cover image The Collected Stories of Carol Emshwiller

The Collected Stories of Carol Emshwiller

Carol Emshwiller, Nonstop (IPG, dist.), $29.95 (576p) ISBN 978-1-933065-22-9

In her introduction, Emshwiller (The Secret City) says, "I've never known quite what to call my writing." Readers of this offbeat collection of more than 80 short stories spanning nearly five decades might apply labels such as murder mystery, hard science fiction, magical realism, and narrative nonfiction. 1954's "Built for Pleasure" anticipates The Stepford Wives by decades, but is followed by two tales with similar premises, diluting its impact. The transition from mail-order wives to feminist writings, including musings on female genitalia and a story accompanied by drawings of breasts in profile, is abrupt and jarring. The contents are arranged chronologically and unfortunately bereft of authorial notes that might bring some order to the chaos. SF fans may want to skip straight to the moving Nebula-winning "Creature" and otherwise select their own "best of Carol Emshwiller" from this overly comprehensive collection. (Apr.)