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Sacred Space

Joseph Campbell said: "Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again." This is my sacred space, in the midst of a jumble of books of no particular denomination in a cavernous dimly-lit library hall, whiling my time away among the musty pages while the world busy destroying itself outside. You are welcome, fellow reader, to share this space.

Currently reading

Italian Folktales
Italo Calvino
Marilynne Robinson
A Fanatic Heart: Selected Stories
New Writings in SF-25 - Kenneth Bulmer, Martin I. Ricketts, Wolfgang Jeschke, Sydney J. Bounds, Michael Stall, Charles Partington, Colin Kapp, Donald Malcolm, John Rackham, Keith    Wells I picked this up for a song at a garage sale: I'm always in the market for SF and fantasy, be it good or bad. These writings were new when they came out in 1977 (which means they will be pretty dated now!), but since none of the writers have grown into giants of the field since, these stories were unfamiliar and new to me.

As can be expected with any book of this sort, the stories are a pretty motley collection, from the downright bad to the excellent. So here is the report:

Rice Brandy by Michael Stall - Alternative history: mildly interesting, but nothing to write home about.

The Cat and the Coin by Keith Wells - Fantasy humour: did not work for me at all.

Talent Spotter by Sydney J. Bounds - Soft SF/ Fantasy: again, mildly interesting.

The Debris Of Recent Lives by Charles Partington - SF: I did not understand this one. It's all modernistic and noir.

The Black Hole of Negrav by Colin Kapp - This is an excellent hard SF story, about the "unconventional engineers". Colin Kapp has written a number of stories this group coming up with innovative solutions for unforeseen problems which crop up as mankind pushes their boundaries out into space. Being an engineer myself, I can appreciate!

A Little More Than Twelve Minutes by Wolfgang Jeschke - A moderately interesting time travel story, translated from the original German.

The Enemy Within by Donald Malcolm - Hard SF story about infection by extraterrestrial virus, on the lines of Who Goes There? by Campbell. Interesting premise, well executed.

The Halted Village by John Rackham - SF story with a rather weird premise. Even though the execution left a lot to be desired, enjoyable for its freshness.

The Green Fuse by Martin I. Ricketts - This was the best of the collection (at least for me), about mankind's encounter with a totally alien biology and the frightening impact of human meddling. It is so eerily similar to Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card that I feel it highly likely that he was inspired by it. If you have not read Card's award-winning novel, read it before you read this story!