A Romance of the Equator: The Best Fantasy Stories of Brian W. Aldiss

Brian Wilson Aldiss, Author Atheneum Books $18.95 (345p) ISBN 978-0-689-12053-4
In his introduction to this collection, Aldiss discusses the lack of clear definition of ``fantasy.'' These 23 stories reflect this ambiguity, falling into seven different sub-genres. ``Old Hundreth,'' the best known work, is conventional science fiction. Half a dozen others, including the title story, are tales of the supernatural, verging on fairy tales. Several, such as ``The Blue Background,'' are still-lifes: a verbal painting of a plotless scene. Another half-dozen are surrealistic. ``Castle Scenes with Penitents'' has one minor character with wings, but otherwise is an historical fiction along the lines of ``Day of the Doomed King.'' The best of the collection is ``The Small Stones of Tu Fu''; set in ancient China and the far future, it resonates with a quiet wisdom. All of the stories are carefully crafted word pictures that should be read slowly and savored. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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