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Miles Klee. OR Books (, $18 trade paper (268p) ISBN 978-1-939293-98-5

The 44 unconventional stories in this short fiction collection from Klee (Ivyland) are virtually uncategorizable, but all are united by their wit and irony. Some are vaguely science fictional, such as "A Syndicate of Angels," set in a futuristic New York where electric light is rationed and the rich throw "moth parties." . Others follow their quirky premises down amusingly oddball avenues: for example, in "Love," rival companies compete to market inducements for love. Thought-provoking pieces, such as "Pythagoras Too," in which the Greek philosopher travels freely across time and space and is disappointed by the various realities he sees, alternate with catalogue stories, such as "An Unexpected Masterpiece," in which a fictional version of Klee lists the accolades garnered and controversies provoked by a novel that he never wrote. The book's most audacious story, "Ibid.," is a narrative of 16 paragraphs, each constructed from sentences sampled from the work of other writers and annotated with pithy footnotes appraising each original work and its author. Most of the book's longer stories are very loosely plotted and focused more on character responses to their situations, but the shorter stories sandwiched between them%E2%80%94some only a sentence or paragraph long%E2%80%94are distinguished by their wry observations and O. Henry-style twists. Much of the enjoyment these stories provide comes from seeing how much mileage the author can squeeze out of their unusual themes and ideas. (Sept.)