This retrospective Michael Bishop collection of fifty short pieces (thirty-four stories, fifteen poems or prose-poems, and one amusing Moon-based play about writing SF, “The Grape Jelly and Mustard Method”) spans the author's entire career, from “Asytages's Dream,” written while Bishop was a college student, to “Yahweh's Hour,” an acerbic but moving work of science-fantasy political satire composed in 2020.
The collection's most distinctive attribute, however, lies in the fact that no contribution is longer than 3,000 words and most are shorter, a kind of Palm-of-the-Hand Stories for lovers of short fiction, heartfelt pieces that afford the reader as much meat as they do flash.
”A Few Last Words for the Late Immortals,” set on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, embodies a requiem for the entire human species. “Philip K. Dick is dead, a lass” memorializes in verse science fiction's preeminent bard of the reality breakdown.” “Love's Heresy” and “The Library of Babble” appear to be channeling the labyrinthine mind of Jorge Luis Borges, albeit with surprising jinks all their own. And the list of narrative explorations grows and grows . . .
Humor and horror, music and whimsy, primates and pathology, mice and men, religion and rebellion: these stories and poems cover the waterfront of human experience while acknowledging the singularity of each human life.