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And Other Stories

by Terry Bisson



284pp/$24.95/May 2000

Reviewed by Steven H Silver

Terry Bissonís short fiction has a tendency to appear in rather unexpected places.  Of the sixteen stories which appear in In the Upper Room, four appeared in Playboy, and one each in Omni, Crank!, Absolute Magnitude, Science Fiction Age and Southern Exposure with the remaining seven appearing in either Asimovís or The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.  While normally this might mean that these stories are unfamiliar to the general science fiction and fantasy reader, many of Bissonís stories, including three reprinted here, have also seen light in Gardner Dozois and David Hartwellís Best of anthologies.

Bisson has elected to allow his fiction to stand on its own without any discussion of where the stories appeared or what inspired any of the tales.  While this may be how the stories were meant to be read, having the author include comments, however brief, about his work in a collection always adds something to the reading experience, especially if the reader has many of the stories in other formats.

Bisson's stories tend to reflect a wry sense of humor whether he is looking at interoffice romances or examining the physical make-up of the universe.  His characters, while quirky, always manage to remain human rather than caricatures, even when they are faced with inexplicable events and situations.

In the Upper Room contains stories which appeared in 1994 to "He Loved Lucy," which didn't appear until February 2000.  Bisson's talent as a writer is such that all of these stories have a well-finished quality to them.  While he continues to grow as an author, his writing style has been polished for several years.

In the Upper Room 10:07:24
There Are No Dead First Fire
The Edge of the Universe Get Me to the Church on Time
The Joy Shoe Smoother
macs Incident at Oak Ridge
Tell Them They Are Full of Shit and They Should Fuck Off Dead Manís Curve
The Player He Loved Lucy
An Office Romance Not This Virginia

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