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Unwelcome Bodies Paperback – February 28, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Apex Publications (February 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978867688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978867683
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,542,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
The stories are well written with a lot of surprises.
Danella E. Thomas
Each of the stories are different and unique, and most all of the stories balance a wonderful blend of science fiction and horror.
S. S. White
If you like SF, like short stories, or just like challenging, thought-provoking fiction, read this book.
FranW

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nelly on October 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was intrigued by the themes and whole concept of the work. The cover is very stark and fitting. I thought the whole package-the art, the stories and ideas behind them, as well as the author's comments-really gave a first rate experience.

"For the Plague Thereof Was Exceeding Great" was one of my two favorites. It was disturbingly close to misconceptions of today and while it was sci fi, it also required little thought to make the leap. Replace AIDs with any unknown future virus, the rantings of the priests and doomsayers with those of today and it makes for a truly frightening picture. But it was so well done and so moving...a wonderful piece.

"Brushstrokes" was my other favorite. I loved the starcrossed lover approach but with a unique and modern twist. It too was so close to sentiments of today that it made me angry at the citizens of that world, as well as happy that someone has the courage to write about it. The tale was beautifully written and very poignant.

"Last Bus" was another I enjoyed, simply because it felt like a mid 20th century play. Sorrow and starkness combined (storytelling and plot-wise), but over all, hopeful.

"Immortal Sin" was fascinating. Maybe it's because I could understand how the man came to those assumptions being Catholic myself (seeing how people are able to twist words in the name of religion or how `guilt' feeds into a person's everyday thought process). Or maybe because I saw it, not so much as a sci-fi story, but as a thriller. Sane people find it hard to understand how anyone could make such a jump as the main character did with the waitress; reading as the character, though, it was obvious he was obsessive, off-kilter, and able to twist words and intentions in his own mind.
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Format: Hardcover
This is not a book for light reading; it's a book to make readers think about big questions. With a range of styles on display, the collection allows readers to taste unconventional storytelling while still getting a satisfying plot and character arc. Even in the more stories with more experimental writing styles, the characters and action take center stage. Be ready for frank discussions about bodies in all states of repair, and some rather frank discussions of what we do with them alone and in combination. Themes dealing with how our bodies relate to our humanity are treated with such an intensity that I found myself reading one or two stories at a time and needing to let them percolate in my brain for a day before moving on.

I would recommend this book to beginning short story writers. These stories are from the start of Jennifer Pelland's career, which has now gone on to include a second Nebula nomination ("Ghosts of New York," in addition to "Captive Girl" which is in this collection) and more than 30 short stories. In addition to being an enthralling read, it's a chance to to gauge the level of writing that well-published beginners are bringing to the table and see what sort of growth comes over even 11 stories.

Each of the stories is followed by a brief paragraph that gives a little insight into the inspiration for the story. Notes for the first story in the collection, "For the Plague Thereof Was Exceedingly Great," also include the scene break paragraphs that Strange Horizons asked Jennifer Pelland to remove for a rewrite. Reading what Strange Horizons eventually published, and what the editor asked her to delete, is an object lesson for writers, demonstrating how killing one's darlings can, indeed, improve a piece.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Burstein on February 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
Pelland is one of the most powerful writers crafting short fiction today. "Unwelcome Bodies" is a welcome addition to anyone's collection.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. S. White on March 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
UNWELCOME BODIES is a short-story collection that focuses on a variety of issues: the environment, religion, and terrorism, and the one thing that unites these stories is the character's body image and how they fit into the world/society around them. Each of the stories are different and unique, and most all of the stories balance a wonderful blend of science fiction and horror. This collection is an easy one to recommend. Pelland has a smooth, clean writing style, and the ideas that fuel each story really make you sit up and take notice.
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Format: Hardcover
I discovered that after reading each story I needed recovery time, the same way I did when I first read Harlan Ellison (his stories from the 60s, before he disappeared up his own enfant-terrible legend), because however fantastic or futuristic the settings, the people and emotions are true and the stories cut deep. I read "Big Sister/Little Sister" in the evening, and it seriously interfered with my sleep, so consider yourself warned. On the other hand, there are pieces like "When Science Fiction Cliches Go Bad" which are just plain fun, almost guaranteed to leave you unscarred.
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Format: Paperback
One of the author's primary motifs is isolated environments. One of her primary themes is isolated souls. She handles both of these very well over the course of this collection. Whether looking at college-age and twentysomethings discovering the depths of their strange new worlds, or limning hopeful-but-precarious connections in desperate futures, the stories are generally very involving. "Captive Girl" fully earns its acclaim, and several other pieces here aren't too far behind.
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