From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. More than a quarter century's worth of short fiction is gathered in this comprehensive collection of stories from Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Award–winner Swanwick. The tales run the gamut from strict space adventures like The Very Pulse of the Machine to deceptively complex ghost stories like Radio Waves. In The Feast of Saint Janis, Janis Joplin is worshiped as an ancient goddess made flesh, with all the power and pitfalls that accompany the role. The more surreal pieces—such as Mother Grasshopper, wherein wizards chase one another across an insect the size of a planet—nonetheless have a method to their madness, and though it would be easy for alien monster shorts like A Midwinter's Tale to dissolve into self-conscious silliness, even the weaker setups conclude with a bang. Swanwick's blend of savvy science fiction, Freudian fantasy and top-notch storytelling both chills and charms. (Oct.)
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Swanwick’s satisfyingly hefty and varied best-of includes a number of award winners and plenty of imagination, extending over time from “The Feast of Saint Janis,” vintage 1980, in which a Joplin impersonator is worshipped, to “From Babel’s Fall’n Glory We Fled,” from 2007, in which an alien city is destroyed and the economics of trust play a major role. Swanwick’s work constitutes a varied tapestry of genres ranging from space opera to fantasy to ghost stories to the alternate history of “The Dog Said Bow-Wow,” one of his tales of Darger and Surplus in all their roguish, Victorian glory. A bit farther back in alt-hist, such paleontological fancies as “Triceratops Summer” and “Scherzo with Tyrannosaur” are here for rereading. And indeed, one of the best things about Swanwick’s storytelling is that it is always worth another read. This volume is the perfect package for assuring that his most rereadable fiction is always at hand. --Regina Schroeder