Raj's Reviews > Alley God

Alley God by Philip José Farmer
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Aug 14, 2010

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bookshelves: sci-fi, short-stories
Read from August 15 to 20, 2010

This short volume consists of three novelettes: 'The Alley Man', 'The Captain's Daughter' and 'The God Business'. The first one was possibly the most unsatisfying with its story of an young academic who spends a week with an alley family, who survive by gathering rubbish, with the man believing that his misshapen features are due to him being the last remnant of a Neanderthal tribe. I didn't find any way into this story, with neither the loud booming drunk 'Neanderthal' nor the quiet, intellectual woman being particularly interesting as characters.

'The Captain's Daughter' has a doctor having to deal with a strange illness in the daughter of a starship captain, belonging to a particularly strict religious sect. This was more interesting than the first one, because it had a mystery element to the story even if the characters felt more like Golden Age characters rather than Farmer's New Wave stuff.

The last story, 'The God Business' was the one I enjoyed the most, telling of a new god who appears in the middle of an unremarkable county in the US, turning the river into Brew, letting those who drink it shed their inhibitions and enjoy life, and the strike team sent in by the Government to stop this danger to the nation. This one had a real sense of playfulness about it, from Al Allegory, the crocodile-man walking allegory to the young jock who got turned into a demigod of fertility. An enjoyable read.
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