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ASIMOV, ISAAC; GRENBERG, MARTIN HARRY & OLANDER, JOSEPH O. (EDITORS)- 100 GREAT SCIENCE FICTION SHORT SHORT STORIES. Pan Books. 1978 

 

Ultra-short, or Flash Fiction is coming back into vogue online, though not yet as much as it should do in printed book formats.There is an art to giving a story in less than a thousand words that still has a beginning, middle and an end. This collection shows just how well such stories can be handled. Many of the great SF writers are included, Asimov, George R R Martin, Roger Zelaney, Larry Niven, etc. Some of the stories are puns, as in Asimovís shamelessly groans inducing A Loint Of Paw. Others are much more serious.A dungeons and dragons fanatic gets his wish to be in a real adventure, but he is shocked when his wish has been misunderstood and he gets turned into a dragon, expected to kill the knights bearing down on him. A sign at he end of the universe tells users which way up it should go. The sign, and the story are deliberately written upside down. E Martin Blake leaves a nearly blank story for telepaths to read. Some of the stories would qualify as fantasy or as horror rather than as Science Fiction, but that is by the by. The real quality is the brevity makes this ideal bedtime reading or a book to carry on short journeys. There are stories here where the titles are longer than the narrative. One is a mere three words in length. My favourite is Danni Plachtaís The Man From When. In this a time traveler arrives in a manís house unexpectedly from the future. He laments that his time machine used so much power it destroyed the world.The man is then shocked to learn that the traveler has only moved back in time by eighteen minutes. http://www.asimovonline.com/

 

Arthur Chappell

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