Nine science-fiction stories comprise the literary debut of Vasconcelos, a retired Portuguese businessman. ""The Man from Strasbourg"" presents a tour through the history of that French city, site of an endless feud between Celt and German, while ""Spying Out the New Men"" offers a visit to the far future by the protagonist's disembodied consciousness. ""And If We Go Round Again"" deals with precognition, ""Healthy Competition"" with the profits of live violence on TV and ""The Thousand-Colored Sphere"" with an alien artifact. ""Spatial Schubert"" is a character-oriented sketch of an interstellar expedition, while ""Inheritance,"" the most accomplished story here, explores racial memory. The narrative technique and originality exhibited here are limited, and the stories suffer from numerous stylistic infelicities, perhaps due to the translation. Vasconcelos isn't going to storm the citadel of golden SF with material like this, but then, more than one SF writer began a respectable career with stories more amateurish than these. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1996 Release date: 08/01/1996 Genre: Fiction
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