Contented Reader

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Other Worlds than These

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Other Worlds than These

Edited by John Joseph Adams

Night Shade Books

There are two different kinds of alternate-worlds stories.

There’s the kind about a journey to a different world, a wonderful place that is dramatically different than the ordinary world in which we live.  Lucy, passing through the wardrobe into Narnia.  Alice, in Wonderland.

And there’s the parallel-world kind of story.  Stories of a world just like ours, except for one significant difference.  I like Jo Walton’s Farthing, a cozy country-house mystery of the sort Agatha Christie might have written, set in an England where Germany won the war.

This is a collection of good short stories, by good authors, of both types.  Some of them I have read before – I caught Seanan McGuire’s “Crystal Halloway and the Forgotten Passage” on some podcast or other a few months ago, and I have loved Tim Pratt’s “Impossible Dreams” intensely since the first time I encountered it.  Some of them I’ve never seen before, but I’m glad I saw them now: Jeff VanderMeer’s “The Goat Variations” is about a president (or a king, or a prime minister) in an infinite number of different but parallel worlds, reading a story about a goat to some children as something bad is about to happen.

It’s a big collection, and asks the reader to slow down a bit and savor it.  Not every story in it worked for me, but what anthology has ever delivered that?  It had enough winners to make me glad I borrowed it from the library.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to buy it to add to my private collection, because it has a story in it by Orson Scott Card.  Orson Scott Card is a bad person, and he uses his money for evil.  I have a pretty strict rule of not intentionally sending money in his direction.

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Written by Contented Reader

September 6, 2012 at 6:37 am

Posted in Reviews

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