From Publishers Weekly
Postmodern playfulness and solid storytelling intermingle fluidly in this bountiful third volume of the publisher's genre-bending anthology series. In contrast to previous volumes, whose eclectic contents resisted tidy categorization, the editors have grouped these 21 stories into five different elliptically defined "libraries." As befits a structural scheme that includes a virtual library of books as yet unwritten and a library whose sole volume changes its contents each time the cover is closed, the selections are dominated by themes of impermanence and transformation. James Sallis's elegiac "Up" is set in a world where people disappear once they've reached the limit of their life's possibilities, leaving only shadowy outlines to mark their passing. In Jeffrey Ford's amusingly sentimental "The Weight of Words," a man hires a scientist who has worked out the chemistry of language to adulterate messages to his ex-wife with expressions of affection invisible to the naked eye. Carol Emshwiller, in her delightful "The Prince of Mules," transports a lovestruck woman and the oblivious object of her affection into an enchanted alternate world where identities shift with amusingly unpredictable results. Though many stories are too elusive to register as more than experiments, some like Brian Stableford's ingenious "The Face of an Angel," in which a plastic surgeon is the unlikely agent of mankind's second fall from grace are sure to be shortlisted for fiction awards. The variety and ambition of this compilation mandates that lovers of speculative fiction consider it for their own self-defined libraries.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
The third entry in this small-press anthology series is good and clever enough to send readers and librarians scurrying to find its predecessors. Twenty-one of its stories are sorted into five sections, each of which leads off with a story from the Library, a quirky series by Serbian fantasist Zoran Zivkovic. Each Zivkovic story gives its section its title and tone. The stories in "Virtual Library" occur in spaces that aren't--or certainly don't seem--real or material or human, beginning with the cybersite in Zivkovic's tale, where the narrator finds a bio-bibliographical entry for himself, complete with books he hasn't yet written and several dates for his future death. The other sections are "Home Library," "Night Library," "Infernal Library," and "Smallest Library." The stories in them, by the likes of established fantasy hands Michael Moorcock and Brian Stableford, up-and-comer Jeffrey Ford, avant-gardists Rikki Ducornet and Lance Olsen, and nineteenth-century French masters Theophile Gautier and Remy de Gourmont, are very high-order creep shows, brain-as-well-as-spine-chillers, and subtle shockers. Zivkovic's hissy fit, "Noble Library," concludes. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved