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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Starwater Strains, the seventh Gene Wolfe short story collection from Tor (Innocents Aboard, Strange Travelers, et al.) features 25 predominantly science fiction stories with diverse story lines that include a space-traveling canine, an unlikely alien abduction, a genetically resurrected purple T. rex, and a killer lake, to name a few.
"Viewpoint" explores the unreality of "reality" television by imagining a show where one contestant (in this case, a Pennsylvania mountain man named Jay) is given $100,000 in cash and let loose onto the streets of a city. With an implant in his forehead that shows viewers exactly what he sees and hears, the motivation is simple: Stay alive and keep the money. With every thug in the country closing in on him -- as well as the federal government's tax department -- Jay must use all his wilderness skills to survive the game. "Petting Zoo" is a touching, wistful story about an "inadequately socialized" boy and the dinosaur he created, imagining their meeting several years after being separated. "Hunter Lake" begins as an intimate story about a mother and daughter trying to connect during a wilderness outing, while the mother writes an article about a supposedly haunted lake that quickly turns into a horror of monumental proportions. "Pulp Cover" pits a lovelorn furniture store manager against the mysterious man who steals away the beautiful daughter of his boss -- except the mysterious man isn't human…
With stories that are witty, weird, wild and wondrous, Starwater Strains reaffirms Wolfe's place in the pantheon of storytelling masters. In a word: genius. Paul Goat Allen