CAUTIONARY TALES by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro


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Thirteen tales of good and evil--or evil and evil--complete with girl ghouls, child molesters, and sadists with cannibalistic tendencies. The boundaries of humanity are explored in ""Into My Own,"" a fine tale about man and machine and the merging of the two. ""Un Bel Di"" matches total evil against total innocence--with innocence coming off second best--and ""Swan Song"" demonstrates again that turning the other cheek may just be rewarded with another slap. The author's preoccupation with gender muddies the flow of narrative in a couple of stories. In ""Allies,"" for instance, Yarbro deliberately avoids reference to the sex of any character, which leads to some unwieldy syntax, and in ""Dead In Irons"" the sexual battle of wills between a male and female character overwhelms the intended focus of the story--the problems of FTL travel; material here for two separate stories seems to have been grafted together. Each story is followed by a short comment from the author, some illuminating, some overly coy, lapsing into the ""Will I tell you? No"" school of design. Still, Yarbro (False Dawn) has a fine way with the wicked and a clean terse style that make this a strong collection from a versatile and distinctive talent.

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday