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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: InterGalactic Medicine Show Awards Anthology, Vol. I

I picked up InterGalactic Medicine Show Awards Anthology, Vol. I when it was a giveaway on the Kindle store for free. The cover price is $5, which is about $1.50 more than an issue of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. In terms of quality, the stories are very much hit and miss. For instance, Peter S. Beagle's opening story, Trinity County, is not one of his best. While it's an excellent exposition of a world in which genetic engineering has gone crazy, it does not have as much emotional impact as any of his other stories. The runner up, Sister Jasmine Brings the Pain, is a neat send-up of the Zombie genre, but feels a bit tired. The true gem in the book, The Ghost of a Girl Who Never Lived is beautifully written and explores cloning in a fresh way, however. Another one, The American is a great story about American hegemony in the future, which I found very readable and fun at the same time.

There were several other haunting stories in the volume, including one about traversing multiverses, one about sentient machines. Many other stories fall into the fantasy genre, and while I don't care about them as much, one of them turns The Little Mermaid on its head, which I enjoyed very much.

All in all, the collection of short stories is worth reading, and even at the full price of $5, is more value for money than the typical issue of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. The short stories are short enough that you can read one per night and then when you get to the end you'll want more. Recommended.

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