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The city sky is as gray and blank as slate, faintly luminous, like a smoldering trash fire. The few celestial bodies that glisten through the pollution are about as inspiring as beached fish.

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Michael is thinking about his relationship with Robin: I was ten years older, divorced, drifting like a swamped canoe towards the rapids of midlife; she was a tattooed Gen-Xer the Worm Oroborous circling her left ankle in blue repose for whom the death of Kurt Cobain had been a meaningful event. I think we aroused each other's exogamous instincts. How's that for dispassionate over-analysis This year a new person in the group by name of John Carver suggests the challenge of inventing a religion. Jeremy, the narrator of the story, gets caught up in the idea, and he begins to obsess about his new religion -- something to do with a map of the city and walking the streets late at night.

It's never too clear to the other characters just what Jeremy's religion is or means. His relationship with his wife Michelle begins to suffer, and his friend Deirdre gets progressively more worried about him. Deirdre also becomes paranoid about John Carver, suspecting that he may not even be human.

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The SF Site Featured Review: The Perseids and Other Stories

She is having "psychological" difficulties because of aliens who will not stop bothering her -- and of course none of the adults in her life will believe her. In the summer of , her parents send her to live with her uncle Carter, who works at the newly constructed Mt. Palomar Observatory in California. Carter is not particularly thrilled to have a young teen girl around, nor is he thrilled that Sandra makes friends with Edwin Hubble.

Hubble answers Sandra's plea for help in a desperate hour, and gives her some sage advice: "'One doesn't have to understand in order to look. One has to look, in order to understand'" Bob Zale is on lithium for his bi-polar mood disorder, and goes to Dr. Koate's biweekly group meetings at the ominously named F-Wing. He meets a neighbour of his, Mikey, who latches onto him.

Mikey has many theories about what drugs and chemicals in general are doing to humans and to the earth. The chemical messages are messing up the order of things, according to Mikey, and the conclusion of the story seems to support this notion. Or at least the notion that reality is not exactly the same as its popular conception.

Science fiction has often considered what the next step in the evolution of intelligence might be like, and how more advanced beings might regard us. Status Available.

Photographing the Perseids meteor shower - Rhossili Bay

Call number Tags sf , science fiction , collection , Daedalus , mailorder , , an uncatalogued dupe of this also exists. Genres Science Fiction. Publication Tor Books , Paperback. Description In his first story collection, Robert Charles Wilson, one of the most distinguished SF authors of his generation, weaves a tapestry of tales set in and around the city of Toronto -- a haunted, numinous Toronto of past, present, and future, buzzing with strangeness.

User reviews LibraryThing member avisannschild.

Robert Charles Wilson

Although most of the stories in this book are set in Toronto and the same bookshop is featured in several of them , they are not linked in a traditional sense. That is to say, they may all begin in a recognizable Toronto, but the deeper you venture into each story, the stranger things get—and each story is unique in its strangeness. Wilson slips easily from metaphor such as mental illness as a separate city to science fiction in which it is literally possible to get lost in a parallel city as well as from accepted scientific knowledge to plausible extrapolation. Many of his stories are grounded in science, but elements of mysticism and horror are also present in these stories.

I highly recommend this collection. A slightly different version of this review can be found on my blog, she reads and reads.

Fler böcker av Robert Charles Wilson

LibraryThing member AlanPoulter. An excellent collection The fields of Abraham The purchase of a telescope leads to an extra-terrestrial encounter The Perseids A poor immigrant struggling to feed himself and his sister is trapped by a chess game. The inner inner city A competition between friends to design a new religion has a strange outcome.


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Protocols of consumption. A drug addict reminisces in prison on the strange powers over insects of his strange ex-friend. Ulysses sees the Moon in the bedroom window A neighbor has designs on his neighbors wife but a higher level of attraction is hinted at Platos' mirror A roue lives a life of easy pleasure until he acquires an unusual mirror, which shows the truth.

Divided by infinity Starting with a widower buying a hitherto unknown sf-f paperback, reality seems to keep changing to preserve his life Pearl Baby Something new and strange is born LibraryThing member snarkhunt. Beautiful little short stories that interconnect at strange tangents. Strange booksellers, impossible books, and the first story I've read where information visualization plays a powerful part in the story. I'm looking for more from this author on the basis of these stories.

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LibraryThing member JohnGrant1. I've read and never less than enjoyed more usually been bowled over by several of Wilson's novels but not encountered his short fiction before. This is his first and so far only collection -- nine tales, most of novelette length -- and it most assuredly doesn't disappoint. If there's a weak story at all it's the last one in the book, "Pearl Baby", which was as elegantly and movingly written as all the others, but with a premise which failed to convince me and a denouement that didn't as I'd anticipated it would resolve that problem.

But the remaining eight are of such a standard that it's hard to know where to begin in describing them; to try to select standouts among them would be futile. There are shared characters and background elements among the stories, most notably a second-hand bookshop called Finders whose proprietor is in some way beyond the merely human, but these details as Wilson cheerily admits in his Afterword aren't consistent and shouldn't be regarded as too important.

In "The Observer" the only UFO-related story I have ever read that I can remember much enjoying there's no reason for us to believe that the narrator is flawed beyond her belief that she must be; in a sense the story is about her slowly learning -- thanks to the intervention of Edwin Hubble, of all people! For most of Wilson's protagonists here, however, the discovery they make is that they have cause for even greater despair.

They lose rather than gain loved ones. They lose what they'd believed to be the stability in their lives. In "The Inner Inner City" a transcendent being of some undefined kind, passing as human, takes it upon itself to steal the narrator's wife through plunging the narrator into a sort of spiritual quest -- obsession, really -- involving urban cartography: the search for that heart of a city which no map shows. As always, Wilson's writing is exquisite, his voice calm and restrained even when -- as in a couple of these stories -- the events are feverish.

A wonderful collection. LibraryThing member RBeffa. I am a little disappointed with these 9 longer length short stories.


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I've read at least 8 of Wilson's novels including 5 this year and they all have been good to great. I thought that several of these shorter works just don't measure up. Wilson is good at dreaming up big ideas in his novels and he has some big ideas here, but in this mix of horror and science fiction and a little dark fantasy and mainstream storytelling several of his proposals just come off as completely illogical and stupid.