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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

on March 23, 2012
This is a very good collection of stories. I wish I had time to talk about them all, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to limit myself to the prize-winners and a few favorites.

"Trinity County, CA" is an almost-buddy-film kind of story that starts out slow. And confusing. A lot of terms are thrown around that make sense later (and add depth to the beginning if you re-read it) but come across as a mess of jargon when you first meet the characters. However, if you can fight through that (it doesn't last long) the story picks up pretty well, especially after you figure out what it is the main characters do. And boy, oh, boy, is that a fun ride! Lots of action and a great fight/battle scene, not to mention an intelligent sidekick, made me smile by the end.

"Sister Jasmine Brings the Pain" starts out great, with a gun-toting nun and a cyborg canine who sounds like one of the dogs from the Pixar film Up. It turns out that the Apocalypse has come. Well, actually, all of them have come at once, from that impending ice age and giant ants to zombies and cell-phone induced madness. There's a whole list of things to survive. The humor doesn't stop in this story and neither does the action. The android, Caper Williams, Girl Detective, and her psychic spider "muppetbot" made me laugh out loud.

"The Ghost of a Girl Who Never Lived" is a heartbreaking examination of the power of grief and what people are willing to do to bring back the ones they love, as seen through the eyes of a "body". It's good. I really felt the pain of the "body" who only wanted a chance to find herself.

I wanted to like "The American". It starts out beautifully, but after a while the lack of information, far from creating a sense of mystique, only made me confused. The ending tries, and nearly succeeds, in being inspirational. It's a good ending. Looking back, I think it's a good story. And yet, I kept wanting something more after it finished.

Those are my thoughts on the prize winners. In the extra stories, my favorites included:

* "Silent as Dust" - a very good non-ghost story that I feel should have stayed that way.
* "The End-of-the-World Pool" - A story about friendship and dares that turn out more dangerous than they appear on the surface. It's the kind of story I hope my boys will read when they're older.
* "Beautiful Winter" - a lovely fantasy (romance?) that seems to be inspired by the fairy tale, The Twelve Months, but with far fewer tasks.
* "Mean-spirited" - This story is twisted. Sick, even. And yet, somehow, I love it, the ending especially.
* "Aim for the Stars" - Beautiful.

I'm really glad I bought this for my Kindle app.
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on April 22, 2012
In 2005, Orson Scott Card, famed author of the science fiction classic Ender's Game, founded (and briefly edited) an on-line magazine called The Intergalactic Medicine Show. This anthology collects four stories which the magazine's readers voted as its best, plus 10 more stories chosen by the magazine's editors. Paradoxically, I prefer most of the non-award winners, but this is overall an excellent anthology.

The four award winners: "Trinity County, CA" is a science fiction story from famed fantasist Peter S. Beagle, most noted for The Last Unicorn and A Fine and Private Place. Set in an alternate northern California where law enforcement must deal not only with pot farms and meth labs but also with illicit breeders of fire-breathing dragons, the story is exciting but neither very original nor too substantial. "Sister Jasmine Brings the Pain" by Van Carr is a parody of post-apocolyptic SF, which veers between truly funny and merely silly. Bruce Worden's "The American" is an elegiac piece of SF, set in a future Europe dominated by a United States which has become both all-powerful and inscrutable to outsiders.

My favorite of the four award winners is Keffy R.M. Kehrl's moving and thought-provoking "The Ghost of a Girl Who Never Lived," which both depicts the pain of its characters and explores the philosophical implications of biotechnology.

The other stories are a varied, but overall excellent lot: James Maxey's ghostless haunted-house story, "Silent as Dust"; Scott M. Roberts' "The End-of-the World Pool," a piece of horror fiction which also sensitively explores childhood friendships; Eugie Foster's "Beautiful Winter," a re-telling of a Russian folk tale;
"The Never Never Wizard of Appachicola" by Jason Sanford, which updates African-American voodoo folklore to the space age; Althea Kontis's "Blood and Water," a contemporary take on the mermaid myth; and Edmund R. Schubert's aptly-named "Mean Spirited," a semi-funny semi-horrifying story of love gone bad.

The best of the bunch, for me, were "A Heretic by Degrees" by Marie Brennan, the first genuinely __original__ high fantasy I have read in years, and one which should be expanded into a novel; "Horus Ascending" by Aliette de Bodard, told from the point of view of a sentient Artifical Intelligence; Eric James Stone's odd blend of fantasy and hard SF, "The Robot Sorceror," which features the anthology's second sentient AI; and Tom Pendergrass's genuinely moving "Aim for the Stars," in which a derelict in a homeless shelter may or may not posess the greatest scientific secret of all time.

This anthology has humor, horror, science fiction, fantasy-- and lots of great writing. Highly recommended.
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on April 25, 2012
I have been an admirer of Orson Scott Card's writing for years ever since I first read some of his articles and reviews in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. So when he created a web site on which he promised to print some of the newest sci-fi and fantasy stories by good authors as well as some of his own, I immediately subscribed. Now that he has produced an anthology of award winning stories from his site, I had to purchase it from Amazon. I am most happy I did. Great stories even when read the second or third time around. I highly recommend the InterGalactic Medicine Show Awards Anthology. You also might want to check out his website

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on April 5, 2012
I used to read slush for a SciFi magazine, and so I am pretty critical when I read short stories nowadays. Any group of short stories, even in professional anthologies, has a few that leave me cold. I was very surprised by how gripping this group was. When I got to the end, I really felt like every story was worth my time to read it, and many were the excellent kind of SciFi/Fantasy that sticks with you for days.

When I read the 2011 Hugo packet, I found myself saying that I really didn't want to live in any of the worlds they were writing about. IGMS, is a world I will definitely visit again.
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on March 11, 2015
Good collection of stories.
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on March 13, 2014
I did find out that you can subscribe too IGMS and get access to all volumes for $15/year, so I may avail myself of that next. Content reminded me how much I used to love the short story anthologies.
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on April 23, 2012
Who doesn't like a good, well-written short story now and then. For those of us who enjoy fantasy and sci-fi in equal doses, this book is perfect. I remember when these collections were a common staple on bookstore shelves and hope to see more of them again.
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on May 20, 2014
Some of the stories are just exciting, some made me think. A wonderful combination. I am looking forward to the next anthology.
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on January 28, 2013
Some of the best writers out there, edited professionally. This is sure to please.

And I have to write 6 more words before I can submit. Oh, I just did.
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on April 28, 2012
I really enjoyed this issue of the Intergalactic Medicine Show. The stories are very entertaining and the artwork is definitely beautifully done.
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