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Date: December 2005 /

From release/information:

SCIFICTION - Edited by Ellen Datlow, At

Stories Reviewed: Bears Discover Smut by Michael Bishop (10/26/05) | The Horse of a Different Color (That You Rode in On) by Howard Waldrop (11/02/05) | Man for the Job by Robert Reed (11/09/05) | Different Flesh by Claude Lalumière (11/16/05)

This month's review of stories from Ellen Datlow's SCIFICTION at must begin on a bittersweet note. The Sci Fi channel has announced that they will no longer be publishing stories on their site as of the end of 2005. I can't tell you how disappointing this is. Ellen Datlow is the premier editor of short fiction and the science fiction community will be much the poorer for losing her contribution. I only hope she finds another outlet soon. Meanwhile, I will review the stories that are left in the next month or two.

The four stories that are new since last month's column all get a very good rating from me. Read them now while you still can. "Bears Discover Smut" by Michael Bishop is a humorous story and Bishop even gives a nod to Terry Bisson, author of the Hugo winning story, "Bears Discover Fire". In this story, bears have been genetically enhanced to do menial jobs and especially get on the nerves of a minister who has a thing for pornography. Howard Waldrop's "The Horse of a Different Color (That You Rode in On)" is the kind of story only he could write. It is told through the words of a sixth Marx Brother, who changed the spelling of his name and calls himself Manny Marks. In an interview done in the early 1990s, Manny tells a tale of vaudeville and a legendary act named Dybbuk and Wing and their very special quest. Waldrop really makes us believe that we are back in the days of vaudeville and this is an utterly delightful story.

"Man for the Job" by Robert Reed is also a classic tale by him. A man is being interviewed for a job and is sent on a very unusual journey as a way of testing him. I can't say more but that if you like Reed's stories, then this is one for you. "Different Flesh" by Claude Lalumiére is a beautiful little story of a man looking back to the time of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. But here, aliens showed up on Earth right after that. The man was a very young boy then and discovers much about himself and humanity when he befriends the aliens.

So check out this site while you can. I don't yet know when it will disappear entirely but some of the stories for 2005 will be making my Hugo nominating list.


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