Fractal Paisleys

Paul Di Filippo, Author Four Walls Eight Windows $20 (300p) ISBN 978-1-56858-032-6
""Trailer park science fiction""--that's what Di Filippo (Ribofunk) calls these funny, offbeat and ever so funky tales of losers and working-class people who come in contact with the decidedly weird. Typical of the collection is the title story, which concerns the unlikely adventures of bartender Tracey Thorne-Smith and her unemployed boyfriend, Jay Dee, after they run over a time traveler and inherit some of his marvelous, if not entirely practical, advanced technology. In the Nebula Award-nominated ""Lennon Spex,"" the narrator buys the former Beatle's glasses and discovers that they give him unprecedented and totally bizarre insight into human relationships. Many of Di Filippo's tales are set in alternate universes. In ""Master Blaster and Whammer Jammer Meet the Groove Thang,"" a couple of brainless dopers, who in our world might just be the rock stars Stevie Wonder and Peter Wolf, encounter a mood-altering alien pet. In ""Mamma Told Me Not to Come,"" a potential suicide meets the god Bacchus at an end-of-the-century party, is propelled headlong through a series of alternate universes and gets to attend some of the greatest parties in history and literature. Obvious influences here include Thorne Smith's Nightlife of the Gods (1931), Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp's The Incomplete Enchanter (1941) and, as is often the case in these stories, good old rock 'n' roll. Indeed, these tales are rife with in-jokes and allusions to popular music and speculative fiction. Although he has yet to achieve the popularity of a Terry Pratchett or a Douglas Adams, perhaps because he works almost entirely in the short-story form, Di Filippo is one of the most talented humorists in contemporary fantasy and SF. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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