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George Alec Effinger

George Alec Effinger (January 10, 1947 – April 27, 2002) was an American science fiction author, born in Cleveland, Ohio. He won the Hugo and Nebula Awards. George Alec Effinger was married to SFF author Barbara Hambly.

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What entropy Means to Me: Definitely a weird book

What entropy Means to Me by George Alec Effinger

Obviously a first novel and very New Wave-y, in some places to the point of excess, What entropy Means to Me is still a very ambitious book which tackles the idea of story itself and its impact on our lives. It isn’t always successful and is definitely a very weird book. It will likely take a few chapters before the reader becomes familiar with what is going on (assuming he ever does), and even then the bizarro elements and shifting of the narrative can be quite confusing.

In essence the story is about a large family of brothers and sisters (known as the First family since their parents were the initial settlers of the world) who inhabit the planet known only as Home. Their parents were exiles from Earth and seem to have brought with them little more than a huge assortment of books and, apparently, a number of chairs with which the yard of their rambling home is littered. See, w... Read More

Schrödinger’s Kitten: Hugo and Nebula winning story

Schrödinger’s Kitten by George Alec Effinger

Jehan is a pretty 12-year-old Islamic girl who sees visions of her own possible futures. These visions suggest that she will be raped in an alley, disowned by her fundamentalist Muslim father, and forced to live as a whore until she dies. Or she could kill her potential rapist first, but if she does that she will be executed, unless somebody saves her by paying the blood price... There are too many “ifs” and too many potential paths and, as a child, Jehan is haunted by all the possibilities and her knowledge that something bad will happen, but not knowing exactly which of those branches her life will take.

Interspersed with these disturbing visions, we see Jehan in a possible future as an assistant and then a colleague to the men who are, during World War II, trying to unravel the secrets of quantum physics. Their findings will enlighten the world, but may also give the Nazis the... Read More

The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Vol 2: More disturbing than Vol 1

The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Volume 2 edited by Gordon Van Gelder

I read the first volume (The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology, published 2009) before I tackled this one, published in 2014. It's only been five years, but I detected a darkening of the tone. Maybe I'm imagining it, maybe it's just me, but it seemed to me that the earlier volume contained stories that set out to go to strange places and, as a consequence, were sometimes disturbing, while this one contained stories that set out to be disturbing.

Consequently, given that "dark and disturbing" isn't my preference, I very nearly gave this one three stars instead of four — reflecting my reduced enjoyment, not reduced quality. These are still fine stories from multiple decades of F&S... Read More