Mike's Reviews > Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine: 30th Anniversary Anthology

Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine by Sheila Williams
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Apr 08, 12

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The Happy Man reminded me a lot of my dreams: vivid, lucid, unbelievably real, but with much less brutal raping. The story involves a main character who's soul will randomly be transported back into Hell, not necessarily real Hell, but certainly Hell for him. While his soul is in Hell, his body continues it's day to day comings and goings it's just that he shows almost no emotion. Most people don't even notice, except his family where it is a painfully obvious reality that they must live with. His Hell is very interesting. It reminds me a lot of a video game where you have to move through different stages. For example, Hell always starts with him sitting at a picnic table with other children waiting for breakfast to be served in front of the Witch's house. However, the breakfast never comes and each visit to Hell starts the same way and time doesn't start until he gets up from the table. Then like clockwork he moves through various "levels" including a forest, a field, the Robot Maker, the garden of razor blades, a ghost town, and inevitably Colonel Eagerly aka "The Happy Man" who is unfortunately his only ticket home. He cannot leave Hell until he meets The Happy Man. Time doesn't seem to continue until he makes it to the next stage, and each time it is the same, but the faster he reaches The Happy Man, the faster he gets to return to his body and family on Earth. However, meeting The Happy Man totally sucks (insert brutal raping scene). I really enjoyed the author's descriptions of Hell because the scenery really reminded me of some dreams that I have where time seems to be stopped and everything around me seems real and fake at the same time. I would have given the story 5 stars except for the raping and I would have given it 4 stars because I thought it was very cleverly written and 100% engaging, but I thought the ending was weak-sauce so I gave it 3 stars. It ended in a tragically obvious fashion consistent with the build-up of the story yet with little depth or resolution. A totally crappy let-down of a finish. Do I recommend reading it? Maybe. Perhaps you should just read my dream blog instead and avoid all of the hardcore raping scenes sprinkled throughout The Happy Man. http://theyoungurbanunprofessional.co...

Check out my other short story reviews from my blog of 30 day life experiments at http://theyoungurbanunprofessional.co... you can also follow me on Twitter @YoungandUrban
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