Howard Waldrop: Things Will Never Be the Same A Howard Waldrop Reader Selected Short Fiction 1980 2005



Like a combination of George Saunders Richard Brautigan and the Twilight Zone and udging from this collection he seems to write a lot of alt histories This book has afterwords by the author for each story and at first I found his liberal use of italics kind of irritating but then I decided it was very charming possibly because in the afterword for Wild Wild Horses he says that he doesn t really like fantasy so when he got an idea for a fantasy story he was disappointed Then he decided it would be ok to write a fantasy as long as it was a fantasy story as if i I picked this book out because of the story about the dodos It s the best story of the whole book Let me Dropsy, Dialysis, Transplant just uote three lines page 44 Ray Zoot and Cornelius all looked like they had thirty two lane bowling alleys inside their heads and all the pin machines were down page 90 I Italian priests with crosses you coulda barred a livery stable door with page 110 The light was so bad in the bar that everyone looked like they had been painted by Thomas Hart Benton or carved from dirty bars of soap with rusty spoons The last is an opening line and it sure kept me re Another collection of short stories by the always entertaining Howard Waldrop Waldrop is a writer of very intelligent short fiction The stories in this collection garnered a Nebula and a World Fantasy Award win along with nominations for five Hugos four Nebulas a Sidewise award and a WFA Waldrop absolutely never writes down to his audience He does a ridiculous amount of research for his short stories andust expects you to keep up That s a lot easier keeping up now with the internet I suspect that reading some of his stories in the pre internet days could have been daunting There s not a bad story in the lot About half of these had not been seen in previous collections though with Waldrop s collections freuently going out of print it s not necessarily a problem if they had been From the brilliant look at the true last of the dodo s in The Ugly Chickens to his short seuel to War of the Worlds in Night of the Cooters and the brilliant alt history of Hearts of Whitenesse and Us there s something for every taste If you ve never read anything by Waldrop you owe it too yourself to do N better that have been left out for want of space There's only one solution Read this book and then go out and track down all of Waldrop's other collections and read them too George R Mart.

The fascinating thing about Howard Waldrop is how he is able to make each short story completely uniue The author takes an idea and weaves a story out of it that is very different than everything else This collection somehow defies genre definitions and conventions to ascend to a higher level of speculative fiction A funny thing happened when I bought this book The owner became so excited at my choice I thought he was going to propose marriage Had a great chat with him about HW who I was only vaguely familiar with but had liked the bits and pieces I d read Anyway anecdotes aside this is a collection of solid well written stories spanning decades I know I don t have very mainstream tastes in books so I m not surprised he isn t popular The stories are deep clever and poignant he really catches that mood of chances lost and dreams deferred Don t expect galaxy shattering space battles or cyber cowboys acking into the net these are about humble people doing extraordinary things In these stories Waldrop reveals himself to be a science fiction writer concerned with the past Two of his most famous stories are about an extinct species The Ugly Chickens and an extinct way of life Heirs to the Perisphere He devotes an entire story to a single defunct technology Mr Goober s Show His alternate histories are set variously in the nineteenth century the Elizabethan era the first century and even in pre historic timesThe author s narrative voice too seems to have been formed in the past rooted in a kind of 20th century masculine tone that I thought I d heard the last of when my subscription to Boy s Life ran out This will be an attraction to some but not to me I must admit however this tone doesn t get in the way of the story telling and sometimes enhances it as in King of Where I Go which is a clever and poignant alternate history for twoWaldrop is a writer who sets interesting challenges for himself From the notes that accompany the stories he seems to come up with an interesting uestion What if Piltdown man wasn t a hoax but a real fossil representing an entire culture and then discovers the answer to the uestion as he writes The challenge of combining the historical figure Christopher Marlowe with Raym. The only problem with THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME is that it's not nearly long enough Sure sure it's chock full of great stories by the best short fiction writer of his generation modern.

Ond Chandler s detective character Marlowe in the style of Marlow the narrator of Joseph Conrad s The Heart of Darkness resulted in a very good story The Heart of WhitenesseMy favorite story in this collection however is The Lions Are Asleep This Night which is an alternate history in which Africa and South America have shaken off colonialism and have become dominant world powers and a young man the reader recognizes will be the world s greatest and most humane playwright tries to get his first manuscript published I picked this up because I was entranced by Waldrop s book Them Bones even though I thought that work incomplete in some waysWaldrop is an inventive clever and very good writer except when he isn tMost of the stories in this small volume are uite good but a couple of them left me cold I suppose that is not too unusual in a collection of short stories written over a number of yearWaldrop writes in a number of genres and that alone makes him very interestingIf you are a fan or ust curious about him this might be a book worth dipping into Hi My name is Steven J Vaughan Nichols I write for a living Here s what I can do I can explain deeply technical subjects to a layman I can write intelligently about technology business and legal issues I can even be amusing and every now and again I can write a memorable line What I can t do is write magic Howard Waldrop writes magicThis collection of short stories is filled with gems of the writer s art His themes are based on science fiction but they re rooted in the human heart and experience I like what I do but I wish I could write like he does I can t As many SF editors will tell you no one else can write like he does Perhaps it s ust as well It makes his magic even precious This is a lovely collection of great SF stories Not for the space opera crowd these tend to explore the fantastic as encountered by figures of the present and past with alternate histories and famous historical figures appearing regularly You ve probably read several of these in YBSF and other collections but here s a chance to really get to know Waldrop s work I came across one of these stories in another anthology and immediately wanted to read Waldrop seems sort of. Classics like The Ugly Chickens and Flying Saucer Rock n Roll and Heart of Whitenesse and many but there are two or three times as many terrific Waldropstories eually good and sometimes eve.

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Howard Waldrop is a science fiction author who works primarily in short fiction Waldrop's stories combine elements such as alternate history American popular culture the American South old movies classical mythology and rock 'n' roll music