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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Review: The Best of Michael Swanwick

Michael Swanwick has been a prolific writer of short stories, and this collection (DRM-free kindle compatible edition)puts together all of his award winning short stories and novellas, as well as some other significant works, such as his first two published short stories, which still read as fresh today as when they were written.

What surprised me is how little science fiction there actually was in this collection, despite my thinking of Swanwick as being mostly a science fiction writer. Perhaps that's because Griffin's Egg and Wild Minds stuck in my mind quite a bit more than the others that I had read.

There seems to be quite a bit of obsession with death as a theme, with it showing up in Mother Grasshopper and Radio Waves. Quite a number of stories have mature themes, so if you're the kind of person who believes that children should stay innocent, this is not a book to hand off to your 9 year old (and especially not your friend's 9 year old, lest you be charged with corrupting the youth).

I checked this book out from the library, and I think it might have been a mistake --- these stories absolutely cannot be rushed through, and they all bear reading more than once. I guess I can always buy the electronic edition for a second read through.

Recommended, and definitely not a book to rush through --- take a break between each story --- they are so rich that like food, you cannot take too much at once.

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