Twenty-one tales by a mythologist for the new millennium, SHIVA AND OTHER STORIES brings together some of Malzberg's finest work from the 80s and the 90s for the first time, including many stories featured in major Year's Best anthologies. From pragmatists like Huey "Kingfish" Long, who plays human nature like a pat-hand of cards to win the presidency and then deal with a punk named Adolf Hitler, to soulless bureaucrats, to a long parade of recalcitrant dreamers who tragically attempt to impose fantasy on ...
Twenty-one tales by a mythologist for the new millennium, SHIVA AND OTHER STORIES brings together some of Malzberg's finest work from the 80s and the 90s for the first time, including many stories featured in major Year's Best anthologies. From pragmatists like Huey "Kingfish" Long, who plays human nature like a pat-hand of cards to win the presidency and then deal with a punk named Adolf Hitler, to soulless bureaucrats, to a long parade of recalcitrant dreamers who tragically attempt to impose fantasy on unyielding reality, Malzberg shows that neither super-science nor djinni magic can prevail against human folly. At the same time, he's very funny. A time traveler must confront the crimes he may have committed against himself. A moralist puts his indignation ahead of his survival instinct, again, and again, and again; a detective investigates the murder of the 20th Century itself. This is a wry and brilliant collection by one of the greatest social critics in science fiction.
"Folly for Three"
"Posar: With the Aliens"
"Demystification of Circumstance"
"I'm Going Through the Door"
"The Trials of Rollo"
"Tap-Dancing Down the Highways and Byways of Life, etc."
"What We Do on Io"
"O Thou Last and Greatest!"
"On the Heath"
"Ready When You Are"
"The Twentieth Century Murder Case"
"The Shores of Suitability"
SAMPLE TEXT from Tap-Dancing Down the Highways and Byways of Life, etc."
He came out of the hedges with an angrily uncertain expression, a hesitancy in his gestures. The gun, however, looked quite positive as he shoved it in my ribs. "Give me all your money," he said, "right now." "This isn't very nurturing of you, Cecil," I said. "It also isn't legal." "Don't give me ‘nurturing,' " he said in a tortured whine. "Just give me the money." Carefully I put my hand in my pocket, fumbled for my wallet. "You'll regret this, Cecil," I said. "I know your parents. They'll be ashamed of you--" He reversed the gun and slammed me across the face with the butt. I do not mind saying that it hurt, but I took it with frozen expression, resolved not to show emotion. As he shifted the gun back to firing position, I could feel the blood crawling down a cheekbone. How humiliating, I thought. But of course, humiliation is part of the package here. "Just shut up and hand it over now," he said. The gun shook in his hand. Overhead a helicopter prowled, rattling the sky. I could smell the gasoline fumes, leaching onto the pastoral, deserted suburban street. This civilization guards at all times against the illusion of beauty. I opened the wallet and stroked the bills, took out the clumped hundreds. "Now," I said, "you should understand remorse--" "Fool!" he said, snatching the wallet from my hand. "The whole thing!" He backed away two paces, clawed through it. "Three thousand dollars," he said at length. "You're holding out on me. Where's the rest of it?" "I gave you all I had, Cecil--" "You're a liar!" he said. His face clutched in petulance, he looked as if he were going to cry, a most embarrassing posture for a man of his age and history. "I want it all!" He seized me by the throat, squeezed. The impact made me groan, and I could feel a fresh wave of blood cascading. "Give it to me!" he said. I struggled in my pocket, removed the ten hundreds I had folded away separately. "Here," I said, suffocating in his grasp, barely able to articulate. "As if it will do you any good." He released me, pushed me away, counted the money frantically. "There's still another hundred," he said. "You're holding out on me." "That's all of it," I said. I stood shaking by the fence, the helicopter clattering overhead, feeling the pain now. "You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Cecil. A man of your background, your opportunities. Your parents will be horrified when I tell them--" He looked at me with fury, and then, suddenly, centered the gun. "I told you to shut up!" he said. "You mention my name or my parents again, and I'll blow you away!" "It's the truth, Cecil!" I said angrily, touched, felt the pain in my injured throat. "You're a disgrace to your heritage, and everyone should know about it. I'll tell--" He fired the gun. The bullet caught me squarely in the forehead, and I fell. His receding footsteps mingled with the sound overhead. I lay near the tangled bushes for a good fifteen or twenty minutes this time. I must have been dead when they finally pulled me up with the ropes, took me inside, returned me to the all-purpose institute, and performed the standard procedures. At length, cleaned up and given fresh clothing--the cuts on the face were superficial, but they had to do painstaking work on a bruised larynx--I was hauled in front of them and roundly chastised. "I know," I said, hoping to forestall more of it after the initial onslaught. "I shouldn't have done it."