Urbana, IL; Golden Gryphon Press, 2003. 1st hardcover edition. Fine in fine dj. Barry Malzberg states in his Foreword that ". . . this collection announces a completely formed, irreplaceable talent at the beginning of a remarkable career." Although his first sale was a mere ten years ago, Dale Bailey's literary fantasies have been a delight from the start, and a collection is now due.
The title story, "The Resurrection Man's Legacy," was nominated for the Nebula Award and has been optioned for a movie by director James Cameron. A young, orphaned lad must live with an elder aunt; the childless aunt proves unable to supply all that the boy requires, so she purchases a robotic, surrogate father for him. Is a robot in any way a replacement for a human father? Is it possible to have affection and feeling toward a construct? Bailey skillfully navigates these questions, in a moving coming-of-age story.
Bailey walks on the dark side with many of his stories. In "The Anencephalic Fields," we have another coming-of-age story, that of a lad isolated with his mother on a "farm" where humanlike plants are grown. This protected life is turned topsy-turvy when the outside world violently forces itself on him and his mother. Child abuse and the choice of running or fighting is explored in "Quinn's Way." And why do people not see the abuse, and is a magic circus the only way out?
Other stories blend fantasy with reality, with the dead arising to vote, the pain of having to bury your firstborn child, a "lost" southern town where slavery still rears its ugly head, and other horrific, thought-provoking, terrible, and wonderful tales of life. Thecollection ends on two powerful notes. "Sheep's Clothing" is a near-future science fiction tale of an assassin planning to kill a politician, to make the world a better place to live, by assuming control of his daughter's body, and using her body to kill the father. But do the ends always justify the means? The ending novella, "In Green's Dominion," has a spinster professor, reflecting on her life as it nears its conclusion, settling her "affairs" and remembering the "magic" moments in her life — too late, perhaps? Can lost opportunities ever be reclaimed?
These literary short works of science fiction, fantasy, and psychological horror are the foundation of what will be a long and successful career for Dale Bailey.
Foreword by Barry N. Malzberg. Cover art by John Picacio. SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR.