Colleen's Reviews > Human for a Day

Human for a Day by Martin H. Greenberg
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Dec 11, 2011

really liked it

Human for a Day is a theme anthology that covers various beings becoming human, corporeal, incarnate, animate, or mortal for a limited period of time. The topics range from statues made animate to vampires swapping bodies with teenagers to steampunk machines gaining free will. There are also two stories about pets becoming humans, in case you wanted to revisit the old saw.

The stories are almost universally good, with a nice editing job, excellent length, and reasonable accessibility (though the story about the warrior through time and the story about the Mad Hatter running around with Shakespeare both take some work).

Perhaps because of the season, "The Very Next Day," when Jody Lynn Nye's incarnation of Santa Claus visits New York City in September, sticks in my head as one of the more pleasant and re-visitable stories. Seanan McGuire's "Cinderella City" was cute and fun in a rum-soaked San Francisco sort of way, though her obsession with the various Summer King/Winter Queen family spats is a tad head-tilting. "The Dog-Catcher's Song" was so straight up (and sad) that I had to go back and check that it really was Tanith Lee. I am aware that Jim Hines is working on a book where objects can be pulled from the story and made real, so "Epilogue" felt very homey and sad, rather than immediately casting me into despair. It's only as I work on my reflections about the book that the stunning horror of the last story is setting in.

I don't know what it is with authors trying to end anthologies on such a downward beat, but like the book Running with the Pack, I'm sorry to say that some of the gruesome aspects in books stick harder when one of the stories sets up a death that I can empathetically feel and cannot disbelieve. The book is somehow diminished in my mind, because the shadows loom larger than the characters. And so it is with specific regret that this book - as well crafted as it is - is being tossed immediately into my giveaway pile.
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