Thursday, July 21, 2016

Book Review: Frankensteins and Foreign Devils

Frankensteins and Foreign Devils
Walter Jon Williams
Science fiction

A wide-ranging short-story collection. By far the most enjoyable story is "Broadway Johnny", which is a Bertie Wooster chop-sockey 1920s Jazz pulp Oriental fantasy adventure. " Williams mentions in his afterword that he had other stories in mind for the character, but regrettably he doesn't seem to have followed through. "Red Elvis" is an intriguing thought piece with a nice twist at the end. Multiple award nominee "Wall, Stone, Craft" is interesting, but for full effect you need to be quite familiar with the original Frankenstein, i.e. the book.

The rest of the stories are generally good, some very good, but not quite crowd-pleasers; Williams, here and elsewhere, is a writer who relies a lot on mood. The closest author parallel I can think of is Roger Zelazny. If you like his short fiction, there's a good chance you'll like WJW (and vice-versa).

Zelazny has a number of short-story collections out there. Unicorn Variations is a good one.

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