jordan's Reviews > McSweeney's #10

McSweeney's #10 by Michael Chabon
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Sep 14, 09


One of the unanswered questions of modern culture is the reason for the decline of the short story form. As people complain about lacking the time to read it would seem that the short stories should prove the ideal solution; busy readers can read a story from a collection and then walk away until they next have a chance to read. Yet despite this short stories receive less and less of a readership, precipitously falling from the great popularity they enjoyed a few decades ago when readers could choose form dozens of short story publications grouped by genre.

McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales attempts to push back this trend, a noble effort even if it is unlikely to succeed. Reaching back to the great pulp adventure and science fiction magazines of years passed, publications that in their heyday helped launch the careers of giants like Azimov, Heinlein, and Niven, Mcsweeney's presents here a enjoyable short story collection from the desks of many fine authors. Providing a bow for this finely wrapped collection, Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon edits it, includes a wonderful story, and a good introduction.

As is the case with any collection, some stories will appeal more to a given reader's taste than others. As mentioned, Michael Chabon's romp through an alternative history where the US rejoined the British Empire and North American rebellions seeking to refound the republic, proves both fun and makes the reader the look forward to future visits to this world. Karren Fowler, an author who many may think odd to find here, also offers an engaging story reminiscent of stories from times passed. Likewise Stephen King's "Weaving the Dark" stands out for its excellence. Topping my favorites, Elmore Leonard's thoughtful "How Carlos Webster Changed His Name to Carl and Became a Famous Oklahoma Lawman" and Rick Moody's profound "Albertine" both of which stand out as singular works.

Of course a few pieces did not read for me as well, including Harlan Ellison's and Michael Morcock's, both authors I love and the former whom I consider one of the great short story writers of all time. Others doubtless will find other of the works standing out as their favorites. Either way, readers with only intermittent time to read would surely enjoy this journey through a myriad multiverse of fantastic worlds. Whether traveling on short hops or grabbing moments when your infant in napping, readers will not regret any moment they can steal with this fine collection.
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