Lady Vanishes and Other Oddities of Nature Hardcover – May 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Hugo Award winner Sheffield's gift for merging hard SF with compelling characters shows brightly in most of these 11 previously uncollected stories. In the poignant title tale, a physicist tries to help find a missing fellow scientist who seems to have disappeared by making herself invisible. Likewise, in Packing Fraction, another scientist must explain why a disastrous experiment levels a town. In the autobiographical Nebula winner, The Peacock Throne, which retains its strength despite dated references to the Reagan era, a journalist follows rumors of an incredible new energy source to Iran, where the answers will not be clear or easy to find. The Art of Fugue and the first contact tale, Waiting for the Riddler, are classic puzzle stories with suspenseful twists, while Cloud Cuckoo offers space adventure with a touch of astrophysics instruction. The Whole Three Yards explores one possible future for pro sports, in which football players don't retire for decades; meanwhile, the veteran soldiers in Brooks Too Broad for Leaping will sacrifice anything to get back into the service. Nuremberg Joys and Phallicide powerfully depict sacrifice and betrayal in the name of science. In contrast, What Would You Like to Know? tells an old-fashioned story of love lost and found with nary a scientist in sight. Readers who enjoy Sheffield's work will want this to fill in the gaps of previous collections, and those who may only know him from his novels (Cold as Ice, etc.) will find much to savor here.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Four more titles in Five Star's new series of short fiction by noteworthy sf authors offer a variety of tales that illustrate the depth and staying power of the genre. God Is an Iron and Other Stories presents ten tales by sf veteran Robinson, including the author's classic novella "Stardance" (co-written with Jeanne Robinson), which relates the bittersweet tale of a dancer who finds her destiny among the stars. Sf author and editor Schmidt's Generation Gap and Other Stories consists of 11 stories that range from the title story's exploration of a meeting between a man and his younger self to the complications surrounding the revival of an extinct species ("Johnny Birdseed"). The Lady Vanishes and Other Oddities of Nature brings together 11 tales by sf veteran and scientist Sheffield, including a missing-person mystery ("The Lady Vanishes") and a wry look at the future of football ("The Whole Three Yards"). In Suppose They Gave a Peace and Other Stories, fantasy and sf author Shwartz collects ten stories that run the gamut from alternate history ("Suppose They Gave a Peace") to feline perceptions ("Critical Cats"). Most of the stories in these volumes have only appeared in periodicals. Libraries wishing to augment their sf or short fiction collections should consider any of them.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
For example the title story The Lady Vanishes is another scientist turning invisible story. In this 20 page story, Sheffield uses the projector/cameras clothing method (see Where's My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future that Never Arrived by Daniel Wilson for the best explanation of this method), for the actual turning invisible with his characters ridiculing H G Wells' novel and pointing out how the method used in that novel could never happen. Nothing else really happens in the book, basically her colleague is told she disappeared from a secure facility, has used a few ATMs without showing up on security footage and he has to find her, which he doesn't really need to do as he just drives to her apartment. In the afterword its pretty clear the author isn't too familiar with the invisible man genre, maybe just assuming H G Wells is the only author ever to write about it. Each story has an afterword where Sheffield pretty much strokes his own ego. In this one Sheffield claims this as an idea he got from animals in nature. Too bad the idea has been around for a lot longer than your story Charles. Plus the fact half the story is pretty much implying Wells came up with the invisible man idea ignores Fitz-James O'Brien's What Was It? and other stories written before Wells' novel.
As for the rest of the short stories a few get a bit better but most read like the first. They are set in space, government institutions and laboratories, the sporting fields and diplomatic postings. Incase you're interested the stories inside were all written between 1996 and 2000 and are -
The Lady Vanishes
The Peacock Throne
Brooks Too Broad for Leaping
The Art of Fugue
The Whole Three Yards
What Would You Like to Know?
Waiting for the Riddlers
I'd give the collection a miss though, there's better ways to spend your time.
Invisible ex-spook, now.
3.5 out of 5