23 February 2014

McSweeney's 45 - Hitchcock and Bradbury Fistfight in Heaven [2013]

I read this because I subscribed recently to McSweeney's.  

It's a collection of short stories from separate collections edited by Malcolm Bradbury and Alfred Hitchcock in the 1950s, together with some new stories.  Some of the stories are by well-known authors such as The Sound Machine by Roald Dahl and In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka and I had read these before.  

Of the new stories, these are the ones which stay with me:

Julian May's Dune Roller is great science fiction.  Very pulpy but also very evocative of the dunes alongside Lake Michigan.  

For all the Rude People by Jack Ritchie is a tremendous vigilante fantasy in which rudeness is punished by murder.  Really satisfying in a slightly shameful way.

Sorry, Wrong Number by Lucille Fletcher and Allan Ullman reads like a Patricia Highsmith story with the same atmospheric immorality and inevitable escalation of suspense.  This was the story in the collection that I enjoyed the most, and when I finished it I thought what a great movie it would make.

This collection made me realise that I don't read enough short stories (or indeed, science fiction); it also made me appreciate how difficult it is to write short stories.  

The book is beautifully-made, with an amazing cover by Tavis Coburn.  I am really pleased that I picked it up.



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