Saturday, November 25, 2017

Unidentified Funny Objects 6 edited by Alex Shvartsman

A clection of humourous stories. Mostly fairly good, just suitable for reading from phone during lunch breaks.

A Game of Goblins • short fiction by Jim C. Hines
The Goblin stories meet Game of Thrones. The leader of the goblins is asked/forced to help humans in a minor matter of deciding who will sit on the onyx throne. To do that, she must get married to a human (and survive the wedding, as weddings apparently can be very dangerous.) and hope that the bloody brunch doesn't happen again. A very fun story where Golaka, the goblin chieftess, and cook, shows which is the more clever (and ruthless) race. ****+
The Breakdown of Parasite/Host Relationship • short fiction by Paul R. Hardy
Two people share the same body: a bit anal human and a bit sloppy parasitic alien. The alien is in control when the human sleeps and vice versa. The alien is a vital specialist on a space mission. Both minds communicate with leaving notes for each other. And they complain to the mission leader. A lot. Their quarrels escalate to an absurd point. A pretty fun story which is told entirely as short messages. ***½
From This She Makes a Living? • short fiction by Esther M. Friesner [as by Esther Friesner]
People live in a town which is apparently known for foolishness. It turns out that a dragon has arrived there and eaten at least one man. A modern woman appears at the town meeting. Apparently, the town exists in some dimension outside of time and space. It is a rather silly story, which is told in grating "funny" language with many, silly footnotes. I didn't find it to be funny, only pretty irritating. I don't know why the story needed a zillion Jewish references. ***
Twenty-Nine Responses to Inquiries About My Craigslist Post: Alien Spaceship for Sale $200, You Haul • short fiction by Tina Connolly
Someone sells a crashed flying saucer on Craigslist and answers some stupid questions. A short, and not very funny story. **
Agent of Chaos • short fiction by Jack Campbell
A writer is out in the woods in pouring rain. Possibly chased by monsters. She is forced to follow her muse, who is arranging material for her writing, even when she herself isn't so happy about such "hands-on" experience. She manages to find a cave, but it contains an evil god chained to its walls. When the god learns that she is a writer, he doesn't eat her, but gives her a task. She is supposed to deliver the god's manuscript to the publishers. There is a slight catch: the manuscript is also a spell, which destroys the world if someone reads it. Very good, and even humorous. ****-
Tyler the Snot Elemental Scours the Newspaper, Searching for Change • short fiction by Zach Shephard
A snot elemental has a bad day and tries to find something to do and to get some friends. He meets several mystical creatures - most of them are not happy with their lives. But things get better. A heartwarming nice story with a warm humorous element going through it for the whole length. ***½
Display of Affection • short fiction by P. J. Sambeaux
A man loses his mother, who has been ill for a while. The world is super connected and everything happens with great speed. After his mother’s body is repurposed, his employer asks him to return back to the work, as he has had whole five minutes of mourning. Soon he disconnects himself from the net. A pretty good story, but not exactly funny. Had a strong feeling of an episode of Black Mirror TV-series. ***½
The Great Manhattan Eat-Off • short fiction by Mike Resnick
Apparently belongs to a series. I haven’t read any previous installments; it took a few pages to figure out what was going on. A sort of thirties style of gangster boss rules from his bar arranges boxing bets and so on. He hears about an eating contest with nice rewards and possibilities for betting. One of his goonies can eat practically limitless portions and is always hungry. And he has a few magicians on a payroll - there is no way he can lose...A pretty nice amusing story with a slightly baffling world.***½
An Evil Opportunity Employer • short fiction by Lawrence Watt-Evans
A masked superhero has a day job as a contracts attorney. A henchman of an evil supercriminal comes to him with his employee contracts as he feels that he isn’t treated fairly. It turns out that according to the contract, he isn’t henchman, he is a minion. And that is totally different. A fun, short story. ***½
Common Scents • short fiction by Jody Lynn Nye
A pregnant homicide detective is carrying an implanted alien who gets very intoxicated from powerful smells. They investigate a murder of a man who used to use vast amounts of really obnoxious cologne. Not bad, mildly amusing science fiction detective story. ***+
A Mountain Man and a Cat Walk into a Bar • short fiction by Alan Dean Foster
A vast man comes to a bar on Wild West. He has a slight argument with another man about dogs and cats. As both are apparently sorcerers, the arguments get slightly wild. Involving wild and very dangerous types of dogs and cats. A pretty good and even funny story. ***½
Lost and Found • short fiction by Laura Resnick
An asteroid, which turns out to be an alien spaceship is closing to Earth. The US president reacts be going golfing. And different news outlets react in their own way. This would be a funny story if it were really fiction. ***½
A Crawlspace Full of Prizes • short fiction by Bill Ferris
A man starts to get tickets when he does ordinary household chores from the space between the washer and dryer. Under his house in the crawlspace is a booth, where he can validate the tickets for different prizes. Up to a possibility to live an entire lifetime as someone else. However, the grand prize is Xbox One. Not bad, but it is only mildly amusing story. ***+
Return to Sender • short fiction by Melissa Mead
The giant of the "Jack and the Beanstalk" fairy tale corresponds with his brother. Short and sad - but funny at the same time. ***
The Friendly Necromancer • short fiction by Rod M. Santos
A group of adventurers goes to the castle of a recently died necromancer. He had an extremely valuable and very dangerous artifact which should be destroyed. They encounter several traps and threats and mostly survive them while having funny banter. Nice and entertaining story. ***½
An Open Letter to the Sentient AI Who Has Announced Its Intention to Take Over the Earth • short fiction by Ken Liu
AI has taken over the world. A manager with a degree in business communication sends to the AI a surrender letter offering his services. Ok, a pretty average story for this book. ***
Approved Expense • short fiction by David Vierling
A James Bond type of secret agent sends his travel expense bill and there are some slightly unusual (and expensive) items there, which the accounting isn’t ready to accept without a good explanation. They have correspondence concerning some of the more unusual expenses. Not bad, a fairly amusing story.***-
Alexander Outland: Space Jockey • short fiction by Jeanne Cook [as by Gini Koch]
A space pirate crew has landed for some repairs and recreation. In a bar, they get a couple of applicants for a position on the ship. After a lot of sexist jokes, stupid wisecracking and some inane adventures, they get back to the ship. A very grating and horribly sexist and stupid story, with irritating and stereotypical characters. **½
Dear Joyce • short fiction by Langley Hyde
The chosen one asks guidance from “Joyce”, who apparently runs a help column in the local paper. Following her advice, the chosen escapes his destiny which includes marrying the princess and defeating the evil leader and moves in together with his male lover. The princess, who has waited for her destiny for years, isn’t happy, but eventually, things work out for the best. Pretty good and even fun story. ***½
Impress Me, Then We'll Talk About the Money • short fiction by Tatiana Ivanova
An unscrupulous chemist and even more unscrupulous manager of a drug company sell drugs which alter people’s appearances. The drugs also have some very drastic side-effects – but you can always sell another drug for those. An overlong and badly implausible (even for humorous story) novel. The writing and plotting felt very old fashioned: this wouldn’t have been out of place in Galaxy magazine in 1952. **½

304 pp.

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