THUMBPRINTS

Pamela Sargent, Author, James Morrow, JR., Introduction by . Golden Gryphon $25.95 (345p) ISBN 978-1-930846-29-6

Editor Terry Carr once rejected two of Sargent's early stories, saying that her talent for characterization deserved better plots. In the 30-odd years since, Sargent has found some. Included are some of her best older tales: from the 1970s, "Gather Blue Roses," a sparse and tender depiction of the pain of empathy, and "If Ever I Should Leave You," a gorgeously heartbreaking twist on a familiar time-travel theme; and from the 1980s, the satisfying duet of "Originals" and "Shrinker," two very different takes on classic artists' dilemmas unchanged by modern gadgetry. The more recent works particularly shine, from the bittersweet realism of "Amphibians" through the well-honed satire of "Thumbprints" to the starry dreams of "Venus Flowers at Night" (a prequel to the trilogy concluded by 2002's Child of Venus ). The collection is rounded out by "Climb The Wind," "Erdeni's Tiger" and "Spirit Brother," three eloquently mystical tales of Mongolias past and present. "Utmost Bones" and "Out of Place" are the only weak points, interesting ideas without much else to recommend them. This solid volume does a good job of showcasing Sargent's impressive range of style and theme, but given lukewarm receptions for the three collections she published in 2002 and 2003, it's unlikely to get much attention from nonfans. Agent, Richard Curtis. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
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