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Attack of the Jazz Giants: and Other Stories Hardcover – June 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Golden Gryphon Press; First Edition edition (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930846347
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930846340
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,273,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Frost (Fitcher's Brides) demonstrates his mastery of the short story form in what will surely rank as one of the best fantasy collections of the year. These 14 well-crafted tales, each illustrated by Jason Van Hollander, take a sympathetic, often witty but always unsparing look at humanity. "Madonna of the Maquiladora" highlights the injustice of godless big business using religion to control the masses. Sorrow, anger and surrealistic allegory merge in "Collecting Dust," in which a child attempts to keep his dysfunctional family from its doom. Turning genre on its head with brio, "A Day in the Life of Justin Argento Morrel" wickedly subverts the space mission tale. "The Road to Recovery," a previously unpublished novella, amusingly mixes a Hope-Crosby road movie with space opera. In the title story, Frost turns Horace Walpole's Prince Manfred into a Southern racist upon whose Castle of Otranto–like plantation rain jazz instruments of destruction. "In the Sunken Museum" nightmarishly explains Poe's last days, while "From Hell Again" finds horror in Jack the Ripper's pocket watch. Karen Joy Fowler's foreword and John Kessel's afterword round out this excellent collection.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In the collection-opening "The Girlfriends of Dorian Gray," the hero is a gourmand who, like Dorian Gray, doesn't want to deal with consequences. Frost is all over the map after that, with the bizarre "Touring Jesusworld," about a theme park based on the historical Jesus; a speculative piece on Poe's last days, "In the Sunken Museum"; a genuinely bizarre take on space opera cliches, "A Day in the Life of Justin Argento Morrel"; and a number of hard-hitting social commentaries set in the freedom afforded by sf settings. "Collecting Dust" takes a long, surreal look at the dysfunctionality of a suburban family; "The Bus" carries a homeless man to a strange, horrible fate; and "Attack of the Jazz Giants" watches as a plantation owner and head of the local Klan is destroyed by enormous musical instruments appearing out of nowhere and the strains of jazz on the radio. Frost's stories are funny and tragic, thoughtful observations on human phenomena; together they make a collection very well worth reading. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

I'm a writer under the broad umbrella of fantasy literature. That means I'm not speaking of elf quests and swords and magic necessarily, but of things that might fall into the bins marked "High Weird" or "Disturbing," too. I write horror, but not the sort that splatters; rather, the kind that discomfits. Fantasy and horror are means to explore things that sometimes can't be come at head on. Sometimes they're put in play just to amuse. But always to surprise.

I workshop fiction in a number of groups with a good batch of writers whose ranks include (or have included) Judith Berman, Ann Tonsor Zeddies, Karen Joy Fowler, John Kessel, James Patrick Kelly, Kelly Link, Jonathan Lethem, and Nalo Hopkinson. I also know a number of writers who do not workshop and should not workshop. Like anything else, whether or not you want feedback and opinions is matter of knowing yourself.

I teach writing--peripatetically--at Swarthmore College in PA, at Write By The Lake in Madison, WI, at wrtiers' conferences in Pennsylvania, etc. It's a different part of the brain, teaching, and good writers don't necessarily make good teachers, just as the reverse is true.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Each of Nebula, Hugo, Tiptree, International Horror Guild, and World Fantasy Award finalist Gregory Frost's outstanding tales of fantasy is enhanced by the illustrations of Jason Van Hollander in Attack Of The Jazz Giants And Other Stories, a compendium of imaginative and entertaining short stories. Readers are treated to stories of an apocalyptic being that hides in a Ukrainian village; a horror that dwells in Jack the Ripper's pocket watch; a crossroads in which the Castle of Otranto connects with the Depression Era South, and more. Featuring a foreword by bestselling author Karen Joy Fowler and an afterword to each individual tale by award-winning author John Kessel, Attack Of The Jazz Giants And Other Stories is a dazzling compilation that takes the reader on a dizzying journey through fractured time and space.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Latus on July 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Frost has a gift for hooking you by the collar and dragging you into quirky worlds made believable, then turning you to gaze from there back into the accepted world as through a wavery two-way mirror. Thus you find yourself looking with tilted head at the homeless, or the use of religion to exploit workers, or the over-worked, ever-dissolving family, and perhaps, finally, seeing them in ways that resonate in the day-to-day. His stories are odd, quirky, angry and amusing. And they echo. Well worth the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on March 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
There's never a dull moment in Attack of the Jazz Giants. No weak entries, no experimental drivel, nothing derivative, just good stories from start to finish.

The collection begins well with "The Girlfriends of Dorian Gray," the humorous story of a glutton who passes on the cost of sins to his dates, moves on to biting social satire and commentary with "The Madonna of the Maquiladora", "Collecting Dust" and "The Bus", segues into science fiction with "A Day in the Life of Justin Argento Morrel" and "Divertimento" before moving back into (admittedly black) humor in the title story "Attack of the Jazz Giants" at its midpoint.

The second half begins with three dark tales ("Some Things are Better Left", "Lizaveta", "In the Sunken Museum"), veers towards sarcasm on its way to slapstick comedy (the darkly funny "Touring Jesusworld" followed by the Hope-Crosby homage "The Road to Recovery"), briefly dips its toes into the murky waters of the Thames (with a Jack the Ripper story called "From Hell Again"), and ends with a fable ("How Meersh the Bedeviler Lost His Toes"). Throughout, Frost shows a mastery of the short form that other writers can only envy and readers can't help but enjoy.

Reviewing the story information at the very beginning of this volume is instructive, if only because it demonstrates to those sampling his short work for the first time that Gregory Frost has been quietly penning funny, tragic, thoughtful, and vividly imagined short stories and novellas for a quarter of a century. Further research indicates that he's written several novels and some three-dozen short stories during that period. Noting that there are only fourteen examples of his work contained in Attack, you're left wanting more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on June 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a regular reader of speculative fiction, particularly of the progressive and surreal variety, somehow I have remained ignorant of Gregory Frost's unique work. Well, better late than never. Frost examines the dark side of the human condition with a sly surrealism that is so subtle that it becomes creepy and disarming. Even in his occasional comedy tales - like this volume's sly opener "The Girlfriends of Dorian Gray." This collection is a multi-genre powerhouse of Frost's best work, but keep in mind that genre exercises such as supernatural creatures, science fiction gadgets, and fantasy settings are just window dressing for Frost's main phenomena of interest. Great examples are "A Day in the Life of Justin Argento Morrel" in a which a stereotypical sci-fi spaceship is the setting for an incisive tale of madness and betrayal, "Collecting Dust" which looks at the disintegration of the American family via a family that is literally disintegrating, and "The Bus" which uses a rather cheeky evil vehicle to examine how society feeds off the unfortunate. Frost also deserves props for his unique takes on historical fiction, like "In the Sunken Museum" in which Edgar Allan Poe is driven to real madness in a museum based on own his tales of madness, and "From Hell Again" which is an offbeat look at the old mystery of Jack the Ripper. And finally, the apotheosis of Frost's mastery is the stupendous "Madonna of the Maquiladora" - a devastating critique of human suffering and exploitation - which combines science fiction, religion, and social commentary more effectively than any short story I've ever seen. [~doomsdayer520~]
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