More Amazing Stories

Kim Mohan, Editor Tor Books $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-86473-6
When the venerable SF magazine Amazing Stories! folded in 1996, there were still a number of stories in inventory. Now, the magazine's final editor, Mohan (Amazing Stories: The Anthology), has gathered the last of the them: alternate histories, tales of strange worlds, far future scenarios and baroque conceits. He cleverly sequences the tales via overlapping motifs--a charming trick. Of the 20 stories presented, many have elements of genius, some are indeed amazing, but most are flawed in one way or another and feel a few drafts shy of finished work. A frequent failing is overwrought prose smeared over only dimly imagined thematic material. Arlan Andrews Sr.'s ""Parameters of Dream Flight,"" for example, tells of a writer who lends his brain to research only to discover that his brilliant storytelling is a distorted representation of early sexual traumas. The wordplay is extraordinary--but the stylistic pizzazz militates against any dramatic effect. Martine E. Cirulis's ""Stiletto,"" the collection's longest piece, is faddishly word-dense and mired in clumsy cyber-jargon. Even Philip K. Dick's evocative ""The Builder,"" a 1953 Amazing reprint, is tainted by a banal ending. Ursula K. Le Guin's ""Unchosen Love"" has for its main event a ghostly visitation that is alarmingly trite, but her mastery of form and psychology redeems it. There are also fine stories by John Morressey, S.N. Dyer, Don Webb, Marti McKenna, Gregory Benford and Michelle Knowlden. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-312-87437-7
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