Sunday, January 8, 1995

More Whatdunits

by various authors, edited by Mike Resnick

The second volume of mystery stories begun by Mike Resnick and solved by various writers - editors this time. The stories therein:

"Worthsayer", Stanley Schmidt. Very well written, with a truly unexpected twist solution (an original explanation of precognition).

"For Love of Juoun", Jane Yolen. Enjoyable, with a different slant on the subject than most of the other stories.

"DragNeuroNet", John Gregory Betancourt. A tight, traditional investigative story, except the detective is a robot, one of the first. Ingenious and clever.

"Bauble", David Gerrold. A 'bittersweet mood piece', just what was asked for, and well-crafted.

"Ashes To Ashes", Beth Meacham. Another intricate detective procedural. Good.

"The Lady Louisiana Toy", Barry N. Malzberg. Written in a flowing, hermetic style, with a dreamy, detached tone, this story stands out from all the others. I liked it, but couldn't quite understand it.

"Alien Influences", Kristine Kathryn Rusch. This story shared the same problem as the one above; it too is dreamy and detached. I liked this one better.

"The Pragmatists Take a Bow", Thomas A. Easton. Good, but the ending left me unsatisfied.

"Sincerity", Patrick Nielsen Hayden. Too rushed to be enjoyable and not all that clever: The Manchurian Candidate in six pages.

"Dark Odds", Josepha Sherman. My favorite story because the hero, though clever, is never in control of the situation.

"Things Not Seen", Martha Soukup. Very clever, very intricate, and satisfactorily played out.

"Windows of the Soul", Susan Casper. Built in a necessarily contrived manner around Resnick's odd problem, but good character interplay makes up for it.

"The Whole Truth", Susan Shwartz. Another story that adds a little too much to the plot asked for, so it ends like the first chapter of a serial rather than a story. Good otherwise.

"Way Out", Jody Lynn Nye & Bill Fawcett. A clever, appealing story about the existence of UFOs and the detective hired to verify it.

"The Killer Wore Spandex", Brian M. Thomsen. Very enjoyable.

"Catachresis", Ginjer Buchanan. Her name is spelled 'Ginjer' and her story is a forced kind of zany surrealism that is neither funny nor informative nor appealing.

"Flight of Reason", Tappan King. A good story with a satisfactory ending.

"She Was Blonde, She Was Dead---And Only Jimmilich Opstromommo Could Find Out Why!!!", Janet Kagan. Fun, doesn't take itself seriously, but justifies the whole plot. Great.

"The Ugly Earthling Murder Case", George Alec Effinger. A standard procedural with a minor twist ending. Also enjoyable.

three stars

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