Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review: Dead Men Don't Cry, by Nancy Fulda

Dead Men Don't Cry, by Nancy Fulda, is an eclectic collection of 10 science fiction short stories. I don't often read short story collections, but I enjoyed this one. I received it as a review copy via Smashwords. Some of the stories took me on adventures while others made me think, even as they made me cringe. Here's a brief rundown of the stories, without giving away too much.

Pastry Run - This was a fun romp of an adventure, all in the name of a fresh morning pastry. Forget Paris to New York and try Charles de Gaulle to the Sea of Tranquility. This story quickly pulled me into the collection.

Dead Men Don't Cry - Whodunit with a science fiction twist and a bang of an ending. It has been a while since I read a mystery, but this took it to the next level by introducing my beloved science fiction. I enjoyed the experience, even though I guessed the solution before the main protagonist.

Blue Ink - Six-year-old Jason doesn't like the funny smells, the scratchy hospital gown, or the idea of being cloned, but all the grown-ups say he's very fortunate. Nancy does a good job of addressing a complicated debate through the eyes of a child. I thought this story was fascinating.

Backlash - Eugene's much-anticipated daddy/daughter dinner becomes too exciting with the addition of an unwelcome boyfriend and a strange fortune. I loved the take on time travel in this story.

Monument - A traveler on the way home from Thanksgiving stops to stretch her legs and finds more than she bargained for. This one made me think, though it almost felt like the message was being shoved down my parched throat.

Tammi's Garden - Tamela lives in caverns that protect her from the bad air above, if you can call barely surviving living, but at least she has her mother. That is until she wakes in an almost idyllic garden. But which is the dream? Read this and let me know if you can answer the question.

All Praise to the Dreamer - A new mom's pleasant day turns deadly serious as she tries to save the life of her two-month-old baby. This one reminded me of The Twilight Zone, but I really disliked it. That might have something to do with the fact that I'm a fairly new mother myself.

The Breath of Heaven - Computers grapple with emerging sentience and how they should follow their directives to establish a human colony. Does the ideal human operator exist? Sacia is an AI with an interesting and surprisingly likable point of view. I loved this story.

Ghost Chimes - Ghost chimes ringing at 3AM make Alicia wish that she had unplugged the machine, even as she settles the glasses on her nose to answer her mother's call. Her mom can be a bit nosy sometimes, but that's not the half of it. I didn't like this story, though the concept was clever.

A New Kind of Sunrise - Young Mikki finds a dying stranger. Her clan chief agrees to take him in, little knowing the profound impact the man will have not only on Mikki but also on the entire clan. This story built a rich and believable world in relatively few pages. I loved it and look forward to reading more in future.

Even though I didn't like all of the stories, even those made me think. Dead Men Don't Cry is a highly enjoyable, well written collection. I look forward to reading more of Nancy's writing, particularly when she releases her upcoming novel.

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