Friday, November 28, 2014

InterGalactic Medicine Show: Big Book of SF Novelettes (InterGalactic Medicine Show Big Books)

The nice thing about story collections is that you can quickly get past the bad stories. The downfall, is that once you find a story that has characters you really like, it is over too soon. The novelettes in this collection are a little longer than typical stories, but still in the "short" category. Few of the stories were really memorable.

Content list available at producer's site

Introduction by Edmund R. Schubert, read by Stefan Rudnicki - A nice introduction of the advantages of development that can take place in novelettes (and the disadvantages of longer stories costing more on a per-word basis.)

“Sojourn for Ephah” by Marina J. Lostetter, read by Arthur Morey - something with some church and colony.

“Brutal Interlude” by Wayne Wightman, read by Paul Boehmer - A pet-shop owner is attracted to a woman who runs a tea shop across the street. He finally gets the courage to talk to her, and she returns to his shop to ask him a favor. But then she gets chosen for a reality show that monitors every last minute of their life. Contestants are paid well and get what they want, but they can't leave the show as long as they produce good ratings. She is miserable at first, but then she transforms herself into a new personality. She uses this notoriety to manipulate her fans to carry out their base desires and eventually destroy all of those that set up the show. It all makes a strong statement on the gradual debasement of society.

“Under the Shield” by Stephen Kotowych, read by Stefan Rudnicki - Something about revisionist history, Russians and a death ray.

“Hologram Bride” by Jackie Gamber, read by Roxanne Hernandez - Some girls go as part of a marriange exchange program to another planet. They discover the marriage isn't what they thought it was. (Something about being shared, and hormonal craziness of men and outward appearance of women.) They also end up foiling a plan of a older woman there. It's a little farfetched. Somehow these aliens have very similar deep-set values, but very different physical values.

“The Curse of Sally Tincakes” by Brad R. Torgersen, read by Emily Rankin - Some type of race where all the women seem to die, and this woman just ends up in the hospital at the end.

“The Absence of Stars” by Greg Siewert, read by Arthur Morey - Something about a roving black hole that wiped away Pluto.

“Essay: Making Ender Smart” by Orson Scott Card, read by Orson Scott Card - It all seemed very logical.

“Mazer in Prison” by Orson Scott Card, read by Stefan Rudnicki - I think I read this in another of IGMS collection before.

“When I Kissed the Learned Astronomer” by Jamie Todd Rubin, read by Paul Boehmer - A simple love story that happens to lead to a discovered alien ship. Not a "great" story, but the simple innocence made it one of my favorites in this collection.

“Body Language” by Mary Robinette Kowal, read by Gabrielle de Cuir - A motion capture pupeteer uses her skills to help rescue a kidnapping victim, and in turn unravel a number of different cover-ups. It almost tries to be a thriller.

“Tabloid Reporter to the Stars” by Eric James Stone, read by Stefan Rudnicki - I remember reading this one earlier as a flash-fiction short story. This version expands on the characters, but still relies on the main hook. I think I liked the shorter version better.

“On Horizon’s Shores” by Aliette de Bodard, read by Emily Rankin - An alien race on an important commercial planet is proving difficult to interact with. Some people receive a treatment that allows them to become more like them. They need to carry out there mission and return before they loose their humanity for good. One person is in it for relative and ends up staying. Or something like that. There was an interesting premise, but I seemed to have lost the story.

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