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Vanishing Acts: A Science Fiction Anthology

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2002

    Worth the price of a book for Shunn and Chiang alone

    While some of the original stories in this volume are weaker than I'd like to see, the two long pieces alone are worth the price of admission. William Shunn's 'Dance of the Yellow-Breasted Luddites' is an old-fashioned brain-engaging SF story with a new-fangled sensibility and sensitivity, about researchers on an interstellar wildlife preserve confronted with a mystery threatening the survival of one of their species. It was nominated for a Nebula Award, and the only thing I don't understand is why I'd never heard of Shunn before. 'Seventy-Two Letters' by Ted Chiang is another magnificent creation from one of the sharpest and least prolific writers in SF today. Every story he writes is a gem, and this one, a kabbalistic steampunk allegory for the Human Genome Project, is no exception. Other very worthwhile stories include 'Links' by Mark W. Tiedemann and 'The Thing About Benny' by M. Shayne Bell, and the reprints by Suzy McKee Charnas, Bruce McAllister, and Avram Davidson are great too. But the two novellas alone make this book worth your attention.

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