GUNNING FOR THE BUDDHA

Michael Jasper, Author . Prime $17.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-930997-72-1

Jasper's style is all over the place in his first collection—the influence of such established SF authors as John Kessel (who provides an introduction), Tim Powers and Andy Duncan is manifest—but readers curious to see the growth of a writer one story at a time will be rewarded. The title tale involves time travel with an atmospheric twist. Black comedy marks "A Feast at the Manor," with its desperate dieters, and "Goddamn Redneck Surfer Zombies," about a small beach community dealing with a seasonal influx of the undead. Less successful are "Unplugged," about outmoded cyber cowboys, and "Working the Game," in which a downtrodden worker finally realizes there's no way to beat the system. "Explosions" and the three tales that follow explore the repercussions when humans attempt to make a place for the alien Wannoshay after their space ship crashes on Earth. The last four entries are the most memorable, the standout being the evocative and vivid "Natural Order," which Jasper calls in his afterword "the best story I've ever written in ten hours." (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/28/2005
Release date: 07/01/2004
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