Everything You Need

Michael Marshall Smith. Earthling (www.earthlingpub.com), $45 (300p) ISBN 978-0-9838071-4-8
This satisfying collection of 17 stories, five of which are originals, showcases Smith’s knack for the uncanny. Smith (Spares; More Tomorrow & Other Stories) pulls together dark fantasy, horror, and science fiction, with each piece taking place in a world just one step away from our own—so familiar, and yet, at the same time, not quite right. Highlights include “Walking Wounded,” in which a man suffers from mysterious and alarming injuries soon after a move across town; “The Seventeenth Kind,” featuring a charismatic host on a home shopping network whose levelheadedness is pushed to its limits; and “The Good Listener,” a melancholy near-future journey through California’s Bay Area. The collection gets off to an awkward start: the settings in the first two stories don’t quite gel, and “Unbelief” is more clever than it is entertaining. Once they get rolling, though, these moody stories will draw in anyone with an interest in the strange. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/20/2013
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