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"Universe # 16", ed. by Terry Carr





"Universe # 16", ed. by Terry Carr - review

Two stories from this book ended up on SECOND PLACE in my ratings. The quality is astonishing. Too bad this anthology is out-of-print in its entirety. The cover art, admittedly, sucks.

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Ronald Anthony Cross
"Hotel Mind Slaves"
© Universe # 16, 1986
--novella : 1987 Locus /13
--/ second place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ awesome scale


What a surprise! The novella of completely unknown to me writer jumped to second place, straight outpacing competion - well, it is wacky enough in the most grandiose way, to give you scale and ideas to feed your mind for a week to come. In the future, "hotels" evolve into their own independent empires, architecturally transform themselves into stupendous towers, oppressing and dominating the surrounding lands. It is a story of "break-away" from suffocating environment, comparable to "Against the Fall of Night", only with skewed psychedelic sensibilities. Cool.
review: 09-Jul-06 (read in 1987)


(art copyright: Patrick Woodroffe)

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George Zebrowski
"The Idea Trap"
© Universe # 16, 1986
Swift Thoughts, 2002
--short story : 1987 Locus /19
--/ second place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award
--/ style award
--/ awesome scale


Absolutely mind-boggling play of ideas and total visionary "guilty pleasure". The ideas come to life literally as a "sort-of" clouds in the world divided between hunters and dreamers, and drift toward the sunset over the mysterious city, to be harvested later for food. This echoes the other story of this writer ("The Word Sweep"), where words and ideas take literal physical form and cause either endless "bother", or inspired breakthroughs, depending on the quality of these words/ideas. Nothing like that ever appeared in SF field before, so for originality alone, this story takes the cake.
review: 09-Jul-06 (read in 1987)


(image credit: Souleage)

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Ian Watson
"The Legend of the Seven Who Found the True Egg of Lightning"


© Universe # 16, 1986
Salvage Rites and Other Stories, 1989
--/ cool sf story
--/ style award

"The Egg of Lightning", eh? What a wonderful idea alone. Maybe I should ask Ian Watson for rights to this idea and write epic fantasy about it. Or just give it to my son as a night-time story. Just kidding, of course, but maybe the egg of lightning is hatched by the flock of ruffled feathered thunder clouds, thunderously grumpy and sad with all these "teardrops of rain"
review: 09-Jul-06 (read in 1987)

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Robert Reed
"Treading in the Afterglow"

© Universe # 16, 1986
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

I do not remember much what the story is about, except that is was competent, and enjoyable. It got "fourth place" , so it must've been "really" enjoyable. First appearance of Robert Reed under his own name.
review: 09-Jul-06 (read in 1987)

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Lucius Shepard
"Voyage South From Thousand Willows"

© Universe # 16, 1986
--short story : 1987 Locus /11
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


Magnificient tale. Looks like it was not reprinted ever since, which is quite amazing... Very poetic tale, having the signature Shepard style of intense emotional intimacy with the reader (which is a development, and improvement upon Harlan Ellison's style, more warm than Ellison, but unfortunately more uneven)
review: 09-Jul-06 (read in 1987)

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"SF&F Reading Experience" is part of "Dark Roasted Blend / Thrilling Wonder" family of sites. We try to highlight the most entertaining and rewarding science fiction and fantasy, with emphasis on memorable reader experience, not necessarily general acceptance by the critics. Have fun, and delve into our extensive ratings and reviews!

Most reviews are written by Avi Abrams, unless otherwise noted. Reviews also appear on our unique historical retrospective page Wonder Timeline of Science Fiction. Feel free to submit your own review, if a particular story is not listed here.


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