Kelly Link’s collection of short stories is quirky and strange, spooky and funny. Her characters inhabit worlds that would seem familiar if it wasn’t for the zombies, magical handbags, and creepy bunny rabbits. Link creates believable scenarios out of outrageous material. “The Great Divorce” features a different sort of marriage counselor: Sarah Parminter is a medium who delivers the news to Alan Robley (living) that his wife Lavvie (dead when he met her, dead when he married her) wants a divorce. My favorite story is the first in the volume, “The Faery Handbag,” in which an entire village escapes destruction by relocating to a large handbag.
In The Gap Series, Stephen R. Donaldson combines hi-tech space travel, interplanetary war and economic brinksmanship between civilizations that span entire galaxies. Like Frank Herbert’s Dune, The Gap is a rich, complicated and tightly woven story told through the eyes of a small cast of characters. Unlike Dune, The Gap is harsh, gritty and violent. Enjoy the ride as you follow the exploits of the deeply scarred yet sexy Cpt. Nick Succorso, his nemesis, the warped Angus Thermopylae and the glorious but broken Lt. Morn Hyland. The “Real Story” emerges in the precarious balance between huge corporations, high-stakes politics, alien invasion and the fate of man’s very humanity.
The Amber Series by Roger Zelazny is a fascinating study of family dynamics spanning time, worlds and realities. Suffering from amnesia, Corwin awakens in a hospital to discover that his medical bills paid by a sister he doesn’t remember. After a visit to her and the discovery of a potent set of Tarot Cards, Corwin realizes that the Earth he knows is only a shadow of the world in which he reigns as a Prince. The more he discovers about his complicated and dangerous family and their connection to the Tarot, the more he delves into the worlds of Amber and it’s mirror image, Remba. The Amber Series made a mark on science fiction with its admixture of fantasy and mysticism and by dramatizing dynastic gamesmanship in an intricate social structure. Highly recommended.