Going Home Again

Howard Waldrop, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-312-18589-3
The fantastic inventions and whimsical nostalgia in these nine stories suggest that Waldrop (Night of the Cooters) is either a pulp writer born out of his time or an autodidact from another world. Although many of these stories have appeared in science fiction publications like Amazing Stories and Omni, they are as close to Robert Coover as they are to Isaac Asimov. There's an alternate version of Dickens's A Christmas Carol and a Damon-Runyonized retelling of the fairy tale ""The Brementown Musicians."" Most of these stories revolve around curious what-if ideas tightly wrapped in oddball erudition and tied up with snappy dialogue. The best and subtlest of these is the opening ""You Could Go Home Again,"" which takes place on a USA, Inc. Airship and slowly reveals its hero, a writer recovering from a near-fatal illness, to be Tom (not Thomas) Wolfe living in 1940. Elsewhere, one finds Peter Lorre, a refugee from a successful Nazi Reich, performing in a Brecht cabaret in ""The Effects of Alienation"" and Mexican masked wrestlers in an apocalyptic match with overtones of medieval mystery plays in ""El Castillo de la Preserverancia."" Only in the case of ""Flatfeet!,"" in which a Keystone-Kops-meet-monsters scenario reflects Spengler's Decline of the West, do Waldrop's crazy-quilt themes wear too thin. To round out this collection and proclaim its roots, there is ""Scientification,"" in which a tribe of intelligent insects lives on a dark, chilly earth in the distant future, a straight science fantasy out of H.G. Wells or Weird Tales. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.