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The Barbie Murders Mass Market Paperback – May 5, 1955

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; First Edition edition (September 1, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425045803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425045800
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,162,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark VINE VOICE on September 16, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"I am a bomb, said the bomb..."

Those are the opening words of "Bagatelle" the first of the stories in John Varley's, The Barbie Murders, which impressed me very much when I was a kid. I don't own a copy of it and I haven't reread it in many, many years, but the impressions that remain to me are of a truly wonderful book of short science fiction.

Varley is an articulate and very human science fiction writer. In a sense, he can be thought of as one of those writers who is `in between' by which I mean he is far enough back in time to write prose that is worth reading, while being close enough to the present to avoid the hackneyed storytelling and chiseled-jawed space opera of the Golden Age (if you don't know what I'm talking about, find and read any of E. E. "Doc" Smith's "Lensman" series).

As a writer whose best-known works appeared in the Seventies and Eighties, his concern with gender and gender roles (the Gaea Trilogy, the Barbie Murders), and technology (the Barbie Murders, the Ophiuchi hotline) are natural and well-handled. His speculative forays into implanted technologies, biological modification and other science-fiction technological themes are well integrated into stories that can often offer the reader subtle, intelligent subtexts (e.g., does religion itself create the possibility of sin?) and his work creates a natural background for the nihilistic science fiction that was to be written by the young, ambitious science-fiction authors of the eighty's cyberpunk genre like William Gibson, John Shirley and Bruce Sterling.

As I wrote before, I am reviewing from memory, but my memory tells me that the Barbie Murders is an excellent collection.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I find Varley's short stories are generally better than his novels. The stories in The Barbie Murders are not quite his best (look for "The Persistance of Vision" -- also out of print) but still worth the time. Favorites: title story, Equinoctals, Picnic on Nearside.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BringData on March 1, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Everything written by John Varley is worth reading. This book is a collection of his short stories. They are each amazing and creative pieces of imagination and wonder. I think that doing a great job at writing a short story is not so easy, and he is one of the people who really does short stories justice. His novels are just as creative and engaging.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've been an occasional reader of Vance for years, and at one point I know I read the title story- a very clever mix of murder mystery and sf, which also asks some fascinating questions about identity and culture.

I very much appreciate that while these are stories around 60 years old, the sex roles are not at all rigid- rqther the contrary. Not only are there excellent female protagonists, but in several of the stories it's routine for people to change their sex, sometimes on a frequent basis- and same-sex relationships are accepted as well.It's the beginnings of gender-queer.

Apart from that, the stories are well-written and solidly plotted, and range from the optimistic to the bleak.

And bonus sentient black hole!

Most or all of these tales are set in a future in which aliens have conquered the earth, but humans have inhabited the rest of the solar system. I am not familiar enough with Vance's work to know if this is covered in some of his novels, but I am curious now.

Recommended as a solid sf short story anthology that is far less dated than it seems like it ought to be!
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