Last Update 7/14/17

Other Arms Reach Out to Me by Michael Bishop, Kudzu Planet, 2017, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-933846-65-1

A good many years ago I started reading the occasional short story of a young writer who not only seemed to surprise me with almost every new story but who also usually managed to get me emotionally involved with the characters unusual for SF then, and now as well for that matter. This is a collection of his comparatively recent stories, only a couple of which have any real fantastic content. They are more property speaking a series of stories about life in the state of Georgia, and I am not at all surprised to find the stories filled with characters who are more than just names assigned to plot elements to be moved through their paces. Regional writing is often less than well treated because the major publishers assume that their market is more limited, which is about as short sighted a decision as I can imagine. In any case, these are stories for people who enjoy fiction about real people and real situations, even the fantastical ones, and you're only short changing yourself if you don't read them. 7/14/17

The Frozen Year by James Blish, Ballantine, 1957  

Although this is often listed as SF, and it has a Powers cover, it's a contemporary novel about an expedition into the Arctic. The expedition is badly led and underfunded and a third of the members die the first day they are on the ice. Nevertheless, they uncover evidence that there was once a planet with life between Mars and Jupiter. Unfortunately, one of them declares himself a Martian and destroys the evidence, although it is never clear that he wasn't just crazy. Well written and more engaging than it probably sounds. 7/2/17

The Sacking of El Dorado by Max Brand, Leisure, 1997 

Six short stories of the Old West by one of the most prolific and still popular writers in the genre. Paradoxically the stories generally have better realized characters than many of his novels. The situations are fairly familiar outsiders finding their place, man against the wilderness, etc.  The title story is the best in the collection but all of them are quite readable.  7/1/17