Now that Amazon has just bought out Goodreads.com, I’m not sure if I’ll stick with it. Is there anything left online that isn’t owned by Amazon, Facebook, or Google? But the past couple of weeks I’ve managed to get to a few really good books.
E pluribus unicorn by Theodore Sturgeon
Sturgeon was a very well-regarded writer of sci-fi and fantasy, as well as mysteries and “literary” fiction. E pluribus unicorn was the second collection of his stories to be published and the stories are uniformly excellent. Most in this collection have some element of the fantastic, and all have great characters. “The silken-swift” and “A saucerful of loneliness” are the most memorable, but “The professor’s teddy” and “Cellmate” are great too. Very worth reading.
Painted devils by Robert Aickman
Subtitled “strange stories,” the stories collected here all use a creeping sense of horror and doom, and Aickman apparently considered them to be “ghost stories” although not all actually have obviously paranormal events in them. In some cases the suspense is slowly built and becomes quite disturbing, only to peter out with a dry, quick resolution that only suggests what the fuss might have been about. These types of stories work because Aickman is a really good writer and his dialogue and characters “make sense” even when it is hard to tell exactly happened. I have enjoyed the stories so far but it’s not a something I’m going to tear through and I’m just reading one or two selections at a time between other books.
I picked up this collection at a library book sale, sadly without the dust jacket with I understand was done by Edward Gorey, and I understand Aickman’s books are not terribly common on the used book market for some reason.
Gods & golems by Lester Del Rey
I just started this collection of five novellas by Lester Del Rey. Del Rey is a very recognizable name because of his editing and publishing but I’d been reading raves about him by Avram Davidson and other writers and finally found a collection of Del Rey’s own work. So far it is staggeringly good. I’m partway through the first, “Vengeance is mine,” which began as a fairly tender story about an intelligent if naive robot on the Moon who is awaiting the return of his human masters, who have apparently been destroyed by war.