Locus of power

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It was as straightforward as I had hoped to find the November Locus in Manhattan. I simply walked up to the usual place on the newsstand at the Union Square Barnes & Noble and picked up a copy. I'm trying not to be frustrated that I don't yet have the ability to pull off similar feats in the city of Chicago. But it will come.

Anyway, I was finally able to read the Nick Gevers review of my chapbook, which leads off his short fiction column. It says, in part:

William Shunn is one of those SF writers who, because they specialize in short fiction, are not given quite the recognition they deserve—no novels, no mass-market publication, so only the plaudits of the cognoscenti of the short form. Yet Shunn is a fine writer; ingenious, stylish, closely in touch with current global trends and expert in producing thought-provoking near-future SF, and at last he has a collection to show off that keen ability, even if it is only of chapbook length. [It] contains six stories, including two impressive original novelettes.

"Objective Impermeability in a Closed System" is an intense evocation of the ethical and emotional dilemmas of a scientist of whom idealism is expected but for whom compromise is easier.... A temporal paradox exists; AIs and a time machine become involved; but rather than the conventional circular narrative this implies, Shunn opts for an unusual, psychologically resonant conclusion, and a subtle questioning of the essentials of cause and effect. The implications run quite deep.

A similar impatience with genre clichés informs "Not of This Fold," a first contact tale with a difference.... Perhaps a little predictably, [the Mormon missionary protagonist] becomes instrumental in communicating with the aliens, but the process is bizarre, eerie, ironic. Shunn's own Mormon background comes into idiosyncratic, richly humorous focus, and the soul's quest for consolation and communion is affirmed in salutarily non-sectarian fashion.

Those are about the best reviews one could hope for, and both stories made Gevers's recommended reading list for the month.

Steven H. Silver did not seem quite as enamored of the collection in The Fix, but he did call the writing in one story "reminiscent of Stanislaw Lem's" at times, and he seemed to find "Not of This Fold" very satisfying.

You can make up your own mind for a measly five bucks!

[ original post:  http://shunn.livejournal.com/432569.html ]

1 Comment

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-Salley Ashley

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This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on November 19, 2007 11:18 AM.

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