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Things Will Never Be the Same: A Howard Waldrop Reader: Selected Short Fiction 1980-2005

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The only problem with THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME is that it's not nearly long enough. Sure, sure, it's chock full of great stories by the best short fiction writer of his generation, modern classics like The Ugly Chickens and Flying Saucer Rock n Roll and Heart of Whitenesse and many more... but there are two or three times as many terrific Waldrop stories, equally good The only problem with THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME is that it's not nearly long enough. Sure, sure, it's chock full of great stories by the best short fiction writer of his generation, modern classics like The Ugly Chickens and Flying Saucer Rock n Roll and Heart of Whitenesse and many more... but there are two or three times as many terrific Waldrop stories, equally good and sometimes even better, that have been left out for want of space. There's only one solution. Read this book... and then go out and track down all of Waldrop's other collections and read them too.


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The only problem with THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME is that it's not nearly long enough. Sure, sure, it's chock full of great stories by the best short fiction writer of his generation, modern classics like The Ugly Chickens and Flying Saucer Rock n Roll and Heart of Whitenesse and many more... but there are two or three times as many terrific Waldrop stories, equally good The only problem with THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME is that it's not nearly long enough. Sure, sure, it's chock full of great stories by the best short fiction writer of his generation, modern classics like The Ugly Chickens and Flying Saucer Rock n Roll and Heart of Whitenesse and many more... but there are two or three times as many terrific Waldrop stories, equally good and sometimes even better, that have been left out for want of space. There's only one solution. Read this book... and then go out and track down all of Waldrop's other collections and read them too.

30 review for Things Will Never Be the Same: A Howard Waldrop Reader: Selected Short Fiction 1980-2005

  1. 5 out of 5

    Steven Vaughan-Nichols

    Hi. My name is Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. I write for a living. Here's what I can do: I can explain deeply technical subjects to a layman. I can write intelligently about technology, business, and legal issues. I can even be amusing, and every now and again I can write a memorable line. What I can't do is write magic. Howard Waldrop writes magic. This collection of short stories is filled with gems of the writer's art. His themes are based on science-fiction, but they're rooted in the human heart Hi. My name is Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. I write for a living. Here's what I can do: I can explain deeply technical subjects to a layman. I can write intelligently about technology, business, and legal issues. I can even be amusing, and every now and again I can write a memorable line. What I can't do is write magic. Howard Waldrop writes magic. This collection of short stories is filled with gems of the writer's art. His themes are based on science-fiction, but they're rooted in the human heart and experience. I like what I do, but I wish I could write like he does. I can't. As many SF editors will tell you, no one else can write like he does. Perhaps it's just as well. It makes his magic even more precious.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tim Schneider

    Another collection of short stories by the always entertaining Howard Waldrop. Waldrop is a writer of very intelligent short fiction. The stories in this collection garnered a Nebula and a World Fantasy Award win along with nominations for five Hugos, four Nebulas, a Sidewise award and a WFA. Waldrop absolutely never writes down to his audience. He does a ridiculous amount of research for his short stories and just expects you to keep up. That's a lot easier (keeping up) now with the internet. I Another collection of short stories by the always entertaining Howard Waldrop. Waldrop is a writer of very intelligent short fiction. The stories in this collection garnered a Nebula and a World Fantasy Award win along with nominations for five Hugos, four Nebulas, a Sidewise award and a WFA. Waldrop absolutely never writes down to his audience. He does a ridiculous amount of research for his short stories and just expects you to keep up. That's a lot easier (keeping up) now with the internet. I suspect that reading some of his stories in the pre-internet days could have been daunting. There's not a bad story in the lot. About half of these had not been seen in previous collections, though with Waldrop's collections frequently going out of print it's not necessarily a problem if they had been. From the brilliant look at the true last of the dodo's in "The Ugly Chickens" to his short sequel to War of the Worlds in "Night of the Cooters" and the brilliant alt-history of "Hearts of Whitenesse" and "Us" there's something for every taste. If you've never read anything by Waldrop you owe it too yourself to do so.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Trish Graboske

    Let me just quote three lines: page 44, "Ray, Zoot, and Cornelius all looked like they had thirty-two-lane bowling alleys inside their heads and all the pin machines were down.", page 90, I-Italian priests with crosses you coulda barred a livery-stable door with.", page 110, "The light was so bad in the bar that everyone looked like they had been painted by Thomas Hart Benton, or carved from dirty bars of soap with rusty spoons." The last is an opening line, and it sure kept me reading. Let me just quote three lines: page 44, "Ray, Zoot, and Cornelius all looked like they had thirty-two-lane bowling alleys inside their heads and all the pin machines were down.", page 90, I-Italian priests with crosses you coulda barred a livery-stable door with.", page 110, "The light was so bad in the bar that everyone looked like they had been painted by Thomas Hart Benton, or carved from dirty bars of soap with rusty spoons." The last is an opening line, and it sure kept me reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    I picked this up because I was entranced by Waldrop's book, "Them Bones" (even though I thought that work incomplete in some ways). Waldrop is an inventive, clever, and very good writer ... except when he isn't. Most of the stories in this small volume are quite good, but a couple of them left me cold. I suppose that is not too unusual in a collection of short stories written over a number of year. Waldrop writes in a number of genres, and that alone makes him very interesting. If you are a fan, or I picked this up because I was entranced by Waldrop's book, "Them Bones" (even though I thought that work incomplete in some ways). Waldrop is an inventive, clever, and very good writer ... except when he isn't. Most of the stories in this small volume are quite good, but a couple of them left me cold. I suppose that is not too unusual in a collection of short stories written over a number of year. Waldrop writes in a number of genres, and that alone makes him very interesting. If you are a fan, or just curious about him, this might be a book worth dipping into.

  5. 5 out of 5

    BadReetReviews

    I picked this book out because of the story about the dodos. It's the best story of the whole book. I picked this book out because of the story about the dodos. It's the best story of the whole book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Gatheringwater

    In these stories, Waldrop reveals himself to be a science fiction writer concerned with the past. Two of his most famous stories are about an extinct species (The Ugly Chickens and an extinct way of life Heirs to the Perisphere. He devotes an entire story to a single defunct technology (Mr. Goober's Show. His alternate histories are set variously in the nineteenth century, the Elizabethan era, the first century, and even in pre-historic times. The author's narrative voice, too, seems to have been In these stories, Waldrop reveals himself to be a science fiction writer concerned with the past. Two of his most famous stories are about an extinct species (The Ugly Chickens and an extinct way of life Heirs to the Perisphere. He devotes an entire story to a single defunct technology (Mr. Goober's Show. His alternate histories are set variously in the nineteenth century, the Elizabethan era, the first century, and even in pre-historic times. The author's narrative voice, too, seems to have been formed in the past, rooted in a kind of 20th century masculine tone that I thought I'd heard the last of when my subscription to Boy's Life ran out. This will be an attraction to some, but not to me. I must admit, however, this tone doesn't get in the way of the story-telling and, sometimes, enhances it, as in King of Where-I-Go, which is a clever and poignant alternate history for two. Waldrop is a writer who sets interesting challenges for himself. From the notes that accompany the stories, he seems to come up with an interesting question (What if Piltdown man wasn't a hoax, but a real fossil representing an entire culture?) and then discovers the answer to the question as he writes. The challenge of combining the historical figure, Christopher Marlowe, with Raymond Chandler's detective character, Marlowe, in the style of Marlow, the narrator of Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness, resulted in a very good story, The Heart of Whitenesse. My favorite story in this collection, however, is The Lions Are Asleep This Night, which is an alternate history in which Africa and South America have shaken off colonialism and have become dominant world powers and a young man the reader recognizes will be the world's greatest and most humane playwright tries to get his first manuscript published.

  7. 5 out of 5

    kim

    I came across one of these stories in another anthology and immediately wanted to read more. Waldrop seems sort of like a combination of George Saunders, Richard Brautigan and the Twilight Zone, and (judging from this collection) he seems to write a lot of alt-histories. This book has afterwords by the author for each story, and at first I found his liberal use of italics kind of irritating, but then I decided it was very charming (possibly because in the afterword for "Wild, Wild Horses" he say I came across one of these stories in another anthology and immediately wanted to read more. Waldrop seems sort of like a combination of George Saunders, Richard Brautigan and the Twilight Zone, and (judging from this collection) he seems to write a lot of alt-histories. This book has afterwords by the author for each story, and at first I found his liberal use of italics kind of irritating, but then I decided it was very charming (possibly because in the afterword for "Wild, Wild Horses" he says that he doesn't really like fantasy, so when he got an idea for a fantasy story he was disappointed. Then he decided it would be ok to write a fantasy as long as it was a fantasy story as if it were happening to truck drivers.). I will definitely be tracking down more of Waldrop's work.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Peter Johnston

    A funny thing happened when I bought this book. The owner became so excited at my choice, I thought he was going to propose marriage. Had a great chat with him about HW, who I was only vaguely familiar with, but had liked the bits and pieces I'd read. Anyway, anecdotes aside, this is a collection of solid, well written stories spanning decades. I know I don't have very mainstream tastes in books, so I'm not surprised he isn't more popular. The stories are deep, clever and poignant, he really cat A funny thing happened when I bought this book. The owner became so excited at my choice, I thought he was going to propose marriage. Had a great chat with him about HW, who I was only vaguely familiar with, but had liked the bits and pieces I'd read. Anyway, anecdotes aside, this is a collection of solid, well written stories spanning decades. I know I don't have very mainstream tastes in books, so I'm not surprised he isn't more popular. The stories are deep, clever and poignant, he really catches that mood of chances lost and dreams deferred. Don't expect galaxy shattering space battles or cyber cowboys jacking into the net, these are about humble people doing extraordinary things.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    Irregular recopilación de relatos cortos. Algunos excelentes, otros mediocres. Los que más me agradaron fueron "The ugly chickens" en donde un ornitólogo descubre que podría haber dodos escondidos en la América profunda. "Heirs of the perisphere" en donde tres botargas roboticas de Mickey, Donald y Guffy recorren un mundo postapocaliptico. Y "Calling your name" en donde un accidente provoca que un hombre se translade a una dimension alterna. Los demas relatos no estan malos, pero tampoco llamaron Irregular recopilación de relatos cortos. Algunos excelentes, otros mediocres. Los que más me agradaron fueron "The ugly chickens" en donde un ornitólogo descubre que podría haber dodos escondidos en la América profunda. "Heirs of the perisphere" en donde tres botargas roboticas de Mickey, Donald y Guffy recorren un mundo postapocaliptico. Y "Calling your name" en donde un accidente provoca que un hombre se translade a una dimension alterna. Los demas relatos no estan malos, pero tampoco llamaron mucho mi atencion.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    The fascinating thing about Howard Waldrop is how he is able to make each short story completely unique. The author takes an idea and weaves a story out of it that is very different than everything else. This collection somehow defies genre definitions and conventions to ascend to a higher level of speculative fiction.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Hunter

    This is a lovely collection of great SF stories. Not for the space opera crowd, these tend to explore the fantastic as encountered by figures of the present and past, with alternate histories and famous historical figures appearing regularly. You've probably read several of these in YBSF and other collections, but here's a chance to really get to know Waldrop's work. This is a lovely collection of great SF stories. Not for the space opera crowd, these tend to explore the fantastic as encountered by figures of the present and past, with alternate histories and famous historical figures appearing regularly. You've probably read several of these in YBSF and other collections, but here's a chance to really get to know Waldrop's work.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Made it about 1/2 way through the book. The stories are like subtle Twilight Zone episodes. Kinda fun. But not interesting enough to keep me going, especially with other stuff on my reading list.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lostaccount

    Couldn't finish any of the stories. They all start off good but soon get bogged down with either info dumps or irrelevancies. Too much flashy writing not enough substance. Couldn't finish any of the stories. They all start off good but soon get bogged down with either info dumps or irrelevancies. Too much flashy writing not enough substance.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Peter

  15. 5 out of 5

    M. Shaw

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lon Prater

  17. 5 out of 5

    Luke

  18. 5 out of 5

    David Nichols

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Malcolm C. Ostermeyer

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tarantel

  22. 5 out of 5

    Patrick DiJusto

  23. 5 out of 5

    Wekoslav Stefanovski

  24. 5 out of 5

    William Lexner

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eddy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bill Householder

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cris

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bet

  29. 4 out of 5

    Casey Lynn

  30. 4 out of 5

    Will

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