- 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 (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,707,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Barbie Murders Mass Market Paperback – May 5, 1955
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
According to the start of this book, it has also been called the Barbie Murders. Yet more of Varley's high quality burst of short fiction collected. Read morePublished on February 27, 2008 by average
The stories in this collection are very enjoyable, and if you've read The Ophiuchi Hotline, some of them provide excellent background for that novel's characters and events,... Read morePublished on March 10, 2000 by Babytoxie