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Boundary Problems

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In his confident debut, Greg Bechtel offers ten magnetically charged stories about the impossible-turned-possible — secrets, paranoia, sex, conspiracies, and magic — as he effortlessly shatters the boundaries between speculative and literary fiction.

Boundary Problems vibrates on the edge of meaning, as carjackers, accidental gunrunners, and small-town cabbies s
Paperback, 232 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Freehand Books
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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4.25 or 4.5 stars

I must be finally getting over my summer cold (its been kicking my butt for about a month now), because I felt the lure of reading something better and more complex than the fluff that I’ve been filling my summer with to date. This book has been sitting on my shelves for almost a year and the time had arrived—I picked it up with anticipation.

What a perfectly titled collection of short stories! All of them poke at boundaries of some sort—between physics an
Derek Newman-Stille
We tend to think of boundaries as stable, fixed, unchangeable, but boundaries are inherently permeable, and any boundary that is created is created because someone or something is able to slip trough it. Greg Bechtel writes on these borderlands whether they be of genre (realism, science fiction, fantasy), gender (male, female, intersexed, trans, genderqueer) temporal (past, present, future), he shows a fascination with those luminal spaces and situations, heightened periods of intensity when thi ...more
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
An astonishingly accomplished collection of stories, stories which effortlessly took me to ... yes, I'll be trite, to liminal boundaries.
Despite years of reading and the utter predictability stories I read I found myself among a set of stories from a familiar place I have never before been. Not in reality and not in fantasy.

I cannot wait to read what Bechtel writes next. I would especially love to see his cut-crystal technique used in a novel-length work.
Jessica Bernard
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
I found the stories to be somewhat confusing - the order of the chapters to wanting to know more to get a better picture. The paranoia was evident but in some stories, I felt lost. Who are the characters and what were they looking for? The reader definitely is the outsider to the musings of the charaters - on the outside looking in but not fully understanding what is taking place.
Ampersand Inc.
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: morgen-s-reads
These stories are fast-paced and incredibly entertaining. Each story leaves you wanting to know more.
Kate Woodford
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Perfectly sized stories, an interesting thread between them, and a really great read. It was a fantastic introduction to Bechtel’s work, and I can’t wait to read more from him.

Freehand have great authors!
Anne Logan
Apr 08, 2014 rated it liked it
If I had taken science past the required grade 11 in high school, I'm pretty sure I would have failed it. And reading books like this, books that reference physics and other sciency-things of a similar nature remind me of this sad fact. Good thing I stuck to what I knew-English literature. If I had focused on a more useful and concrete topic such as science, I wouldn't have the pleasure of writing book reviews for free like I do now! For those of you who aren't familiar with sarcasm, the previou ...more
Lorina Stephens
Mar 23, 2014 rated it liked it
It would be egregiously erroneous to fail to recognize Greg Bechtel's accomplished writing. There is no question he understands the nuance of language. His work is witty, clever, targeted for an audience looking for literature rather than escapism.

Yet in this collection of short stories one has the feeling of being the stranger at a gathering of a closed order of colleagues, all sharing clever inside jokes. This exclusion of the reader reaches an uncomfortable crescendo in the trilog
Apr 24, 2014 rated it liked it
I was lucky enough to win a copy through Goodreads First Reads. I'll start by saying that the author writes very well. The stories flow well for the most part and the writing is easy - and a pleasure- to read. However, I found the stories difficult mainly because I was left not understanding most of them. Perhaps that's a fault on my part, but I have seen a few other reviews about lack of accessibility and so on, and have to agree. I really wanted to like these more, but since I couldn't fully g ...more
Drew Lamont
Nov 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Some of these stories rated 4 stars, but some were worth only 2. Hence: 3 stars.
I would read something else by him.
Apr 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
The first half of this book was frankly pedestrian, but the stories in the second half are excellent. Overall the book is good enough that I would read another book by Bechtel.
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Some folks in the Edmonton Writers Group would like this book: it has a line of speculative fiction and fantasy in all of its stories, with some physics thrown in.
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Discussion guide 1 2 Jun 30, 2015 02:36PM  
Greg Bechtel’s prize-winning stories have appeared in several journals and anthologies, including The Fiddlehead, Prairie Fire, On Spec, Qwerty, and the Tesseracts anthologies of Canadian speculative fiction. Originally from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Greg has lived at various times in Toronto, Deep River, Jamaica, Ottawa, Quebec City, and Fredericton while working (among other things) as a lifeguard, technical writer, mover, ...more
“The line between genius and idiocy is a big fat freaking eight-lane highway, and if you can't see that then we know which side of the line you're on, now, don't we? Or we would if idiots didn't blend in so well. There is, after all, a certain safety in numbers” 1 likes
“I am not now, nor have I every been, a squash” 0 likes
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