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Polly! Paperback – November 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


Polly is a book aspiring writers should read just to study the craft. Goldin calls on everything he knows from the silly to the profound to create a story that starts out entertaining and winds up being thought-provoking. --Great Books Under $5

Fast moving, well-written, tongue-in-cheek dramatic comedy so representative of real-life in some aspects, it felt like coming home.  I found the story laugh-out-loud surprising at times. I thoroughly enjoyed Polly! --Flying With Red Haircrow

From the Back Cover

All hands on Decalogue! A protagonist readers will find it easy to identify and empathize with, a classic journey story told with wit, wisdom and deceptive ease, and the most interesting guest star ever--what's not to like, here? Perhaps writers who attempt a book like Polly! wanna crack or two across the face for their audacity (to parrot conventional wisdom)--but not if they can manage to pull it off this entertainingly.

--Spider Robinson, co-author of Variable Star by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1456336398
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456336394
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,670,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Philadelphia in 1947, Stephen Goldin is a Nebula Award finalist science fiction and fantasy author who's lived in California since 1960. He received a Bachelor's degree in Astronomy from UCLA and worked as a civilian space scientist for the U.S. Navy for a few years after leaving college, but has made his living as a writer/editor most of his life. He's published more than 40 books, and lots of articles and stories.

His first wife was fellow author Kathleen Sky, with whom he co-wrote the first edition of the highly acclaimed nonfiction book, THE BUSINESS OF BEING A WRITER. His current wife is fellow author Mary Mason. So far, they have co-authored two books in the beloved "Rehumanization of Jade Darcy" science fiction series about a female space mercenary who, when she doesn't have a convenient war to fight, works as a bouncer at an interspecies bar and grill.

His four-volume epic fantasy, the Parsina Saga, came about because he was bored with fantasies that all seemed to be either based on European mythology or else involved barbarian heroes. Instead he conceived an Arabian Nights-style adventure out of the dreams of his childhood and exciting movies like Ray Harryhausen's "7th Voyage of Sinbad." Genies in bottles and flying carpets are only some of the wonders that await the intrepid reader of SHRINE OF THE DESERT MAGE and the ensuing volumes.

In the mid-1970s he took E.E."Doc" Smith's novella "Imperial Stars" and expanded it to novel length, then wrote nine more original novels of his own to form the classic Family d'Alembert series. In the early 21st century though, unhappy with the way those first versions had become outdated, he wrote an entirely new first novel, TSAR WARS, with an entirely new universe and characters and then rewrote all the remaining novels to comply with it. The result was the completely re-envisioned Agents of ISIS series. While purists may insist on the original books, modern space opera readers have said they prefer the newer series for its better writing, deeper background, more believable (well, slightly) characters, and up-to-date technology. The books of the Agents of ISIS series are also considerably less expensive in ebook format than those of the original series.

His newest book is the fun--and funny--QUIET POST, set in a fantasy universe where almost anything can, and does, happen. It's surreal and was great fun to write; we hope it's at least as much fun for people to read!

Mr. Goldin served the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as editor of the SFWA Bulletin and as the organization's Western Regional Director. An atheist, he has lived with cats all his adult life. Artistically, he enjoys Broadway musicals and surrealist art.

Learn more about him at his Web site, Many of his books and stories can be bought through Parsina Press at

Photo by D.N. "Lynx" Crowe

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Jackson King on September 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stephen Goldin's POLLY takes on the subject addressed by some of humanity's most sacred tomes, and blows conventional wisdom to smithereens. Oh, it would also be viewed as highly irreverent, blasphemous and offensive, at least by those humans pretending to be in charge of life and the universe. This tale takes the case of a decent man who has suffered a few Job-like troubles, puts him into an encounter with a twenty-something young woman of mysterious powers, and sets him on the pathway to exploring why humanity has to fix itself using its own talents, rather than waiting for divine rescue. Very nice characterization, flawless dialogue, a great evocation of real world issues for real people, and a delightful put-down, or smack-down, for all the dogma-bred hyper-religionists who use spiritual faith as a tool to run the world. A great story with fine characters and an ensemble of scenes that nicely encourage the reader to not only "think for yourself" but to realize how much power to do good resides in the hands and heart of any person.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anna Erishkigal on April 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I find organized religion to be deeply offensive to what I *KNOW*. Polly, however, tickled my funnybone, with a deeply irreverent take on God not seen since Alanis Morrissette played god in the movie Dogma. This story was like reading one of those funny, feel-good stories you find in Guideposts magazine, only instead of scripture, this story is hilariously blasphemous to the teeny-tiny confines organized religion has tried to place around so vast a being as God.

I can't tell you how many times I giggled as the protagonist (Herodotus ... or 'Hero') navigates his way out of personal tragedy into a Kafhaesque situation where you ask yourself if he died and went to heaven, hell, or some purgatory deeply reminiscent of the Twilight Zone. Polly is irrational and funny, and as she drags Hero in and out of various situations, it will lead you to a much more empowered viewpoint of the Dude Upstairs.

If you are a religious person who believes that God truly makes wagers with the devil and tells people to go slit their son's throats to make burnt offerings, then is not the book for you.

4 Perfect Points
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Johnson C. Eng on October 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Life is not going too well for Rod, something his Jewish parents may not have anticipated when they gave him the name Herodotus. Within a short time, a week or so; his wife's left him, he's discovered he owes the IRS $8,000 and his bookstore burns down, with him asleep in its above-shop apartment - the point at which the reader joins the story.

Could it get worse? Perhaps so. Maybe a speeding ticket, on his way to stay at his brother's ranch, might be small fry, but it's yet another pointer towards disillusionment with life. The heat of the Mojave Desert doesn't help either, and certainly not when his Toyota suddenly breaks down. Fortunately, it's just outside the only property for miles around - a large white mansion. Strange? You can say.

There begins a rather unexpected diversion in Rod's journey through life, one that carries him and the reader into something of a modern-day version of Alice's Wonderland. No white rabbits, no, but a non-melting snowman on the front lawn marks the start of a series of yet more bizarre events.

The stage is clearly set, the markers in place, the pointers aimed at something beyond a simple tale, much more a fable of sorts. It's a fable with an intriguing and eminently plausible foundation, one that stretches from human foibles, failings and misunderstandings all the way through gods to the very nature of the universe - and life's place in it.

Does it work as a fable? In its premise and exposition; eminently so. In fact, it has a surer footing than most traditional fables, for it presents a wholly plausible and hugely down to earth (excuse the pun) explanation for the highly noble conclusion to which it leads.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joe Hempel on February 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This review can also be seen at topoftheheapreviews(top)com

After reading and reviewing Jade Darcy and the Affair of Honor I got the opportunity to review another of Stephen Goldin’s books. When perusing through his catalog I came across Polly! There was just something about this cover. It was the newer cover. A beautiful twenty-something girl looking directly at you with a look of compassion and love, with the whole world in her hand. I didn’t really care what the book was about, the cover just drew me in and made me want to read it.

So was what was beneath the cover as compelling and interesting as the image on front? In a word. YES!

Rod is a guy down on his luck. His wife left, his store burnt down, his apartment burnt down, the IRS is on him for around eight-grand, and his car broke down in the desert. Right in front of a mansion with a snowman in the front.

Yep. A Snowman. Made of real snow. In the desert. Thank that’s odd? Well just wait until you meet Polly!

Polly meets Rod – or Herodotus – and tells him to come inside and she’ll have her guys take care of his car, it’s been afflicted by a burst of xeron radiation, which is why it broke down. That’s what Polly said anyway.

So he goes inside, and the house is of course much larger on the inside than on the outside, and it seems she’s hosting a party. While Polly goes and gets a few things done he talks and mingles with some of the guests. They tell him about their problems and how Polly was there for them in their time of need. Each problem much worse than what his was. So when he states his problems, they just don’t seem like they aren’t that big of a deal. His quest now is to find out who, or what Polly is.
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