection. A LOT of backstory and very hard to get into, I didn't get into it at all and didn't really get it.**
Pincushion Pete • shortstory by Ian Creasey
A man who works for rights of “intellectually challenged” is found to have many mental genetic engineering patches in his mind. It is alleged that his is addicted to patches and he must leave his job. But he certainly isn’t addicted; he can stop using the patches at any time. Or at least after he tries the latest one… ***+
The Narrative of More • shortstory by Tom Greene
An anthropologist/ "missionary " studies a newly found planet which apparently was colonized by humans centuries ago. All humans who are left are gatherers who use hardly any tools and seem to be completely without any tendencies to co-operate any way. How could a human society work like that? The story is told by short portions of notes the anthropologist makes. A very good and interesting story. The protagonist should have seen what was coming. ****-
The Tarn • novelette by Rob Chilson
A village of apparent idiots starts to dig a nearby pond for valuable remnants of an earlier civilization on the basis of vague rumors. All characters add "ah", "heh" and other grunts to their speech, and so appear complete idiots - and also behave mostly in idiotic way. The writing is very flowery and irritating. Overlong and stupid story- which I didn't finish. *
Tumbling Dice • shortstory by Ron Collins
A man who can influence dice wines against a casino. He gets an offer he can’t refuse, meets an exotic woman and must make a decision. Structurally pretty interesting, but plot wise nothing unusual – but isn’t supposed to be. A pretty satisfying story nevertheless. ***
Dreams of Spanish Gold • shortstory by Bond Elam
A computer which apparently runs things impersonates a human and finally understands what it is to be human. A short – perhaps too short - , but well-written story. ***½
Sleeping Dogs • novella by Adam-Troy Castro
A retired spy has been hiding on a backward planet for years fishing living “under the radar” spending his time fishing and living peaceful life. After he retired he was imprisoned for a while. One day the man who was responsible for his incarceration appears to the village. It can’t be a coincidence, or can it? A well-written story which seems to continue an earlier story. ( it appears this story was originally written as a sequel to the “Prisoner” TV-series, I can see the continuity even if some of the serial numbers has been filed away. A pretty nice story, but it is just a segment of a larger part and I really don’t get the logic of the main protagonist. Is he supposed to be insane at the end or does he just behave like it? ****-
Ashfall • shortstory by Edd Vick and Manny Frishberg
After a volcanic eruption bees are suffering, but a young computer hacking youngster teaches the robotic bees how to co-operate with the real bees. A very short story or rather a scene. Ok story as such, but it is just a setup. ***