DARK SINS, DARK DREAMS by Barry N. & Bill Pronzini--Eds. Malzberg


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A crime/sci-fi anthology? Terrific idea. But as literary partnerships go, the Malzberg-Pronzini collaboration (as represented by this anthology and the recent Acts of Mercy, p. 1161) does not seem to have been made in heaven. One problem is Malzberg's self-important, often irrelevant introductions. More crucially, the fifteen stories themselves fail to lend much substance to the theme. The notion of ""crime"" is spread pretty thin here, to include everything from officially sanctioned arson (in Elizabeth A. Lynn's fine story ""The Fire Man"") and time-spying (H. L. Gold's ""The Biography Project"") to loopholes in cybernetic justice (""Non Sub Homine"" by H. W. Whyte) and the ""crime"" of resistance to unjust authority (""The Generalissimo's Butterfly"" by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro; ""The Winner"" by Donald Westlake). There's some excellent material, notably Poul Anderson's chilling study in future assassination strategies, Westlake's surprising depiction of the Big Brother approach to prison security, and A. J. Budrys' portrayal of retributive justice and class warfare in a theocratic oligarchy. The editors both contribute amusing jeux d'esprit about fandom and the literature of crime. But despite the caliber of some of the contributions, the basic concept remains foggy and arbitrary. A curiously unsatisfying collection.

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 1977
Publisher: Doubleday