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The Inner City Paperback – February 28, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


(Starred Review) ... an engrossing collection of 15 tales of the ways individuals and society influence one another.  ... The tone shifts easily from fairy tale storytelling ("FishWish") to internal monologue ("The Escape Artist"). Though the universally strong stories have no explicit connection, they blend to suggest a world that is at once recognizable and distorted, providing a new, clear perspective on the forces shaping contemporary Western culture.--Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: ChiZine Publications; UNABRIDGED VERSION edition (February 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1927469333
  • ISBN-13: 978-1927469330
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,438,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Sozaeva VINE VOICE on March 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a plain-text version of the review. To see formatting and links, please visit my blog, Now is Gone (a link is in my profile) and view the complete review there.

Book Info: Genre: Dark fiction/short stories, anthology
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of the strange, the dark, the macabre, the beautiful

My Thoughts: Usually when I review anthologies I'll put up a list of stories in the books and try to give a bit of info about them, but this particular anthology is all by the same author, so I'll just address the writing. Which is brilliant and creepy. Each of the stories is a brilliant gem, and each has a wonderfully strange or macabre or surprising ending. For those who enjoy the strange, the dark, the weirdly beautiful, these stories are definitely for you. Check this great little anthology out right away.

For more information about this book, please follow this link to see John Scalzi's Big Idea post about this book, which is very good. To purchase the book directly from ChiZine, you can click here (where formatting allowed) or on the cover image.

Disclosure: I received an ARC from ChiZine Publications in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I also was part of the cover reveal, and that post can be seen here (linked where formatting allowed).

Synopsis: Heuler's stories dart out at what the world is doing and centre on how the individual copes with it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
A woman finds trouble when she sneaks into a business in New York City that vexes residents by stealing their parking spaces, trimming space from their apartments, and messing up their utility bills. Girls who have been manufactured with genes taken from dogs are playful and have limited attention spans, but they can be trained to do simple tasks if rewarded with treats. A tightrope walker meets an angel on her tightrope. A woman falls in love with a fish that grants her a wish. A girl sews pieces of meat together to reassemble an ungrateful cow. A man begins to walk lightly -- so lightly that he worries about floating away.

Strange stories? Yes. Yet the stories are told with wit and imagination. Some are dark, but even when things don't work out for the characters (really, if a fish wants to grant your wish, just walk away), the stories often reveal an underlying optimism.

Three stories stand out:

"The Great Spin" - When the Rapture comes, can the people who get left behind lay claim to all the stuff that belonged to the newly departed? And who will take care of their dogs? The irreverent kid who asks those questions (my kind of kid) may have been chosen for the Rapture -- or he may be a random victim of misfortune -- forcing his religious buddy to face a crisis of faith.

"Thick Water" - Explorers "go native" on an alien world, eating the thick water. A scientist left inside the dome, the only one left unchanged, wonders what to do.

"Beds" - Every day a bed disappears from a hospital ward, taken away on a truck, selected by doctors using unknown criteria. None of the patients want to be in that bed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
These stories are dark, but with flashes of light, wit and even optimism. More importantly, they are each informed by close attention to how the clever, the bizarre, the creepy or the strange affects a single individual. Will there be panic, acceptance, fear, joy or resignation? It depends.

There are a lot of dark stories out there, and a lot of recent collections, but many of them focus on creating worlds or situations and only a few of them, (say, Ian Rogers' "Every House is Haunted", or Robert Shearman's "Remember Why You Fear Me"), pay much attention to creating individual characters and exploring their reactions in any sort of engaging or probing way.

Maybe that's just the nature of the beast. As I was reading these I thought back to the first postmodern stories by authors like Donald Barthelme. Their writing was exquisite, their skewed worlds were disorienting, their sense of fantasy was razor sharp. But they were very detached works, almost exercises in cool avoidance of human attachment. Maybe there just isn't much room left in such stories for actual characters. But reading Ms. Heuler, maybe there is room.

Don't get me wrong. The stories in this book are not dry exercises or rigorous academic proofs. And they don't strain for profound insight. And they certainly aren't overwritten or full of MFA huffing and puffing. They are clever, imaginative, engaging and rewarding. That's a lot right there, and certainly enough to make this book worth a close look.

Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to the author or the publisher of this book.
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