NESFA Members' Reviews


by R. Garcia y Robertson

Golden Gryphon, ISBN 0-9655901-8-6, 1998, 275pp, US$22.95

A book review by Evelyn C. Leeper

Copyright 1998 Evelyn C. Leeper

Garcia y Robertson writes novelettes rather than short stories, so this collection (the second publication of Golden Gryphon) contains eight stories rather than the usual eleven to fourteen. Most of his stories can best be described as science fantasy rather than science fiction, which does point to a narrower target audience.

The first story, "Gypsy Trade," used a standard science fiction device, time travel, but overlays it with gypsy curses and tarot cards and "Four Kings and an Ace," set in Nineteenth Century San Francisco, also uses forms of magic. On the other hand, "Cast on a Distant Shore" is strictly science fiction, with humans on an alien world hired by other aliens to collect zoological specimens.

The remaining stories ("The Moon Maid," "Gone to Glory," "The Wagon God's Wife," "The Other Magpie," and "The Werewolves of Luna") are fantasy in varying degrees: prehistoric fantasy, science fantasy, and so on.

On the plus side, Garcia y Robertson has a good grasp of characters. He seems particularly able to write female characters-- reading his stories, I kept thinking that they were written by a woman. (I have no idea precisely what I mean by that. But if Robert Silverberg could say that he found Tiptree's writing "ineluctably masculine," I figure I can get away with this.)

This collection suffers from the fact that all its stories have appeared in either ASIMOV'S SCIENCE FICTION or THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION. Readers who like this type of fiction, or Garcia y Robertson in particular may well have all the stories in magazine form. On the other hand, for readers who don't subscribe to one or both of those, but who enjoy this subgenre, this would be an excellent collection. And both this and Golden Gryphon's previous volume, TO THINK LIKE A DINOSAUR by John Kessel, would make good gifts to your friends who read novels but haven't discovered the joys of short fiction.

%T      The Moon Maid and Other Fantastic Adventures
%A      R. Garcia y Robertson
%C      Collinsville IL
%D      March 1998
%I      Golden Gryphon
%O      hardback, US$22.95
%G      ISBN 0-9655901-8-6
%P      275pp

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