cover image Heatseeker


John Shirley. Scream Press, $25 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-910489-26-3

Shirley has been writing SF, including a dozen novels ( City Come A-Walkin', A Splendid Chaos ), for over a decade. His first collection of short fiction contains 19 selections, three of them previously unpublished, that display Shirley as a talented writer with a clear, fluid style, vividly visual, much of whose imagery is discomfortingly grotesque and gory. Some of the stories are weakened by a lack of focus. ``I Live in Elizabeth'' begins as a somewhat loopy love story and unexpectedly segues into horror. When Shirley is in control of his material, the result can be powerful, as in ``What It's Like to Kill a Man,'' which depicts an ugly, barbaric future, and the political corruption that sustains it. ``What Cindy Saw'' is an effective horror story about a psychotic young woman who perceives the real world literally underlying the apparent onea world where houses and furniture are part of one large living organism ready to devour unsuspecting people. The images may be a metaphor for her madness. Stephen P. Brown and William Gibson contribute introductory material, and there are illustrations by Harry O. Morris. (Jan.)