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The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  135 ratings  ·  22 reviews
"Pride and Prometheus," a story in The Baum Plan for Financial Independence involving characters from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, is winner of the 2008 Nebula award for Best Novelette.

A long-awaited collection of fourteen stories that intersect imaginatively with Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, The Wizard of Oz, and Flannery O’Conn
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Small Beer Press
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I have had this collection on my electronic TBR shelf since... well, the info at the start says it was being given away free when it first came out in 2008, so I guess for six years. And I have had no recollection as to why I might have wanted to grab it; I vaguely knew Kessel's name but couldn't associate anything with it. Until I got to the last story.

This is the author of "Pride and Prometheus," which I read in 2008 (when it was published) and must absolutely have been the reason for me wanti
pride and prejudice meets frankenstein. orson welles meets time travel. the wizard of oz meets . . . ??? what might have come across as hokey in another writer felt genuinely speculative, in its best sense, here. the mixing of styles is less deftly done, but i did like the cleanness and assured precision of kessel's prose when left to its own devices. particularly as it's used so often to pin down characters who are more aimless than not, or who find themselves cut adrift despite themselves (or ...more
This is an incredible speculative collection. The story "Pride and Prometheus," in which several of Austen's Bennett sisters meet Dr. Frankenstein (and his monster), was particularly strong. I didn't expect to like this story as much as some of the others in the book--mostly, I think, because the insertion of undead/supernatural creatures into classic works has lately become a popular and tiresome gimmick. But this story doesn't suffer from twee irony at all. Kessel has rendered Mary Bennett hea ...more
"Genre-blending," to me, usually means"genre+literary" (whatever "literary" means). But a lot of the blending in this collection is "genre + genre," as in the historical-crime/fantasy story "Every Angel is Terrifying," or the future-crime/sci-fi first movement of the Lunar Quartet, "The Juniper Tree."

Kessel's historical/literary mash-ups were brilliant, too: Orson Welles in a sci-fi story ("It's All True")--who'd have thought? The name and spirit of Tyler Durden carrying on in a lunar colony in
Emily Held
I was lucky enough to recently snag an ARC of John Kessel's The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and other tales, courtesy of Library Thing's Early Reviewer's program. The back cover copy promises witty intersections with classic literature like Pride and Prejudice, The Wizard of Oz, and A Good Man is Hard to Find.

Subversive literary mash-ups seem to be all the rage today, and Oz doubly so. The last few years have seen the release of a manga, Alan Moore's pornographic Lost Girls, the excelle
Patrick Brown
Jul 14, 2008 Patrick Brown rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any adventurous reader
Recommended to Patrick by: Gavin from Small Beer Press
This could easily have been a 4 star book, but a few of the stories just didn't go anywhere. I'm all for ambiguity, but I have to feel like it's serving some purpose other than getting the author out of the story as quickly as possible.

Still, this book blends science fiction with "straight" fiction as well as anything I've read since Vonnegut. Like Vonnegut, the sci-fi elements of his work serve to satire contemporary society and culture. What was most intriguing about this book was the way many
Tim Hicks
This one left me with mixed feelings. Kessel has a deft touch in places, and some humour (I especially liked a dwarf named Advil); but there's an underlying gloom to it all. Some of his protagonists - I can't call them heroes - are schlubs, and some are just observers of their own lives.

In "Every Angel Is Terrifying" we have an out-and-out weirdo borrowed or extended from another author's work. This one's good. In the end, things don't go well in this story either, and it's sad, but somehow not
Richard recommended this to me because one of the stories, "Pride and Prometheus," is about a meeting between Mary Bennet (the proto-nerd in Pride and Prejudice) and Victor Frankenstein. I liked that story a lot. Kessel doesn't try to mimic Austen's narrative voice; it's plainer language, which makes sense since it's from Mary's point of view, and she's not a witty social butterfly like Elizabeth. The story is significantly darker than P&P; there aren't too many Darcys to go around.

I also re
A collection of short stories by NCSU author.
The Baum Plan for Financial Independence: A modern North Carolinian Dorothy takes a friend on an adventure.
Every Angel is Terrifying: A psychologically disturbed killer named Railroad seeks a fresh start.
The Red Phone: Two telephone operators handle a phone sex conversation for their clients.
The Invisible Empire: Feminist vigilantes in a fundamentalist Christian world.
A Lunar Quartet (The Juniper Tree, Stories for Men, Under the Lunchbox Tree, & S
Bookmarks Magazine

Critics were all excited to see another anthology from Kessler, even if most of the stories here have already appeared in top science fiction magazines. While some admitted they were at first skeptical of the motif of entering other authors' worlds, most felt that not only did Kessler pull off these stories with gusto but he did so in such a way that readers can enjoy his tales even if they have not read the original authors. While the Strange Horizons reviewer was not quite as impressed by the

This is an excellent collection written by one of the better short story writers in any genre. Some of the stories are outright science fiction, while others are not quite so obvious.

The title story is the best one. Its main character, a petty criminal, discovers the truth underlying the world, becomes incredibly wealthy as a consequence, and may or may not be happy.

The other best story is "Stories for Men" about a lunar colony run along feminist principles. It raises a lot of questions about ou
I read this in preparation for John Kessel's visit to the Cary Library. I was not that impressed at first, and I still think that I don't LIKE the stories, but at the same time I was totally blown away. It annoyed me that almost every story ended ambiguously. OK, yes, write some short stories that leave you saying... "what?", but not every single gosh darn one!

That being said, these stories are incredibly creative. I appreciated (even while hating what happened) the heck out of the Lunar Quartet
Stephen Theaker
May 24, 2009 Stephen Theaker marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feedbooks
I downloaded this book from Feedbooks to read Pride and Prometheus, up for a BFA this year having already won the Nebula, but I'm looking forward to reading the rest.

Pride and Prometheus sees Mary Bennet encountering an intense young man from Switzerland, one Victor Frankenstein. It isn't a goofy mash-up in the style of the Pride and Prejudice with zombies book, but rather an intelligent and entirely natural story examining the interplay of the themes of the two novels.
pretty good collection of short stories. my favorite is probably the one involving Orson Welles, time travel and the last extant reels of the unexised cut of The Magnificent Andersons . I also liked the first two stories of Kessel's "Lunar Quartet" quite a bit. ...more
The great thing about short stories is that they're a great way to get introduced to authors you're not familiar with. I loved the "Lunar Quartet" series of stories, as well as the title story and several others in this collection by local Raleigh based SF author.
Enrique Santos
I've really enjoyed this, I just haven't had the gumption to finish it in a timely manner. It's a damn good thing this is a short story collection though, I am to pick this book back up soon to finish the little I have left of it.
Some good-very good SF short stories, with my favorite being a kind of mashup of Pride and Prejudice and Frankenstein, "Pride and Prometheus," the last story of the collection. Certainly sent me out on a high note.
Only read the first story. Which was solid, and weird, and good, but didn't entice me to read more.
Aug 30, 2014 Allan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sf fans, feminist readers,
Recommended to Allan by: WisCon convention
I rated it five stars because I like the Lunar Quartet of stories so much.
Feb 26, 2015 Trevor marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
A collection of short stories, might read some more later.
A little bit uneven, but some good stories in there.
Aaron marked it as to-read
Jul 03, 2015
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John (Joseph Vincent) Kessel co-directs the creative writing program at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. A winner of the Nebula, Locus, Sturgeon, and Tiptree Awards, his books include Good News From Outer Space, Corrupting Dr. Nice, The Pure Product, and The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories. His story collection Meeting in Infinity was a New York Times Notable Book ...more
More about John Kessel...
Corrupting Dr. Nice Good News from Outer Space The Pure Product Kafkaesque: Stories Inspired by Franz Kafka Meeting in Infinity

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