DRAGON'S ISLAND AND OTHER STORIES

Jack Williamson, Author . Five Star $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7862-4314-3

The two stories and short novel in this so-so collection from Hugo winner Williamson focus on genetic engineering. The title work, a novella dating to 1951, sets up what appears to be a battle to the death between humans and superior mutants, but ends with a realization that the mutants embody the best of humanity. Unfortunately, the writing hasn't aged well. Williamson has serious things to say, but his hysterical, ultra-pulpish way he develops his plot doesn't allow for much reflection. The writing is much more restrained in "Stepson to Creation," published as a novelette in 1977, but employed more successfully the following year as a section of the novel Brother to Demons, Brother to Gods. When superior mutants segregate ordinary humans into reservations, the humans naturally resent the discrimination. In the more polished and complex tale, "Guinevere for Everybody," a nerdy corporate troubleshooter is taken aback to discover that a branch of his company is producing vending machines that sell beautiful female clones. The lure of cheap, guilt-free sex is never spelled out—the story was first published in 1954—but Williamson balances its suggestion nicely with the conscious control of sober, adult responsibility. He also zings the reader with a neat, darkly humorous and technically prescient conclusion. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/12/2002
Release date: 08/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
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