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Dead Men Don't Cry: Science Fiction by Nancy Fulda Paperback – February 28, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Ms Fulda is an accomplished writer, easily sketching out new worlds and drawing the reader in....  If you like thoughtful science fiction shorts, I recommend this collection. --Good Book Alert

A phenomenal collection overall. Fulda has great imagination, a strong writing style and perfect sense of how to use pace and drama in short form writing. Highly recommended. - Amazon Reviewer

The writing in these works is near perfect and it is no surprise to me that the author has collected nominations and awards for her stories. - Papyrus Independent Author Reviews

There is only one way to wake up in the morning, and that is with "Pastry Run." Ditch your current pastry delivery service and get this one. Space traffic and a solar flare? They deliver. My favorite of the great stories to be had in here. - S.J. Wist of Fantasy Cookie

From the Author

It's said that writer's stories are like a mother's children. She loves them, not merely despite their flaws, but also because of them.

Presented here is a collection of my writings over the past ten years. Within these pages you will find tales of computers that invent God, minds that travel through time, electronic ghosts, and deceased extraterrestrials. Some of these stories have received more professional acclaim than others, but in my eyes, all are beloved.

The opening story, "Let There Be Write", is technically nonfiction. It appeared in Strange Horizons as a mini-article and is arguably my most popular creation. Certainly a number of people have told me it made them laugh.

"Pastry Run" was written in a single afternoon while trailing my then-two-year-old son around the house. It was so thoroughly disliked by my critique group that I nearly shelved it. I'm now glad I didn't, because it became my second professional-level sale.

"Dead Men Don't Cry", the title story of this anthology, was written with an eye toward plot. I sought to keep the action lively and the tension high. For the most part I succeeded, but if I were rewriting it today I'd get rid of the white-room staff meeting in the opening.

"Blue Ink" was written for a high school writing contest, and won. I expanded the story a few years later. I still love it even though the subject matter is hopelessly cliche.

"Backlash" grew out of my experience watching a friend struggle with post-traumatic stress syndrome. I feel a bit sorry for everything I put Eugene through during this story. He's a good guy, and deserves better.

"Monument" may be my most jaded creation. It asks the question: "How would humanity really react to extraterrestrial visitors?"

"All Praise to the Dreamer" was commissioned for Apex Books' Aegri Somnia anthology, and is one of those rare stories that took me places I never anticipated going. Tangent Online called it "as engrossing and brief and clever as a Twilight Zone episode" and reported that "Fulda's story hooks your attention from the first sentence and stays with you long past the startling, yet fitting, end."

"The Breath of Heaven" grew out of a concept that's enthralled me since high school: a reversal of the Evil Robot trope in which a computer is stalked by a human. Sacia is one of my favorite fictional creations. Perhaps I'll tell the rest of her story someday.

"Ghost Chimes" has the distinction of being the first story to prompt my mother to ask whether the antagonist was based on her personality. For the record, no.

"The Man Who Murdered Himself" is one of my earliest stories and, surprisingly, also one of my most successful. It has been reprinted three times and has earned me more money than any other single work of fiction. It was also my first professional-level sale.

"A New Kind of Sunrise" is a personal favorite, and is the basis for my upcoming novel. It's set on a world where nomadic tribes circle the equator, always remaining within the twilight band between Day and Night.

I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoyed writing them.  By the time you've finished, perhaps I will have completed a few more.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1460953622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1460953624
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,277,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Maria Schneider on May 23, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm being stingy with the stars here because there are several stories that...well, they made me think. And I'm all about fun and zany adventures that are a thrilling ride. Don't get me wrong. Several of the stories, probably half of them, are of the fun, thrilling type. The others range from thought-provoking to downright hit-me-in-the-gut consequences. This is science fiction at its best. It's about the future while being about now. It's about dreams that are bigger than life. It's about reaching for those dreams--so close you can touch it--so close you can't call it failure, but, as many dreams do, it might just fall short of the pinnacle. If you like Orson Scott Card's work--it's like Card but with more heart.

The characters are drawn fully and realistically. It was easy to care about them and what happened to them. These stories will break your heart, make your day, give you something to think about--and best of all, they will entertain.

My favorites were Backlash, Pastry Run, Dead Men Don't Cry, and A New Kind of Sunrise. My least favorite was probably Blue Ink because I cared and I could oh, so relate. Dang thing will probably haunt me too.

Even if you don't normally like science fiction, or if you've never tried it, there is something for everyone in this anthology.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Review

I found a good mix of well-imagined science fiction stories in this collection. The strength of the author's imagination overcame a few minor storytelling deficiencies and left me with an overall positive impression. All of the stories were original, yet they often referred to well-known science fiction classics, and a handful of them delivered a powerful punch I will not soon forget.

Story Quality

Ms. Fulda has a bare-bones style well suited to the expression of her imaginative and quite original ideas in flash fiction or very short stories. Her shorter stories, in which the thesis carries the thought, capture the reader's attention more completely than the longer works, which I found to suffer thin plots and lack of character development. "Let There Be Write" is a playful retelling of the Hebrew story of creation, with the accoutrements of the writing craft replacing the well-known elements of the six days of creation. This is such a charming and delightful bit of flash fiction I believe just about any reader would enjoy the story. "Pastry Run" was long enough that I found my mind wandering to the implausibilities of the scenario; if the story had been rendered as flash fiction humour I believe it might have been more effective. "Dead Men Don't Cry", the title story, I found possibly the weakest of the entries. This full-fledged murder mystery didn't seem to conform well to the rubrics of whodunits, with critical characters and facts revealed piecemeal throughout the story.

I consider "Blue Ink" and "The Man Who Murdered Himself" the highlights of the collection.
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Tired phrase that "there is something for everyone" holds pretty well for this collection, but if you are looking for ingenious new ideas, this Fulda's work is not the best place to find them. Most of the stories explore pretty familiar territory (two, rather predictable ones, are about human cloning (memories and all) and identity problems that brings, one is placed among human colonists who forgot their origins, another among confused and conflicted AIs preparing future colony site who got their purpose all wrong, there are several hinging on action...) But Fulda writes well, her prose flows nicely and imagery is strong. The later especially applies to my favorite, "Monument", barely four pages long sketch about poignant memories of the first contact gone wrong.

Star-wise, this is perhaps not a clear "four", but "three" would be too low. Enough to put the author on "watch list".
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Some time ago I stumbled upon a story called "Hexes and Tooth Decay." It was a little unsubstantial for me, but the high level of creativity and writing skill made me want to read more of Nancy Fulda's work.

Which brings us to Dead Men Don't Cry, a collection of ten short stories. While I didn't personally care for all ten, they are all imaginative, well executed, fully formed tales and this is one of the best short fiction collections I've ever read.

The themes range from rip roaring adventure with a twist ("Pastry Run") to gut wrenching philosophy ("Blue Ink", "The Man Who Murdered Himself") and cover a lot of ground in between. On average they pull towards the heavier side, entwining rationality with emotion and making the reader think.

Equally impressive to the quality of the stories is their diversity. Fulda's settings are engrossingly atmospheric and diverse. Each world is fully formed and conveyed in tight, direct writing that manages to provide clear description without wasting a single word.

My personal favorites of the collection are the titular sci-fi detective story, the multi-level spy twister "Backlash" and the incredible final story "A New Kind of Sunrise," a slice-of-life style story in a world where every day is harsh with tradition and struggle.

Other highlights include the mind bending "Tammi's Garden", the highly disturbing "All Praise to the Dreamer" and the eerily logical tale called "The Breath of Heaven."

A phenomenal collection overall. Fulda has great imagination, a strong writing style and perfect sense of how to use pace and drama in short form writing.

Highly recommended.
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