cover image The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories

The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories

John Kessel. Small Beer Press, $24 (315pp) ISBN 978-1-931520-51-5

This nuanced mostly reprint collection, the first in a decade from Nebula winner Kessel (Good News from Outer Space), plays on the theme of a hapless, down-on-his-luck man thrown into extraordinary circumstances. \x93The Juniper Tree,\x94 the Tiptree-winning \x93Stories for Men,\x94 \x93Sunlight or Rock\x94 and \x93Under the Lunchbox Tree,\x94 all tied to Kessel's lunar colony sequence, explore the limits placed on a man's life in a beautiful, woman-dominated city on the barren moon. In \x93Powerless,\x94 the only story original to the volume, a hapless inventor finally perfects a strange new power generator, destroying his relationships along the way. Paying homage to the classics, \x93Every Angel Is Terrifying\x94 serves as a sequel to Flannery O'Connor's \x93A Good Man Is Hard to Find,\x94 while in \x93Pride and Prometheus\x94 Mary Bennet meets Victor Frankenstein. These well-crafted stories, full of elegantly drawn characters, deliver a powerful emotional punch. (Apr.)