I regularly find a lot of different issues of Fantasy and Science Fiction in bookstores and I’ve always wondered what I might discover if I only had the time and conviction to go through all of them. I came across this issue and purchased it immediately after seeing Gene Wolfe’s name in the contents.
While his story was worth the $4 I paid, there were some bonuses too, listed below. One of the bigger surprises: The film review just happened to cover Night of the Living Dead!
Tarzan of the Grapes by Gene Wolfe:
This is an enjoyable, if slight, story; tongue-in-cheek and having a very “meta” concept. This is only the second story I’ve read of Wolfe’s but I am anxiously awaiting the day I make it to the Book of the New Son that sits at the end of my to-read shelf. If these couple of glimpses are any indication, then an Amazon.com reviewer’s comparison of him to J. L. Borges is not inappropriate.
Affair with a Lonesome Monster by Paul Walker:
Well-written story about a couple of psychic aliens that wage their final battle in a gay teenager’s mind. The setting and the frankness of the boy’s sexual orientation makes me really curious about how commonplace the topic was in popular culture at that time. Perhaps F&SF was still so marginalized that it was one of the safe places to write about that.
The Week Excuse, by Isaac Asimov:
This is a well-reasoned essay on the failures of the Gregorian calendar and how it could be improved. Well it seems well-reasoned, I wasn’t able to follow it completely. It seems comically fitting that the first Asimov I’ve ever read would be this. Foundation is next, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it much more than this dry diatribe.
Variation of a Theme by Curt Siodmak:
Well-told short tale of a man trying to get rid of an actual halo that appears around his head. Perfectly paced, most likely due to the fact that Mr. Siodmak was a prolific screenwriter (turns out he penned the script for The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney and the 2010 remake).
Son of the Morning by Phyllis Gotlieb:
I had to force myself thru the first half of this one. It got way better after that. Giant, psychic red tigers from outer space prevent a ball of pure energy from instigating a pogrom in a small village’s synagogue. Yes it’s crazy, but you’ve got to love those really absurd concepts. Apparently Ms. Gotlieb was a somewhat popular Canadian scifi author. I probably won’t seek out her other stuff, out but I can see why plenty of other GR users like her.
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