Unidentified Funny Objects 3
Edited by Alex Shvartsman
Cover Artist: Dixon Leavitt
Review by Carolyn Frank
UFO Publishing Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780988432840
Date: 01 October 2014 List Price $15.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Although overt humor is atypical in the science fiction and fantasy genres, many readers enjoy the opportunity to find a comic or amusing aspect to alien worlds or fantasy universes. For the past several years, Alex Shvartsman has been putting together anthologies of science fiction and fantasy humor. This latest edition, Unidentified Funny Objects 3, features twenty-three short stories from both new and well-known authors. The protagonists range from the emailing mom of a bunch of budding superheroes to an immature insectiod scavenger drone, from a retired goddess of justice to a police detective with an internal alien symbiote, but they manage to resolve the conflicts or issues in their lives in a way that should bring an upward twitch to your lips if not a delighted laugh from your belly.
In "Elections at Villa Encantada" by Cat Rambo, the annual condo home-owners association meeting for a group of retired supernatural and magical beings is as true-to-life as any I've ever attended, as least in terms of the maddening personalities involved and mindless nature of the raging issues of the day. As told from the perspective of a retired goddess of justice who really does not want to spend either her savings on a special assessment or her time dealing with condo issues or meetings, this rollicking story should convince you that it is all just a matter of perspective.
In "Infinite Drive" by Jody Lynn Nye, a detective sergeant with an extraterrestrial symbiote works to solve the mysterious murder of an extremely wealthy investor at a scientific think tank meeting. She is also very pregnant, so when an observer of the investor's car who saw it crash into the pool informs her that as the host of such a symbiote she is entitled to a float chair, she is thrilled. As the story and the chair float along, her clear headedness and wit entertain. Between the somewhat helpful assistance of the symbiote and the float chair, she manages to both solve the case and catch the murderer.
In "That Must Be Them Now" by Karen Haber, an immature insectiod scavenger drone steals away to a planetoid where he hopes to find a new intelligent life form, from which he could scavenge sufficient objects to promote his standing in his home hive. Instead he meets other known aliens also hoping to meet this new intelligent life form, and then gets carried off by yet another type of alien. In this marvelously ridiculous space opera universe, very little works out as planned and yet all is sorted out after a fashion.
The anthology includes two reprints including the timeless Robert Silverberg story, "Company Store", in addition to tales by known humorists Piers Anthony and Mike Resnick. Poking fun at everything from Jewish mothers to the IRS, from traveling salesmen to supermoms, the authors find humor in life as we think it could be or thought it was sort of similar to something else or never even imagined it could be.
Since not everyone shares the same sense of humor, any given story may only appeal to certain folks. But as this is a short story anthology, more tales are available for your entertainment. For anyone willing to suspend disbelief and fly it to the stars smiling as you go, many of these fun-filled stories will prove a delight.