Monday, August 07, 2006

Terry Bisson

In June of this year I started reading a lot more short fiction. The reason for this was the start of Orson Scott Card's online short fiction magazine, Intergalactic Medicine Show. It featured great stories from some established authors like David Farland and Card himself. IGMS also had a number of stories from upstart authors as well.

After finishing both issues of Card's magazine, I went in search of other sources of short fiction. I picked up the June 2006 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Most of the stories were barely mediocre, a few gems here or there, but for the most part I was unimpressed with what I was reading.

My next purchase was the July 2006 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction. Asimov's proved to be a better magazine. Two stories stood out. One by an author named Tim Pratt called Impossible Dreams which I talked about in a previous blog, and Nanos Comes to Clifford Falls by Nancy Kress.

After making a trip to the library, I checked out a copy of Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century, edited by Orson Scott Card. I didn't read most of the stories because a lot of them were in Future On Fire and Future on Ice, two short story anthologies also edited by Card. Oh by the way, if you didn't know, Orson Scott Card is my favorite author.

The story I did read from Masterpieces was Bears Discover Fire by Terry Bisson. A great story the won the Hugo and Nebula awards for Mr. Bisson. Later, I was looking through a short fiction anthology I bought used about 9 months before and read a Bisson story called Hole in a Hole.

Having enjoyed both of the stories I read from Terry Bisson, I got on, and bought 3 of Bisson's short fiction collections.

Currently, I am two thirds of the way through In The Upper Room and Other Likely Stories. I enjoyed nearly every story in the collection.

On a return trip to the library, I checked out The Pickup Artist by Bisson. Terry creates a future where the classic pieces of art (being film, fiction, paintings, and music) are being destroyed to make way for new artists to create art.

The protaganist becomes attached to a Hank Williams record and tries to find a way to listen to it. While he is doing so he gets caught up in some goverment stuff that I don't care to waist my time writing about. Anyway, Him and this teacher drive cross country running in to about 5 different clones named "Bob", get them selves shot at a bunch of times, and then go driving again.

Yeah, is it as boring as I am trying to make it sound? Good!

So, I made the desision to just read his excellent short fiction... uh... after... I read just one more of his novels called Talking Man.

Besides having some of the worst cover art I have ever seen, Talking Man also has just as thrilling of a story as The Pickup Artist.

So, this guy named Williams goes to a junk yard to get his windshield fixed on his Ford Mustang. Then Talking Man comes out and puts mud on Williams' windshield and the window is magically fixed. Then Talking Man's daughter Chrystal gets shot at, and Williams and her go driving for a long time.

Yep, in Terry Bisson novels there is a lot of driving.

I'm not going to say that I won't read another Terry Bisson novel, chances are I will. I am very loyal to the authors I like. Terry Bisson is a great writer, I just haven't read a good novel from him yet.

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