Book Report: George Alec Effinger Live! From Planet Earth

Your Humble Blogger is aware that he recently announced he was laying off the short stuff for a while. The thing is that when I picked up George Alec Effinger Live! From Planet Earth off the library shelf, I somehow thought it was a novel. Judging it now by the cover, I can’t imagine why I thought that; it’s much more plausible to misread the thing as a Festschrift than as a novel, but really it’s very clearly a collection of Mr. Effinger’s short stories. So. I read them anyway.

And, you know, I liked a lot of them. I thought “In the Bran Foundry” was very well done indeed, and “My Old Man” was better than it really should have been, and “Solo in the Spotlight” was marvelous. I enjoyed the O. Niemand stories, although of course as I like some of the authors whose style he borrows more than others, I get more out of some of the stories than others. And, in general, the stories I didn’t like so much were still pretty good, or at least not annoyingly bad.

I think, on the whole, it’s because I like Mr. Effinger’s sense of humor. I suspect that the thing I was complaining about in the Year’s Best anthology, with the sameness of bittersweet emotion, was really that I don’t share Mr. Dozois’ sense of humor. This happens; not everybody finds the same stuff funny. Since I find the funny stuff in this book actually funny, I’m willing to give it a break on various other aspects. And, of course, I think there are more stories in the book, and less slice-o-life stuff, but that could be because I was generally reading it in a good mood.

chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek,
-Vardibidian.

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