1996. Seven stories. I feel Philip K Dick muttering in the background.
Lethem is a new author for me. I read this collection of stories immediately after reading The Ecstasy of Influence because I was so impressed with his essays.
As in any collection, I enjoyed some stories more than others. Lethem has a clear voice, and dystopian world view, and I gather is aiming to reflect on our present by dipping into a not-too-distant future. Like Dick.
In “Happy Man” a father commutes to Hell and back to support his family. I guess the message being we all suffer personal Hells while alive since as far as I know nobody has yet come back to report on Hell. Clever story, well-told.
“Vanilla Dunk,” “Hardened Criminals,” and “Sleepy People” for my money are the best stories in the collection. No spoilers here. If you like mild sci-fi, (or are we supposed to call it postmodern? post-modern? post modern?) if you like your sci-fi over-easy with a rasher of dystopia, you’ll enjoy a serving of these stories.
Fun and a good intro to a very good young novelist when he was honing his craft