Will the Last Person to Leave the Planet Please Shut Off the Sun?

Mike Resnik, Author, Mike Resnick, Author, Michael D. Resnick, Author Tor Books $19.95 (353p) ISBN 978-0-312-85276-4
This first collection of short fiction from Resnick ( Second Contact ) features several of his most popular stories and an array of less distinguished work. Standouts include ``Kirinyaga'' and ``For I Have Touched the Sky,'' two installments from Resnick's well-regarded Kirinyaga series, set on an orbital space habitat modeled on a pre-colonial African culture. These--along with ``Over There'' and ``The Light That Blinds, the Claws That Catch,'' two ``alternate Teddy Roosevelt'' stories--are the most substantial pieces in the book. Some of the others are interesting but weaker: ``Watching Marcia,'' a tale of psychological suspense; ``Balance,'' a brief, effective homage to Isaac Asimov; and two canine tales, ``The Last Dog'' and ``Blue.'' The remaining 20 stories are dominated by a smirky sort of humor that steals whatever power they might have had. Ranging from decent pieces that might otherwise have worked (``Beachcomber,'' ``Frankie the Spook'') to bits of almost embarrassing amateurism (``His Award-Winning Science Fiction Story,'' ``Posttime in Pink''), the lesser efforts almost swamp the better ones--and Resnick's smug, self-congratulatory introductions don't help. Still, some worthwhile stories--if only there had been more of them. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/1992
Release date: 08/01/1992
Genre: Fiction
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