NESFA Members' Reviews


edited by Laura Anne Gilman and Keith R. A. DeCandido

Ace, ISBN 0-441-00363-X, 1996, 260pp, US$5.99

A book review by Evelyn C. Leeper

Copyright 1997 Evelyn C. Leeper

What is clever done once becomes tedious with repetition.

In other words, somewhere between the story about the were-salmon and the were-Republican, my eyes glazed over.

There are fifteen stories in this anthology and a few are actually reasonably good. Had I read them in THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION or ASIMOV'S, I would have thought them worthy entries there. But here they are diluted by the lesser stories to the point where they all seem mediocre. And it's not even that I tried to read them all in one sitting--I read them over a period of a month, and that's *still* too close together.

"Stories of transformation" go back a long way (and at least one story here pays homage to that). These early stories, however, emphasized the mythic elements, and these were also carried forward into such (relatively) modern stories as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But most of the stories here don't have that aspect. Either the transformation is done for laughs, or it is a transformation without meaning--a person changes into an X because that's what the plot calls for, not because X has some meaning.

I am becoming increasingly disenchanted with theme anthologies. In addition to the repetitiveness, the requirement of filling a book with stories on a single topic usually means that the quality level suffers. If anthologists feel they must have a theme to their anthologies, how about something less restrictive, like stories whose fifth word is "grass" or authors born in June?

%B      Otherwere
%E      Laura Anne Gilman
%E      Keith R. A. DeCandido
%C      New York
%D      September 1996
%I      Ace
%O      paperback, US$5.99
%G      ISBN 0-441-00363-X
%P      260pp

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