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Uncategorized: Thee ABD and Other Tales by Sue Lange
Review by Cathy Green
Book View Cafe PDF  ISBN/ITEM#: BC
Date: 18 December 2009

Links: Book View Cafe / Show Official Info /

Uncategorized: The ABD And Other Tales, an e-book published by Book View Cafe (http://www.bookviewcafe.com), collects fifteen stories by Sue Lange previously published in various online and print magazines. Uncategorized is a good description of the collection, which contains a variety of fantasy and science fiction stories without an overarching thematic thread. This is not meant as a criticism, since many single author collections do not have a theme other than “stories written by the author” unless the writer is known for focusing on a narrow range of themes.

A number of the stories in the book are somewhat depressing and cynical, including “Jumper”, which is about suicide, and “How to Dispose of Sneakers”, in which an environmental enforcement agent trying to trace a Styrofoam spill falls victim to the meat industry, or “Buyer's Club”, about an evil HMO. “The Club” is a nicely twisted little story of a secret cabal of scientists and others who may really secretly be making the world a better place, but largely through duplicity, really good marketing (same thing as duplicity really), genetic manipulation, and mind control, with a humorous twist at the end when the reason for the protagonist breaking ranks and testifying before Congress is revealed.

Of course, a number upbeat stories are included as well. “BehaviorNorm” is a fun tale of union activity and the perils of aptitude testing. And “Suicides” is an upbeat story of the triumph of individualism and self-understanding over advertising. My favorite was “Pictures”, one of the few fantasy stories in the collection, which is a lovely little ghost story set in an old hotel in a small town.

Taking advantage of the fact that this is an e-book, the first story in the collection, “The Timestoppers”, is in audio format and is a performance complete with soundtrack rather than a straight reading. Also, the table of contents is formatted as live links, so the reader can jump directly to a particular story without paging through.

Lange provides an introduction for each of the stories. It is always interesting to find out what inspired an author to write a particular story or how an author's opinion of a story may have changed with the passage of time. Fans of Lange's work will enjoy having so many of her stories collected in one place, and readers looking for something new will appreciate the variety of the collection.

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