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By Tim on 12-05-04
Great Writing - Mediocre Plots
First of all, I do have to say that the writing (merely as a form of art) in this collection is really good. In particular, "Watching Matthew" and "Just Another Cowboy" were very well written - very valuable lessons for how to write effectively.
My complaint here is echoed by another reviewer - that the plots really are mediocre in most cases here. For those used to really great Science Fiction ("The Veldt" or "A Sound Like Thunder" by Bradbury, "The Head" by Robert Bloch or "The Sentinel" by Arthur C. Clarke for example), these just don't hold their own. There are exceptions however - "Shoes", while probably the shortest story in the collection, is an excellent story as is "The Boy's Got Talent". Both have pretty decent plots. And even though the plot of "Just Another Cowboy" wasn't stellar, the writing was so good that I caught myself laughing over and over during the read.
"Presence" and "Watching Matthew" were both almost a little like reading Stephen King - both were well written, but just didn't really go anywhere.
It wasn't that I thought this book wasn't worth it, but more a disappointment that there wasn't more depth to the stories themselves. Also, I would say that those strictly labeled as "Science Fiction" stories were in the minority.
My recommendation: Don't necessarily pass over this one, but just be aware that this isn't an anthology of classics. I was glad I'd downloaded it - just wished everything was at the level of the better stories.
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