Clockwork Phoenix 2 – Mike Allen

Clockwork Phoenix #2 An anthology of speculative fiction edited by Mike Allen. I didn’t care much for the first Clockwork Phoenix. While some of the stories were good, others felt forced. Overall, they all sounded similar. This second collection is more varied, though few of the stories really stand out. There’s less ‘grotesque for the sake of grotesquerie’, but more pretentious and more experimental work. At least two of the stories were thoroughly irritating in…

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Earth for Inspiration – Clifford D. Simak

Simak Complete Stories #9 A collection of mostly science fiction stories by Clifford Simak. Sadly, Earth for Inspiration is largely uninspired. With a couple of exceptions, these are not stories that will stick in your mind, and while some start well, they tend to fade toward the end. The inclusion of two of Simak’s westerns, both pleasant but formulaic, thins the quality even more. Simak wrote many of his short stories between the 30s and…

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Good Night, Mr. James – Clifford D. Simak

Simak Complete Stories #8 A collection of mostly science fiction stories by Clifford Simak. The logic behind the arrangement of most anthologies is a mystery to anyone but their editors, and that’s true here. While the last volume (#3) in this series I reviewed had some of Simak’s strongest work, this (#8) has a fair amount of filler – decent, but uninspiring, and not mostly at the level I look for from Simak. Happily, there…

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The Ghost of a Model T – Clifford D. Simak

Simak Complete Stories #3 A collection of mostly science fiction stories by Clifford Simak. Clifford Simak was the master of the contemplative story – the story in which the narrator does little but sit around and think about life. Little action, not much dialogue, and yet the result is a moving story that works beautifully. This volume in his collected works includes some of his finest contemplative work, along with City and other celebrated stories.…

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A Death in the House – Clifford D. Simak

Simak Complete Stories #7 A collection of mostly science fiction stories by Clifford Simak. I still can’t pretend to understand the logic of the sequencing in this series, but however, they were chosen, the stories in this collection are mostly very good. Much of this is classic Simak – extraordinary events happen to an ordinary guy, in a very low key fashion, far from the centers of power and commerce. There are a couple of…

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Clockwork Phoenix – Mike Allen

Clockwork Phoenix #1 An anthology of speculative fiction edited by Mike Allen. I’ve been seeing these anthologies for a while now, and been intrigued. [Full disclosure: I submitted several stories to later editions, and was soundly rejected.] So, when I saw them all for sale, I took a chance and bought them all. Win some, lose some. I expected to like these stories. There are lots of big names here – some I’ve read, some…

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