Wednesday, May 7, 2014

And a Little Something Else for National Short Story Month -- 12 Robert Sheckley Collections from Open Road

     If you enjoy good sf short stories, you want to read Robert Sheckley if you haven't already.  Don't take my word for it.  Among the comments on Sheckley at Amazon and Wikipedia, we find the following:

** "Science fiction’s premier gadfly." —Kingsley Amis
** “If the Marx Brothers had been literary rather than thespic fantasists, they would have been Robert Sheckley.” —Harlan Ellison
** "Let’s say you are a devoted fan of Kurt Vonnegut’s books, love the sardonic comeuppance stories of John Collier and Roald Dahl, own all of Edward Gorey’s little albums and enjoy watching reruns of 'The Twilight Zone.' Where else can you find similar instances of sly, macabre wit, of such black-humored, gin-and-tonic fizziness in storytelling? The answer may be unexpected: among the many masters of satirical science fiction and fantasy. Robert certainly a leading example."—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
** "I had no idea the competition was so terrifyingly good." - Douglas Adams
** "Probably the best short-story writer during the 50s to the mid-1960s working in any field." -- Neil Gaiman

     Those sound like pretty good recommendations, don't they?

     On May 13, Open Road will release a dozen short story collections by the late great Robert Sheckley.  A number of these titles have been fairly hard to come by for years.  E-Reads had begun reissuing Sheckley's work prior to that publisher's acquisition by Open Road; it's nice to see Open Road continue with those releases.  The collections that will be released are:

Can You Feel Anything When I Do This?
Citizen in Space
Divine Intervention
Is That What People Do?
Notions: Unlimited
The People Trap
Pilgrimage to Earth
The Robot Who Looked Like Me
Shards of Space
Store of Infinity
Uncanny Tales
Untouched by Human Hands

     And at just over three bucks each, they're a real bargain.  You'll find a lot of great sf in these collections; don't take my word for it -- listen to those other guys I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

     (I'd like to note one of my favorite Sheckley stories -- it's not science fiction or fantasy, but it's got that nice macabre feel that Michael Dirda refers to in his comment.  The story is a lovely little blood-freezer called "Fear in the Night," and you'll find it in Is That What People Do? and also in Pilgrimage to Earth.  If you liked John Collier, Roald Dahl, and the old Alfred Hitchcock Presents tv shows, you'll like this one.  Worth the price of the book all by itself.)

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