One of our favorite short story writers, Mark Rich (not the financier, instead the guy who writes about toys for a living), has a couple of new short story collections out—what’s that joke about buses never coming, then three arrive at once? Maybe there’s another collection ’round the corner?
We just got a copy of the first of these, a thick little brick of a pretty book from Redjack Books. Here’s what they said about it:
Edge of Our Lives by Mark Rich. This collection of new and previously published short stories spans the width of Mark’s considerable range of voices and themes. From the deeply poetic to the wryly humorous to the just plain bizarre, the stories take the reader to the edges (and depths) of the human (and inhuman) experience. ($10.00 US. 272pp, 4.75 x 6.5″ ISBN 978-1-892619-11-2).
The second is from Fairwood Press, Across the Sky, and it comes out in January but you can order it now:
In nineteen ventures into the future, Mark Rich moves from a moving moment during human-alien contact, in “Across the Sky” … to madcap conflict between Human and Vegetable, in the antic “Foggery” … to a vision of life in Venusian orbit, in “The Apples of Venus”—which SF giant Robert Silverberg called “science fiction in the classic mode, a contemporary version of the sort of work that makes old-timers speak with warm nostalgia of John W. Campbell’s famous magazine Astounding Science Fiction of fifty years ago.”
($15 US, 272pp)
Release came not as I expected — burdened with fines, restrictions, armed guard, and list of warnings longer than my conscience. Instead I walked away entirely free. The doctors, inquisitors, and officials did not visit my cell in the morning as they usually did. Only the middle-aged woman named Ardis entered the cell, without a guard. She arrived with the breakfast tray consisting of nothing out of the ordinary with its simple roll, butter, dab of marmalade, and small red pot of black tea. I stared at the tray trying to assess what was different. Had the commissary taken a second longer in arranging the items across the yellow plastic? Had the usual disarray of items proved unsatisfactory this day? The normally skewed angles of napkin, butter knife, and spoon — had they demanded straightening today? In my brief look at the tray I could see the kitchen help had thought to cut into a fresh lemon for the tea saucer, instead of reaching for a slice remaining from the day before. Or perhaps Ardis personally had overseen the assembly of this breakfast, even stopping to straighten its contents as she stood in the hall outside my cell. As she placed it on the immovable round table near the bed, she did so with greater care than usual.
“After you finish your breakfast you are free to go,” she said. “You can go.”
Our eyes locked for a second. Often at this time I had some witticism for her, or some ironic comment as to the morning, the lack of sunshine in my cell, or the predictable fare. I could think of nothing to say this time, looking into her face. I had tried to study that face during her brief visits at breakfast, lunch, and supper times, trying to delve beneath that outer layer of tiredness and distracted concern. To my thirty years she had perhaps ten years more, yet she had about her face the kind of perennial attractiveness that can bring out the admiration of men of any age. While I felt no more than a friendly warmth for her, that I could feel anything at all while boxed in this windowless cell kept some part of me alive that might otherwise have starved and died.