Date added: 3.3.2015
Despite the inevitable dated characters and attitudes (women reduced to minor roles and men generally oozing testosterone), the themes of these 12 vintage stories mostly arise from the pure heart of speculative SF. Slice-of-life cop story NightbeatMoreDespite the inevitable dated characters and attitudes (women reduced to minor roles and men generally oozing testosterone), the themes of these 12 vintage stories mostly arise from the pure heart of speculative SF. Slice-of-life cop story Nightbeat echoes the rough language play of Anthony Burgesss A Clockwork Orange, while goofy alien dialect figures in the amusing Made in Archerius. Voice is the entire story in Happy New Year, Hal. Predictable Twilight Zonish twists adorn The Flying Stutzman, about an all-too-stereotypical traveling salesman doomed to endless motion, and Grandfather Pelts, in which an intergalactic fur smuggler gets more than he bargained for. Starpath is an old-fashioned space opera with a modern sensibility. To Plant a Seed, a traditional, hard SF puzzle story, works despite its annoyingly dated female character. Logic puzzles are also at the heart of the clever Survival Course and the drolly humorous The Stentorii Luggage. The most thoughtful stories in the collection present uncomfortable truths without flinching, such as Hero, a sharply observed tale about human veterans of an alien war too distant from Earth. A Walk on Toy likewise examines the tenuous ties of humanity between Earth-dwellers and far-flung colonists, while The Talking overturns the usual SF trope of information setting one free by showing a society where it does the exact opposite. Barretts fans will welcome this collection, as will readers who enjoy science fiction from the 60s and 70s. A Different Vintage by Neal Barrett Jr.