- File Size: 1641 KB
- Print Length: 383 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: UFO Publishing (October 2, 2017)
- Publication Date: October 2, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07649HN6C
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
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Unidentified Funny Objects 6 (Unidentified Funny Objects Annual Anthology Series of Humorous SF/F) Kindle Edition
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What is my definition of success, you may ask?
(You can skip this part if you have read any of my previous short story compilation reviews.)
To me, a short story compilation is akin to one of those giant bags of mixed candy you buy for Halloween. Some of what you get are your favorite kind, some are exceptionally good (just not your favorite), some are OK (but still candy, so pretty darn good), and some are awful because you can’t stand the flavor but you know other people love them anyway. And occasionally it includes one or two kinds of candy even the kids won’t touch.
With that in mind, I consider any short story collection to be a success if at least 3 or 4 stories fall into the first two categories of favorite or exceptionally good, and one (or better, none) fall into the even the kids won’t touch it category.
Unidentified Funny Objects 6 was a tremendous success. Eighteen (18!!) of the 20 stories were either favorites or exceptionally good. You really can’t ask for more than that.
The stories’ humor ranged from laughing so hard I couldn’t read because the book was shaking, to snickering uncontrollably, to smiling softly.
None of the stories was of the “even the kids won’t touch it” variety or the “I can’t stand the flavor” pile.
My favorite story was “Approved Expense” by David Vierling. I would give it 5 stars plus. If you have ever had to submit or approve an expense report it will seem even funnier.
My other 5-star stories included “A Game of Goblins” by Jim C. Hines, “Twenty-Nine Responses to Inquiries About My Craigslist Post: Alien Spaceship for Sale. $200, You Haul” by Tina Connolly, “An Evil Opportunity Employer” by Lawrence Watt-Evans, and “Lost and Found” by Laura Resnick.
Highly recommended. If you need a laugh, go buy this book.
Short thoughts on each story without spoilers:
“A Game of Goblins” by Jim C. Hines
Rooting for the goblin was a definite change of pace. 5 stars
“The Breakdown of the Parasite/Host Relationship” by Paul R. Hardy
Possibly the ultimate story of passive-aggressive behavior. 4 stars
“From This She Makes a Living?” by Esther Friesner
Wonderful, footnotes included. 4 stars
“Twenty-Nine Responses to Inquiries About My Craigslist Post: Alien Spaceship for Sale. $200, You Haul” by Tina Connolly
Could you tell a story from only replies to unseen questions? 5 stars
“Tyler the Snot Elemental Scours the Newspaper, Searching for Change” by Zach Shephard
Even snot elementals need fulfillment. 3 stars
“Agent of Chaos” by Jack Campbell
A writer’s story in both senses. 4 stars
“Display of Affection” by P.J. Sambeaux
As the world speeds up. 4 stars
“The Great Manhattan Eat-Off” by Mike Resnick
Always a good story. 4 stars
“An Evil Opportunity Employer” by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Excellent. No spoilers. Don’t skip this story. 5 stars
“Common Scents” by Jody Lynn Nye
I love a good mystery, especially with these characters. 4 stars
“A Mountain Man and a Cat Walk into a Bar” by Alan Dean Foster
Mad Amos is fast becoming one of my favorite characters. 4 stars
“Lost and Found” by Laura Resnick
So many different layers of humor. Wonderful. 5 stars
“A Crawlspace Full of Prizes” by Bill Ferris
Fun and thoughtful. 4 stars
“Return to Sender” by Melissa Mead
How to flip a fairy tale on its head. 3 stars
“The Friendly Necromancer” by Rod M. Santos
A fun romp. 4 stars
“An Open Letter to the Sentient AI Who Has Announced Its Intention to Take Over the Earth”” by Ken Liu
I’ve listened to conversations like this. 4 stars
“Approved Expense” by David Vierling
My favorite story. 5 stars
“Alexander Outland: Space Jockey” by Gini Koch
Enjoyable story. 4 stars
“Dear Joyce” by Langley Hyde
Lovely. Just lovely. 4 stars
“Impress Me, Then We’ll Talk About the Money” by Tatiana Ivanova, translated by Alex Shvartsman
Possibly too close to the truth about corporate greed. 4 stars
Stories range from the self-explanatory “Twenty-Nine Responses to Inquiries About my Craigslist Post: Alien Spaceship for Sale. $200, You Haul” by Tina Connolly to the surprisingly touching “A Crawlspace Full of Prizes” by Bill Ferris, which is a bit like if your life were a video game, while being nothing like other stories about video-game lives.
UFO6 includes heavy-hitters Jim C. Hines with parody “A Game of Goblins,” Jack Campbell with “Agent of Chaos,” in which a writer's muse forces her on a trek deep into the mountains where she coincidentally encounters Gothlack, God of Chaos, Alan Dean Foster with a Mad Amos Malone story, “A Mountain Man and a Cat Walk Into a Bar,” and Mike Resnick with a Harry the Book story, “The Great Manhattan Eat-Off,” which is as perfectly ridiculous as it sounds. If you've never read Mad Amos Malone or Harry the Book, you're still in for a treat with these two. And let's not forget Ken Liu, whose “An Open Letter to the Sentient AI Who Has Announced its Intention to Take Over the Earth” drips with sleaze.
On the hard science fiction side of things, “The Breakdown of the Parasite/Host Relationship” by Paul R. Hardy shows how a symbiote and its host can degenerate into petty arguments as fast as your roommate. The Captain reluctantly attempts to intervene as disagreements turn violent and regulations fly out the spaceport. “Display of Affection” by P. K. Sambeaux serves up a healthy dose of creepy in a world where everyone's wired into the net. Guy can't take any more of it when his mother dies, and—well, you'll never look at a museum quite the same afterward. In “Common Scents” by Jody Lynn Nye, symbiote Dr. K't'ank helps host Dena Malone solve a murder mystery with his love of stink. “Alexander Outland: Space Jockey” by Gini Koch may make you wonder if a comedic anthology could, indeed, be complete without space pirates and explosions. “Approved Expense” by David Vierling gives us a chance to live vicariously through dimension-hopping Special Operative Morgan T. Graymael as he explains his itemizations to The Budget and Accounting Administration.
Israel's lost tribe returns on a spaceship in “Lost and Found” by Laura Resnick, in which they are quite shocked to learn what's become of their temple. Esther Friesner introduces readers to the mythical Yiddish town of fools with “From This She Makes a Living?”—along with some interesting phrases, uttered at the discovery of a people-eating dragon come to town. Both Friesner and Resnick's stories treat religion with whimsical irreverence.
“Dear Joyce” by Langley Hyde turns all your fantasy tropes on their head with an opinionated advice columnist in this parody reminiscent of LOTR, if Frodo had written to Joyce. “Return to Sender” by Melissa Mead takes us back to folktale classics with letters written by giants of the fe-fi-fo-fum persuasion. “An Evil Opportunity Employer” by Lawrence Wayt-Evans pokes fun at both lawyers and secret identities as our hero tells a henchmen that he should have read the contract. “The Friendly Necromancer” by Rod M. Santos shows us the proper way to deal with those pesky Knights and Knaves riddles—with violence. Santos delivers an excellent blend of characterization, quest-like trickery, and irreverent humor.
Told in first person by the morally-ambiguous scientist who unleashed chaos on the world through humanity's greed and self-loathing, “Impress Me, Then We'll Take About the Money” by Tatiana Ivanova, Translated by Alex Shvartsman, closes out UFO6 with a bang.