cover image Soulmates


Mike Resnick and Lezli Robyn. Phoenix Pick, $14.99 trade paper (210p) ISBN 978-1-61242-314-2

In this eclectic collection of reprints, all originally published between 1999 and 2011, veteran Resnick teams up with relative newcomer Robyn to deliver a handful of entertaining tales. Tone, style, and theme range all over the place: “The Close Shave” and “Making the Cut,” both set at a barbershop that specializes in after-hours service to the supernatural crowd, aim for a light, harmless sort of humor and feature a henpecked vampire, a pacifist medusa with bad-tempered snakes for hair, and a world-weary Wandering Jew, among others. “Shame” and “Soulmates” are much more thought-provoking, philosophical works, exploring free will, friendship, euthanasia, and taking responsibility for one’s mistakes. In “Benchwarmer,” the authors look at imaginary friends who have been forgotten by their creators, and “Report from the Field” examines humanity’s quirks through an alien lens; these are well-worn themes, but the skillful execution prevents them from feeling stale. The same can be said for “Anne-Droid of Green Gables,” which revisits L.M. Montgomery’s classic. The only solo Resnick story in the bunch is “Hunting the Snark,” in which a safari on an alien planet goes horribly awry. This is a satisfying sampler of solid stories from a team that rarely disappoints. Agent (for Resnick): Eleanor Wood, Spectrum Literary Agency. (Dec.)