From Publishers Weekly
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Chabon teams up with the editors of Dave Eggers's McSweeney's magazine to create a fiction anthology with an innovative, simple concept: the stories are driven by adventurous plots and narrative action, in contrast to the current trend toward stories that are "plotless and sparkling with epiphanic dew," as Chabon writes in his introduction. The roster includes such heavyweights as Michael Crichton, Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, Nick Hornby and Harlan Ellison. As the retro title might suggest, the collection is heavy on sci-fi and detective stories, often updated with contemporary twists. Crichton offers a detective yarn called "Blood Doesn't Come Out," in which a disgruntled PI takes out his frustration on his wife in a cheeky spin on the domestic violence that punctuates the pulp fiction of Jim Thompson and James A. Cain. Hornby's contribution is an entertaining sci-fi story called "Otherwise Pandemonium," about a man who buys a VCR that fast-forwards into an apocalyptic future. In Rick Moody's "The Albertine Notes," a debilitating drug called Albertine wreaks havoc by sending users back in time to relive their memories. Dave Eggers's "Up the Mountain Coming Down Slowly" is a thoughtful story in which a woman climbs Kilimanjaro to bolster her self-confidence after experiencing a personal crisis, but proves oblivious to the deaths of three porters when the weather on the mountain turns ugly. Half a dozen or so stories are markedly slight, but overall this is a strong collection.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Set up five years ago, this was a literary magazine and here is the tenth issue. It is now well established in America and this issue includes new work from Aron Chabon, Eggers, Stephen King, Nick Hornby, Elmore Leonard and others. I particularly enjoyed Nick Hornby's tale of the end of the world as seen first on a video recorder. It is chilling and vastly readable. Also, the Elmore Leonard story of fearless young Carlos, who shoots a bank-robbing killer who has eaten his ice-cream cone, is a humdinger. This volume makes first class bedside reading.
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