One Side Laughing: Stories Unlike Other Stories

Damon Francis Knight, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (230p) ISBN 978-0-312-05939-2
This collection of 16 stories and one novella are, as the title claims, ``unlike other stories''; some, however, are like others here. ``On the Wheel'' and ``La Ronde'' both give a feel of Escher's Print Gallery : both stories have two characters, each of whom reads about the ``fictonal'' actions of the other. ``Azimuth 1, 2, 3 . . . '' and ``The Man Who Went Back'' are both minor time-travel variations. ``Tarcan of the Hoboes'' is a pastiche and thus very like Tarzan, to neither work's benefit. ``The Other Foot,'' the novella which constitutes roughly half the book, concerns alien ``monkeys'' taken to a German zoo, from which they escape by ``swapping souls'' with random humans. For some reason Knight prefers this to Mind Switch , which is a full-length novel version of the same story. While most of the other stories in here are inconsequential, ``I See You'' and ``Strangers on Paradise'' are two of Knight's best. The first studies the changes to society that an invention enabling the viewing of any past event--no matter how recent--would bring, while the second concerns a poet's reflections after she learns her Eden of a world was created through genocide. In both stories Knight gcreates vibrant characters who live in an alien environment that is at once natural and strange. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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