SPECULATIONS by Isaac Asimov

SPECULATIONS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Like the editors' Who Done It? (1980), this sf collection gives no bylines for its 17 stories; instead readers are invited to deduce authorship (either on stylistic grounds or by using an easy code). Joanna Russ, in her angry feminist mode, exposes male conceits in an 1880s period piece involving a member of a telepathic sisterhood obliged to masquerade as a man--to withering, brilliant effect. Other superior offerings: Zenna Henderson's bittersweet fantasy about old folk temporarily peeling off their years like a coat; Phyllis Gotlieb's luminous tale of indentured mothers giving birth to variant humans designed for survival on other worlds; Joe L. Hensley's predictable but touching yarn of music-making alien castaways; and Roger Lovin's uneven but affecting human-alien love story. Less incisive: Alan Dean Foster on super-surfers; some typically arcane humor from R. A. Lafferty; Jacqueline Lichtenberg on the effects of alien music; an Alice Laurance & William K. Carlson story about warring aliens learning to communicate; a Bill Pronzini & Barry Malzberg alien-blob that talks in literary quotations; Scott Baker's tale of a neglected child who murders his foul parents. And there are a few inspid variations on time travel, Shakespearean forgeries, the Second Coming, and machine priests. Still, it's an agreeable, eclectic assemblage overall--with that tremendous, blistering Russ effort towering above the rest.
Pub Date: April 28th, 1982
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1982




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