GOOD-BYE ROBINSON CRUSOE AND OTHER STORIES by John Varley. Dust jacket by Vincent Chong. Burton, MI; Subterranean Press; 2013. 1st edition hardcover. LIMITED TO 1000 SIGNED/NUMBERED COPIES.
Length: 344 pages.
This stellar collection by John Varley contains eleven provocative, utterly distinctive stories and novellas. None of them are currently available in any other book. Some have been unavailable in any form for twenty-five years or more. The result is a publishing event that no admirer of Varley—or of first-rate imaginative fiction—can afford to miss.
The bulk of these stories comprise what the author calls a “Grand Tour of the Solar System,” moving from one thoroughly imagined setting to another with deceptive ease. “The Funhouse Effect” is a tale of mystery, intrigue, and illusion that takes place on a mechanized comet moving toward the sun’s corona. “Retrograde Summer” is an account of gender reversals and family secrets set against the radically unstable backdrop of Mercury. “Bagatelle” pits a recurring Varley character—Police Chief Anna-Louise Bach—against a living bomb that threatens to devastate Luna’s Dresden City. Other stories range from Venus (“In the Bowl”) to an underground “disneyland” on Pluto (“Good-Bye, Robinson Crusoe) to the unexplored reaches of deep space (“The Black Hole Passes”). The collection ends with two very different offerings that are nonetheless vintage Varley. “The Unprocessed Word” is a whimsical reflection on one writer’s relationship with a ubiquitous, constantly evolving technology, while “The Manhattan Phone Book (Abridged)” is a brief, absolutely chilling meditation on the consequences of nuclear proliferation.
Whatever the tone, style, or subject matter, Varley remains in complete control of this impressively varied material. Good-Bye, Robinson Crusoe and Other Stories provides intellectual stimulation and pure entertainment in equal measure, and bears the unmistakable hallmark of a master storyteller on every page.
Limited: 1000 signed numbered hardcover copies.
Table of Contents
◦ The Funhouse Effect
◦ Retrograde Summer
◦ In the Bowl
◦ Blue Champagne
◦ Good-Bye, Robinson Crusoe
◦ Lollipop and the Tar Baby
◦ The Black Hole Passes
◦ The Unprocessed Word
◦ The Manhattan Phone Book (Abridged)
From Publishers Weekly:
“Eleven long-unavailable science fiction stories showcase Varley’s signature themes of freedom and free love in this literary tour of the odder byways of the solar system. Varley (Slow Apocalypse) loves exotic settings: talking black holes in “Lollipop and the Tar Baby,” a hollowed-out comet turned into a space ship in ‘The Funhouse Effect,’ an orbiting resort shaped like a champagne glass in ‘Blue Champagne,’ a tropical ‘Disneyland’ on Pluto in the title story. The collection serves best as a time capsule of Varley’s less-known work and silver-age science fiction.”
From Library Journal:
“Fans of Varley and cleanly brilliant storytelling should enjoy this.”
“Here the Nifty Skiffy technologies—nullfield vacuum suits, symbiotes, sex-changes, and the colonization of insanely hostile environments—compete for our attention with equally revolutionary and transformative changes in social, psychological, and moral realms… The shelf life of much SF can be surprisingly short, but the freshness and vividness of these stories after nearly four decades suggests that Varley’s work belongs in the permanent canon.”
From Locus (Gardner Dozois):
“The best of Varley’s early stories have been collected in Good-bye, Robinson Crusoe and Other Stories, and the best of the stories here, such as ‘In the Bowl’, ‘Retrograde Summer’, ‘Blue Champagne’, ‘Bagatelle’, and the eponymous title story, deserve a permanent place of honor in the SF pantheon.”
Fine in fine dj.