THE GIRL WHO LOVED ANIMALS AND OTHER STORIES by Bruce McAllister, cover by John Picacio. Urbana, IL; Golden Gryphon Press; 2007. 1st edition hardcover.
The Girl Who Loved Animals and Other Stories is Bruce McAllister's long-awaited first short fiction collection from Golden Gryphon Press. These seventeen stories showcase the author's five decades of writing, including his first professional sale, "The Faces Outside" — written at the ripe old age of sixteen — to editor Frederik Pohl for the July 1963 issue of Worlds of if magazine.
In the near-future title story, a young woman offers her love — and her body — to ensure the continuation of an animal species; and in a related story, "The Ark," a little girl's life is psychically linked to the survival of two pandas, and her father does what he must to ensure that all three will live.
Also included is McAllister’s best-known work, novelette "Dream Baby," a finalist for both the Hugo and Nebula awards, and the basis for his acclaimed novel of the same name. In this dark and foreboding first-person narrative of the Vietnam War, a young army nurse who dreams the deaths of her patients but cannot save them, finally transcends the pain and violence of war and at last is able to save her fellow comrades in arms who, in turn, save her.
Whether it be an elderly woman who uses her vast wealth to create genetically her perfect son ("Angels"), or a young man who, having saved his 1950s-horror-movie town from a horde of invading locusts, can no longer find meaning in his life until he meets an invasion of a different kind ("Hero, The Movie"), or a young boy who learns the rituals of an alien culture in order to obtain an assassin's help for his unborn sister ("Kin"), Bruce McAllister's stories resonate with a childhood's sense of wonder coming face to face with the realities of the human condition in a science-fictional world.
The Girl Who Loved Animals and Other Stories also features more than 10,000 words of story notes that reveal each story's genesis as well as the influences — both literary and human — on the author's life and writing career from childhood through the present day. With an introduction by science fiction great Harry Harrison, an afterword by the John W. Campbell Memorial Award-winner Barry N. Malzberg, and full-color, wraparound cover art by 2005 Chesley and World Fantasy Award-winner John Picacio.
"Among top short story talents in the field, McAllister is a leader. Polished, moving, thought-provoking — this collection is without parallel."
— Harry Harrison, author of The Stainless Steel Rat, the Deathworld trilogy, and the Eden trilogy.
"Bruce McAllister was widely regarded as one of the best science fiction writers of the '80s (although he really started all the way back in 1963), and the recent work in this collection shows that he's lost none of his skills here in the Oughts. The Girl Who Loved Animals and Other Stories,which spans five decades of his brilliant career, shows McAllister at his best: complex, compassionate, angry, thoughtful, subtle, and always concerned with exploring the hidden places of the human heart."
— Gardner Dozois, editor of the annual Year’s Best Science Fiction anthology series.
"Bruce McAllister is one of the least known and greatest talents working in the science fiction field today."
— Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories.
"Bruce McAllister is that rarity, a writer who can do anything. His stories range from the sweet to the terrifying, idea-dense to atmospheric, character-rich to event-packed. And sometimes all of this in the same story. Writers read other writers to learn tricks, but I often cannot see how he does it. He’s a magician."
— Gregory Benford, author of the Nebula Award-winning Timescape.
"From the sobering, gut-roiling verisimilitude of ‘Dream Baby’ to the inspired weirdness of his shorter pieces, Bruce’s range is astonishing, as is his ability to move, delight, and appall his readers . . . Any collection of his work should be at the top of everybody’s must-read list."
— Nancy Kress, author of the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning "Beggars in Spain".
"Bruce McAllister's best fiction has a unique, hard-won angle of vision and an admirable sense of both storytelling and style. These qualities lift his tales so far above the ordinary run of work passing for 'professional' that any discriminating reader will rejoice. And because this long-awaited gathering of stories features McAllister at his very best, the only advice I can now give that reader is, of course, 'Rejoice.' "
— Michael Bishop, author of the Nebula Award-winning No Enemy but Time.
"The Boy in Zaquitos" has been selected to appear in The Best American Short Stories 2007, guest-edited by Stephen King.
"Kin" was a finalist for the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.
Table of Contents
A Man of Our Time
The Man Inside,
World of the Wars,
The Boy in Zaquitos,
The Girl Who Loved Animals,
The Faces Outside,
Little Boy Blue,
Hero, The Movie,
The Arc of Circumstance
Fine in fine dj.