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Death and the Librarian and Other Stories [Hardcover]

Esther Friesner
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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From Library Journal

From a darkly humorous tale of the power of words ("Death and the Librarian") to a never-before-published response to the events of September 11 ("Ilion"), Friesner's 12 stories illustrate the author's acutely sensitive vision of wonder in the everyday world. Often cloaked in humor, these tales always provide keen insights using sf and fantasy as vehicles. Known primarily for his "Star Wars" novels, including Heir to the Empire, Zahn's short stories also deliver strong plots and memorable characters. Beginning with a tale of interstellar war against a hive-mind ("Point Man") and ending with a novella that combines space travel and music in a unique and surprising fashion, Star Song's six pieces illuminate the author's versatility and eclectic tastes. Zebrowski's many novels (e.g., Macrolife) mark him as a visionary as well as a master of hard sf. The ten short stories collected in In the Distance provide a benchmark of his creativity. From tales of the near future ("The Water Sculptor") to those of the far future ("Between the Winds"), the author expands his concept of the human condition to embrace the stars. Part of Five Star's continuing commitment to showcasing the short fiction of the genre's most prominent authors, these three volumes belong in most libraries where short sf is popular.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

This collection of Friesner's best short stories ranges from the light and humorous to the darkly introspective and includes two Nebula winners among its highly re-readable contents. Friesner writes boldly, and her wit is sharp, funny, and often wry, as in "True Believer" and "Jesus at the Bat." But as often as she makes you laugh, she also leads you into the shadow side of human nature, as when a young man makes peace with the death of his gay uncle in "In the Realm of Dragons," an abused child learns what it means to keep a promise in "All Vows," and heaven becomes involved in the aftermath of 9/11 in the hauntingly beautiful "Ilion." Friesner appears to know her characters well, and they also know themselves very well, indeed. Finally, what makes these stories so good is Friesner's willingness to tackle difficult subjects and fearlessly explore the depths and breadths of feeling and experience exquisitely well. Paula Luedtke
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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By Harriet Klausner TOP 1000 REVIEWER
The twelve stories that make up DEATH AND THE LIBRARIAN AND OTHER STORIES are, for the most part, either ironic or satirical or both, but with one exception, always amusing fantasies. Esther Friesner is at her irreverent best skewing the universe with classic short stores like "How To Make Unicorn Pie", "In the Realm of Dragons", and "Jesus at the Bat", etc. The only new story "Illion" is atypical of Ms. Friesner as this takes a more somber tone than usual as the author provides her perspective to 9/11. The uniqueness of this collection is the writer's ability to wink at the genre for its excessive rigid formulaic characters and themes yet also parody modern society in the same story. With the well written reverent "Illion" aside, fans who relish humorous skewing of fantasy stereotypes that also encourage the audience to "thine own self be true" will delight in this swift reading anthology. Just because the woks are a parody, one must not think for a moment that the author does not take her work seriously. Each story is finely crafted and appeals to something primal in the reader. This is a great introduction for someone not familiar with the works of Esther Friesner.
Harriet Klausner
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ironic or satirical or both, and mostly amusing fantasies Dec 17 2002
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
The twelve stories that make up DEATH AND THE LIBRARIAN AND OTHER STORIES are, for the most part, either ironic or satirical or both, but with one exception, always amusing fantasies. Esther Friesner is at her irreverent best skewing the universe with classic short stores like "How To Make Unicorn Pie", "In the Realm of Dragons", and "Jesus at the Bat", etc. The only new story "Illion" is atypical of Ms. Friesner as this takes a more somber tone than usual as the author provides her perspective to 9/11. The uniqueness of this collection is the writer's ability to wink at the genre for its excessive rigid formulaic characters and themes yet also parody modern society in the same story. With the well written reverent "Illion" aside, fans who relish humorous skewing of fantasy stereotypes that also encourage the audience to "thine own self be true" will delight in this swift reading anthology. Just because the woks are a parody, one must not think for a moment that the author does not take her work seriously. Each story is finely crafted and appeals to something primal in the reader. This is a great introduction for someone not familiar with the works of Esther Friesner.
Harriet Klausner
5.0 out of 5 stars Great author March 14 2014
By SteveW - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Bought this just for the short story Death and the Librarian but read some of the others. Not disappointed by her!
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