Kirkus Reviews QR Code
FUTURECRIME by Cynthia Manson


An Anthology of the Shape of Crime to Come

edited by Cynthia Manson & Charles Ardai

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 1992
ISBN: 1-55611-312-9
Publisher: Donald Fine

 Excellent sheaf of sf reprints (plus three originals) all turning on crime and detection in the future, a truly intriguing premise. With no surprises, editors Manson and Ardai have rounded up the usual suspects as contributors: Robert Bloch, C.J. Cherryh, Alan Dean Foster, George Alec Effinger, and so on. Standout stories include: John Varley's ``The Barbie Murders,'' in which both male and female members of a future religious cult, the Barbies, have nipples and genitals removed and themselves changed into Barbie dolls so that all members have interchangeable features, are nameless, and speak of an egoless ``we,'' never ``I.'' When a murder happens, the whole cult assumes responsibility and offers itself as the murderer. The investigating detective, a woman, must become a Barbie (up to a point) to find the murderer--or murderers, since more crimes happen. In Effinger's ``The World As We Know It,'' a Muslim private eye is hired as security for the CRCorp building, a structure in which each floor has a Consensual Reality- -i.e., one floor is the surface of Mars, and those who rent space there see themselves as Mars colonists. But there is larceny on Mars! In Alan Dean Foster's ``Lay Your Head on My Pilose,'' a jungle Don Juan in South America helps his explosively orgasmic beloved murder her husband by way of piranhas--but the murderers fall victim to rare jungle vengeance. And Kathe Koja's ``The Energies of Love'' finds a hack writer entering the replicated mind of a great novelist, a suicide, in order to write the missing last chapter of the dead writer's last novel. First-rate despite the weak entries. No one will be disappointed.