NESFA Members' Reviews


by James Patrick Kelly

Golden Gryphon, ISBN 0-9655901-9-4, 1997, 275pp, US$22.95

A book review by Evelyn C. Leeper

Copyright 1997 Evelyn C. Leeper

This volume contains fourteen of Kelly's best stories, including two Hugo nominees and four Nebula nominees (a fifth, "Saint Theresa of the Aliens," is missing). The title story is the best known, and the most discussed, of all of them. Some see it as a response or follow-up to Tom Godwin's "Cold Equations." It can be seen that way, but the "equation" in Godwin's story is a function of the physical universe, while that of "Think Like a Dinosaur" is more artificially created. And in fact it's not a new idea, but has been part and parcel of teleportation discussions for a long time now. Kelly combines it well with an alien sub- plot, though, and makes it interesting from that perspective.

The other stories represent the best of Kelley's work, and make it available in a permanent form.

This is the first volume from a new publisher, Golden Gryphon, and is a very well-produced volume. The single-author short story collection is not as dead as some claim. It isn't even relegated to the small press, as some would have--just this month sees the publication of a single-author collection by Ace, for example. But these collections do have an extra hurdle (as do reprint anthologies, for that matter): readers may decide they already have some or most of the stories and pass them up. In the case of THINK LIKE A DINOSAUR, what will work against its success is the fact that all but one of the stories in it were first published in ASIMOV'S, and most readers who know of Kelly are probably subscribers to that magazine. On the other hand, libraries should definitely acquire this book. In fact, I hope someone is bringing the single-author collections being produced these days to the attention of libraries, since they provide the only way for most libraries to get some of the best work of today's leading authors.

%T      Think Like a Dinosaur
%A      James Patrick Kelly
%C      Collinsville IL
%D      1997
%I      Golden Gryphon
%O      hardback, US$22.95
%G      ISBN 0-9655901-9-4
%P      275pp

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