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The Best of Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine Hardcover – September 1, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
This collection of 25 stories from the first three years (12 issues) of Pulphouse contains horror, fantasy, SF and straight fiction. In her introduction Rusch ( The White Mists of Power ) observes that many of these stories have in common their defiance of categorization. In Lisa Goldstein's "A Traveler at Passover" the story of Elijah provides the catalyst that soothes a family's tensions and misunderstandings. "The Soft Whisper of Midnight Snow" by Charles de Lint ties together an artist's self-worth and creative ability. Both "The Third Sex" by Alan Brennert and Nancy A. Collins's "The Two-Headed Man" are reminiscent of Sturgeon in their consideration of love. The book is arranged in a progression--stories about sex precede those of violence and horror--and adjacent entries are often similar. Readers are advised to jump around to maximize their enjoyment.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
This varied collection of stories from Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine--an innovative small-run series that lasted for 12 roughly quarterly issues--demonstrates the success of that venture with many quality pieces, but also includes a number of stories that hardly deserve a place in any ``Best Of'' volume. The first third of the book is especially strong, including Edward Bryant's ``While She Was Out,'' a chilling tale of a woman finding courage and hidden strength in combating a gang of murderous punks; Alan Brennert's quirky but sure-handed meditation on gender, ``The Third Sex''; and Nancy Collins's bizarre love story, ``The Two-Headed Man.'' In the latter pages, disappointments increase, and some repetitive themes become irritating--serial killers, for example, are much too common, though some of the best stories here use this tired character-type to powerful effect (e.g., Bradley Denton's ``The Murderer Chooses Sterility''). Other stories of note include Joyce Thompson's ``Boat People,'' Susan Palwick's ``Offerings,'' and Adam-Troy Castro's ``Clearance to Land,'' an impressive debut piece. Pulphouse's predilection for horror shows clearly: more than half the stories are overtly horrific. Overall, the collection's best are as good as those in any other genre market, but the relatively high number of inferior pieces mars its overall impact, and the self-congratulatory tone of the introductory material grows quickly tiresome. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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