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Punktown Paperback – May 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Prime (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1894815750
  • ISBN-13: 978-1894815758
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,100,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Like Ray Bradbury, Jeffrey Thomas writes dark science fiction at the border of horror, and like Bradbury's collection, The Martian Chronicles, Thomas's Punktown uses a shared setting to tell very different stories of very different characters, both human and alien. The Martian Chronicles follows the rise and fall of the human colonization of Mars, while Punktown's nine stories (seven previously unpublished) follow a more subtle arc, examining the course of human development, from destructive youth through the dangers of parenthood and career to late adulthood, when losses and the weight of memories bring their own horrors. As The Martian Chronicles uses the future to consider mid-American, midcentury concerns, Punktown uses the future to reflect a fin-de-siècle present shaped by brutally rapid change, by rampant abuse, by the dehumanizing acts of governments and corporations, and by serial-killer epidemics and schoolroom massacres. But in the end, Punktown little resembles The Martian Chronicles. And, though it is not in the same league as Bradbury's classic, Punktown demonstrates that Thomas is a rising talent of considerable power and imagination.

In "The Reflections of Ghosts," an artist clones himself to make art for sadistic patrons, until he finds himself trapped in the ultimate self-absorption. The shadows of Poe and Lovecraft lie subtly over "The Palace of Nothingness," a mysterious, abandoned factory that may not be empty after all. And a chip-implanted detective who can forget nothing must examine mass-murder scenes in "The Library of Sorrows." --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Thomas is a very good wordsmith with a fecund and detailed imagination. In this collection of 10 short stories, seven original to the volume, he paints scenes from the dark and dystopic Punktown on the far-future colony world of Oasis. Gore abounds, severed heads and leaking entrails no less alarming because they belong to aliens or robots. Artists and industrialists in Punktown create their works in fleshAor something like it; gruesome has a different meaning there. The stories' appeal is to the senses, largely through violence and horror, but paradoxically, most of the tales are told through summary narrative. Fascinating as the events and conceptual inventions may be, they come to us dulled and mediated. Info-dumps aboundAintrusive patches of information clothed as dialogue or shoehorned ad hoc wherever an explanation seems needed. The dialogue is generally torpid, devoid of character, often badly serving the plot. Except for a remarkable talent for impelling first sentences, the composition skills Thomas displays are crude. He manages here and there some interesting symmetries, as in "Wakizashi," where hara-kiri, childbirth, vegetarianism and capital punishment are all thrown into a fresh light in relation to an alien religious ritual. However, nearly all of the stories come off as mere assemblages, events, characters, themes thrown about, introduced without regard to dramatic structure and never penetrated or resolved. The best we get is a nicely set scene, well imagined, but with a splash of gore or a hollow ellipsis in place of a conclusion, and many pretty phrases, but loose ends everywhere. There is certainly great promise in this writing, but no great writing yet.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

More About the Author

I am the author of such science fiction/horror novels as DEADSTOCK (finalist for the John W. Campbell Award), BLUE WAR, HEALTH AGENT, MONSTROCITY (finalist for the Bram Stoker Award), LETTERS FROM HADES, THE FALL OF HADES, BONELAND and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET: THE DREAM DEALERS. My short story collections include PUNKTOWN, VOICES FROM PUNKTOWN, PUNKTOWN: SHADES OF GREY (coauthored with Scott Thomas), NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS, UNHOLY DIMENSIONS, VOICES FROM HADES, AAAIIIEEE!!! and THIRTEEN SPECIMENS. Stories of mine have been reprinted in THE YEAR'S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR and THE YEAR'S BEST HORROR STORIES. Though I consider Vietnam my second home, I am a resident of ye olde Massachusetts. Visit my blog at www.JeffreyEThomas.com.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I enjoyed this collection of stories greatly.
Joe Broers
As such, while most of the stories are interesting and the characters well developed, Thomas seems trapped in a romantic mode.
Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer
Anything and everything goes here, it must be read.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer on December 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Punktown, a near-future city in the vein of traditional post-apocalyptic or cyberpunk visions, is the heart of Jeffrey Thomas's collection of short stories, all of which take place in the eponymous city, Punktown - the affectionate name for the city Paxton on the alien world Oasis. The Choom, fairly human in appearance and culture, save for their shark-like mouths, are the natives of the planet and have opened their world for immigrants, which has made Paxton a melting pot of alien cultures, a new New York City. Dozens of races intermingle, but, invariably, the protagonists in each of the narratives is human, their antagonists either aliens - other immigrants to Oasis - or the city itself. The majority of stories in the collection of nine concern male protagonists with poor, or no, relationships with women, or, as in the case of "The Flaying Season", a woman with poor relationships with men: Punktown not only explores humanity's inability to interact healthily with their fellow inhabitants in the city of Paxton, but also itself.
Most interesting is the first story in the collection, "The Reflection of Ghosts", which approximates the viewing of a David Cronenberg film, but in prose. The plot concerns an artist whose art is created through the manipulation of his clones, in their incubation periods, to create horribly disfigured versions of himself. Like Cronenberg, Drew, the artist, is concerned with the possibilities of the flesh, finding infinite variations of life in the fusion of technology and genetic science.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on April 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
All I can say to this new author is...WOW! What a great compilation of stories. Interesting, well written, imaginative, and absorbing; you won't want to leave Punktown once you submerge yourself into its seedy depths.
On the planet of Oasis, an Earth established colony is formed called Paxton, but is known to everyone on Oasis as Punktown. In this colony, people from many different worlds and cultures live crowded into the apartments and streets, the colony overflowing with teeming life forms from the native Choom to the strange L'leweds and Antses and Waiais and of course the Humans.
Although each chapter is a separate story, they all blend into each other as a single fully developed tale of the colony itself, and the lives that carry out their existence there. When I read the first two chapters, I found myself being a little disappointed that they seemed to end rather "unfinished", like there should have been more wrap up to that particular tale. But as you read along, this feeling will fade because you realize that the overall concept of the book is that "life goes on", and you begin to feel the continuum of Punktown itself; as an entity comprised of individuals and not the individuals themselves.
My favorite chapter has to be the first one, "The Reflections of Ghosts", about an artist who clones himself to make artwork out of his creations, twisting the helix here and there to cause mutations according to whatever specs his customers wish. He calls them "Starfish" because of their complete lack of intelligence, but his narcissistic captivation with his "art" will be his downfall. Wait till you read about his "wall piece". Yuck.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cenobyte on February 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
Jeffrey Thomas' is a grim, grimy, and enthralling world. A genre-busting collection, Punktown has cyberpunk and horror (even a touch of splatterpunk) in its lineage, and a compelling collection of tales merging a smattering of species on a faraway planet with the gritty, crumbling, degraded desperation of life in a huge megopolis slowly suffering the unstoppable enfeeblement of its advancing age. A future noir in its own vein. Thomas' stories bring life and death, excess and blight, triumph and failure to Punktown with a clear, sharp writing style. Punktown is not to be missed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Raymond M. Coulombe on July 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Punktown blends S/F and elements of horror to create a future world of disturbing possibilities. Nine short stories, set on planet far away in time and space, in a city gone tough, vicious and criminal. Aliens, clones, robots, and something really scary, humans, inhabit a strange city with strange rules. Thomas gives us characters, no matter how flawed, that we can root for. Strange things lurk here, but the strangest of all are those that bring grace, atonement, justice and freedom. Enter Punktown, but don't turn your back on anybody and don't go unarmed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Zimm on May 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a short story addict. I saw this guy's punktown suggested to me because I read one of his short bios after a short story he wrote. So I got it. Wow. Great characters. Great stories. Can't believe this guy is not a bigger known deal. So much better than most stuff out there. If I was a millionaire I would just pay this guy to write. Read my other reviews. They rarely gush. Going to buy another of his books ASAP.
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