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Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories Paperback – June 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Lethe Press (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590210948
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590210949
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 7.9 x 4.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,072,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* After three series novels (The Outback Stars, 2007; The Stars Down Under, 2008; The Stars Blue Yonder, 2009), McDonald fields a first collection that comes close to being another novel. In it the paths of three characters cross and converge, though in some stories, none of them appears. Foremost among them is the commanding figure of Diana Comet, who is young, mature, and maturer, respectively, in three stories; absent but influential in another; incognito in two more. Cubby Salaman is a 12-year-old runaway in two tales, later a vigorous young man aboard a ship on which he reencounters the third recurring character, Graybeard, a sentient, customarily immobile figurehead. Their stage is an alternate Earth touched by magic. That alone doesn't make these stories what McDonald calls them, improbable. That quality arises more from the facts that Diana is a cross-dressing man, and plenty of the other protagonists, Cubby included, are gay. Their world isn't much easier for gays and transgender folk than ours is, yet they are winningly heroic, psychologically complex, and sympathetic. And because theirs is an alternate world, they prove their mettle in genre milieus ranging from the western to contemporary (in our world) desert warfare, with technologies ranging from sail and horse to helicopter. No matter the setting and the tools, their stories are all enthralling. --Ray Olson

Review

''Every so often, a book gets published that pushes the limits of the ordinary; or in the case of Sandra McDonald's Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories, transcends it with a wise and playful intelligence. This collection of 15 new and previously published short fiction delights with tales from a world where the mundane and fantastic intertwine in strange and marvelous ways.'' --EDGE Publications

''In that grand tradition of the fantastic that runs from Ray Bradbury to Jeffrey Ford -- and sitting happily beside those writers at their richest and most enchanting -- McDonald's collection is a book to fall in love with: a beautiful truth at the heart of every whimsy; every tale turning us back to history, to reality, even as it reinvents our world; and the collected whole even greater than the sum of its exquisitely interwoven parts.'' ----Hal Duncan, award-winning author of Vellum and Ink

''Every so often, a book gets published that pushes the limits of the ordinary; or in the case of Sandra McDonald's Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories, transcends it with a wise and playful intelligence. This collection of 15 new and previously published short fiction delights with tales from a world where the mundane and fantastic intertwine in strange and marvelous ways.'' --EDGE Publications

More About the Author

Sandra McDonald spent 8 years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, battling frostbite, boonie pigs, and the perils of midrats. Later, as a Hollywood assistant, she inhabited a lovely cubicle at CBS Television City and skipped through the halls at Disney Studios in Burbank. She currently lives in Florida, writing award-winning science fiction and adventure stories for adults and kids. She holds a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine and teaches college online until her blockbuster movie comes out.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Cardamone on June 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the most successful collection of linked short stories I've encountered in any genre. Typically such a collection contains a few "bridge" stories, slopped on mortar to give the book cohesion, but Sandra McDonald really wields a professional pen. With prose equal to Ellen Kushner's in clarity, the tales reveal expert world-building, one populated by a talking statue, gay cowboys, firemen and their fairy folk, and of course the indomitable Diana Comet herself. I can't compliment the execution enough, as the stories really connect with the momentum of a well-crafted novel. The author deftly tackles religion, gender and sexuality in a way that never undermines the plot nor makes the characters seem like loudspeakers. "The Fireman's Fairy" and "Diana Comet & The Collapsible Orchestra" are stand-out stories in terms of originality, but every time the talking statue from "Graybeard and the Sea" reappeared, I leaned in closer to the text and just gobbled up McDonald's choice words. My only complaint is that I wasn't too fond of the author's notes at the end of each story. Meant to be either coy or expansive, I felt they broke the "less is more" rule. None of which distracted from this amazing book. With "Diana Comet" the sum equals more than the parts; this book feels as if you've boarded a charming ocean liner, and with McDonald at the wheel, a fantastic voyage is assured.

This review refers to an advanced readers copy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lucy Huntzinger on March 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've been reading Sandra McDonald's stories as they are published at Strange Horizons and other sites, so I'm pleased to find some of my favorites here along with further stories of Diana Comet and the people who weave (and are woven) in and out of her life. Every story provides surprises, delight and wonder. There is compassion, humor, decency, toughness, kindness, strength and passion to carry with you when you are done. I enjoyed the journey of the linked stories so much, including the footnotes and the witty asides. Her characters are unforgettable. I will, unlike most short story collections I own, dip back into this one over and over again. Long live Diana Comet!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Andrews on March 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You know how it's hard to write reviews when you really like a book? Well, it's like this. This book is awesome. Even the cover is awesome. You should totally buy it.

QUILTBAG content, fantasy, alternate Massachusetts. Even a tribute to Brokeback Mountain. It ticks all sorts of boxes.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mari aka. Lonewolf on July 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
I bought this book, thinking that I would have a few hours of great and fun reading ahead of me.....I was soo wrong!!
Okay short-stories, but over-all really boring and a waste of time and money.
There are two gay cowboys ( of course) in one of the stories, telling that this one guy thinks och longs for this other guy...that's it.
And then there's two lesbian soldiers ( of course!) and they kiss once...that's it.
So boring!! Wish I could send this book back and get another one instead.

I would like to give this book 0 stars, but I can't give less than 1.
A tip ; don't buy this book, a real waste!
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