Crosstime Traffic Mass Market Paperback – Sep 23 1992
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From Publishers Weekly
In the first half of his first collection of short stories, Watt-Evans comes up with some clever variations on a standard SF theme: imagine that you can travel from world to world among an infinite number of alternate realities, but with no way to return to where you started. Watt-Evans introduces us to a New York City cop whose job it is to deal with chunks of other universes--such as a 200-foot flying whale--periodically dropped onto Earth by "reality storms"; a mourning widower who travels doggedly from universe to universe in a desperate attempt to resurrect his marriage; and an entrepreneur who has discovered a way to bring back marketable ideas from other worlds. Unfortunately, although the book promises "an infinite number of possibilities" for tales of travel between alternate realities, Watt-Evans ( The Misenchanted Sword ) seems to run out of ideas about midway through the collection. The result is an oddly disjointed book whose second half is composed of a few fantasies and some self-consciously old-fashioned stories about martians, monsters and a couple of space-colony kids who decide to build a spaceship.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Lawrence Watt-Evans is the author of more than forty novels and more than a hundred short stories in the fields of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. He lives in Maryland with his wife and the obligatory writer’s cat. Visit his website at http://www.watt-evans.com/. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Now, this said, it maybe explains why my most favorite theme is time-travel/parallel universes.
Too bad it's one of those less written-about sub-genres in science-fiction.
Anyhow, I think it was almost 10 years ago (I think I was about 16) when I picked an issue of "Amazing Stories", and fell in love with a certain short story there. It was called "The Drifter", written by Lawrence Watt-Evans; A beautiful, parallel-universe short story. It was the best short sci-fi story I ever read. (Again, I never read those "heavy" Asimov stories and the likes..). I liked it a lot, put the magazine away someplace, and didn't give it much thought for a few years.
A few months ago, I found the magazine and read the story. And it rekindled my love for it. But now - I've got Amazon. I logged in and searched for Lawrence Watt-Evans items.
And among various novels he's written, I've found this book - a collection of short stories. One of which is the Drifter!!! Wow... Moreover, there are a couple of stories here that actually won the Hugo award!
I had to have this book!
I got it, I read it, and I enjoyed. All the stories were just right for my love of "soft core" science-fiction and fantasy. Twenty of them.
I enjoyed most of the stories very much. There were a couple of very bad stories as well (Luckily they were very short), that the author himself describe as his early, premature, work.
In short, I can recommend this book. If you want to remember the stories that got you hooked on it as a kid. If you love short, science fiction and fantasy stories, dealing with different aspects not always touched by other writers, time-travel, parallel-worlds, and other cool stuff - buy this book!
In this collection of twenty stories, fifteen have a unique riff on inter-reality travel, communication, or merging. A couple won major awards like the Hugo. Even if you don't normally go for short stories, if you like cross-reality traffic, you'll enjoy this collection.
Stories Included: Paranoid Fantasy #1, Why I Left Harry's All-Night Hamburgers, A Flying Saucer with Minnesota Plates, An Infinity of Karen, The Drifter, Storm Trooper, One-Shot, "Truth, Justice, and the American Way," Real Time, New Works, One Night at a Local Bar, Science Fiction, Watching New York Melt (with Julie Evans), Monster Kidnaps Girl at Mad Scientist's Command!, Windwagon Smith and the Martians, The Rune and the Dragon, The Palace of the al-Tir al-Abtan, The Final Folly of Captain Dancy, After the Dragon is Dead.
A book I'm glad to own.
Some of the stories are quite short, coming in at under two pages(!), but the rest are of a more descent length. In general I really like the stories, especially the crosstime ones - I wish that he had written more of them. The story Storm Trooper is probably the best of the lot, but The Drifter was very interesting, and The Final Folly of Captain Dancy was quite entertaining.
So, if you are a fan of good science-fiction and fantasy, then you will like this book. And, if you are a fan of Lawrence Watt-Evans, as I am, then I can guarantee that you will love it!
- "Introduction" (1992) by the author explains why he wrote short stories and how long it took to get one published.
- "Paranoia Fantasy #1" (American Atheist, 1975) is the first short story he sold to a magazine. The other three Paranoia stories haven't sold as of the publication date.
- "Why I Left Harry's All-Night Hamburgers" (Asimov's, 1987) is his most successful short story. It won a Hugo and was nominated for the Nebula.
- "A Flying Saucer with Minnesota Plates" (Asimov's, 1991) is also about Harry's.
- "An Infinity of Karen" (Amazing, 1988) was originally entitled "Eurydice", but the editor didn't think anyone would get the reference.
- "The Drifter" (Amazing, 1991) finds a crosstime experiment volunteer drifting through the timelines.
- "Storm Trooper" (Asimov's, 1991) confronts the DSC squad with another police agency.
- "One-Shot" (Asimov's, 1990) brings a time traveler back to save JFK.
- "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" (Alternate Presidents, 1992) is an alternate history story about the 1932 election.
- "Real Time" (Asimov's, 1988) considers a time traveler stranded in the past, but still defending the future.
- "New Worlds" (Asimov's, 1991) takes a crosstime crew to a world with FLT travel.
- "One Night at the Local Bar" (Space Gamer, 1980) takes a spacer to a Terran bar crowded with all kinds of human varients.
- "Science Fiction" (Analog, 1991) follows two boys as they build a spaceship in the backyard.
- "Watching New York Melt " (Newer York, 1990) is about the attitude of NYC inhabitants. This story was co-written with the author's wife.
- "Monster Kidnaps Girl at Mad Scientist's Command" (Pulphouse, 1992) lampoons the media, but has a happy ending.
- "Windwagon Smith and the Martians" (Asimov's, 1988) carries Smith and his windwagon to Mars for a race.
- "The Rune and the Dragon" (Dragon, 1984) is a Fantasy that doesn't end in the way you would expect.
- "The Palace of Al-Tir al-Abtan" (Marion Zimmer's, 1989) is a Fantasy with a wizard and a thief that also doesn't end as expected.
- "The Final Folly of Captain Dancy" (Rebirth of Wonder, 1992) relates the problems of the crew after Dancy dies in an alley without telling them what he was planning.
- "After the Dragon is Dead" (Marion Zimmer's, 1990) leaves the hero winning the princess and thinking everything will be happy ever after.
These tales show the author's range, versatility and humor. He seems to prefer a little social commentary in his stories, a well grounded SFF tradition. OTOH, the stories seldom have depressing endings.
However, this author doesn't follow the standard plots. He insists of turning the tale in unexpected directions. For example, "After the Dragon is Dead" starts where so many stories conclude. He also likes to use cliches with a twist.
The author has been selling novels since 1980. The first -- [[ASIN: The Lure of the Basilisk]] -- began The Lords of Dûs series. He has many other series, the longest of which is The Legends of Ethshar,
This is the author's first collection. Other short stories are collected within Celestial Debris. Of course, there is also Tales of Ethshar, but it is constrained to short works within that fantasy milieu.
Highly recommended for Watt-Evans fans and for anyone else who enjoys short tales of science fiction and fantasy. Read and enjoy!
-Arthur W. Jordin