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The Mutant Files

por Martin H. Greenberg (Editor), John Helfers (Editor)

Outros autores: Janet Berliner (Contribuidor), Marc Bilgrey (Contribuidor), David Bischoff (Contribuidor), Charles de Lint (Contribuidor), Brendan DuBois (Contribuidor)11 mais, Alan Dean Foster (Contribuidor), Karen Haber (Contribuidor), Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Contribuidor), Tanya Huff (Contribuidor), Sophie Masson (Contribuidor), Lisanne Norman (Contribuidor), Jody Lynn Nye (Contribuidor), Janet Pack (Contribuidor), Fiona Patton (Contribuidor), Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Contribuidor), Michelle West (Contribuidor)

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Meet the mutant--science fiction's most misunderstood creation--in these all-new tales of genetic mutation, evolutionary errors, and superhuman surprises.
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My reactions to reading this anthology in 2002. Spoilers follow.

"Freak", Charles de Lint -- Forgettable story about psychic mutant, his abused background, and how he saves a woman he loves from a serial killer -- by quickly killing the man -- and gets executed as a result.

"Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice", Tanya Huff -- Well-written revenge tale about a mutant killing the doctor that created her and doomed her to a long life as a four-year old. However, the motives for her parents keeping her plight secret were unconvincing.

"The Great Deep", Sophie Masson -- Atmospheric, but ultimately pointless, story set in 1712 on the Welsh coast and featuring mutant seal men.

"Paint Box", Lisanne Norman -- A story with far too long of a setup, too much meandering prose, and a slight payoff about a little girl named Cassandra and the mutant powers her kin kill to conceal.

"The Killing of Bad Bull", Alan Dean Foster -- This story of a psychic gambler (he can sense when a slot machine is about to pay off) pursued by people intent on killing him reminded me of psychokinetic gambler Jason din Alt from the first volume of Harry Harrison's Deathworld trilogy. This story shows the influence of Foster regularly reading The Economist since it has lots of details about the gambling business worldwide.

"In the Dark Valley", Brendan DuBois -- A well-told small town with a secret story, but the secret, that the town is composed of immortals, was tipped off fairly early. The revelation of the heroine belonging to the long-lived mutants was rather surprising.

"Behind His Gates of Gold", Karen Haber -- Bland story about a wealthy mutant determined to protect his fellow mutants from the eyes of a prying reporter -- and intelligence agencies.

"Interview with a Mutant", Janet Berliner -- This story stretches the definition of mutant, proclaims its warm and generous subject, a plastic surgeon who specializes in burn patients, a mutant because he may have special powers granted by the transplant of a hand from an Amazonian shaman.

"Lucky Guesses", Marc Bilgrey -- A man with mutant empathetic abilities decides to share his gift with others to better his life. He makes this decision after, it is hinted, coming across a similar mutant.

"Mutant Mother from Hell: A 'Fizz Smith' Story", David Bischoff -- Very bad attempt at humor and, seemingly, a satire of '50s and early sf (several sf authors are mentioned by name including Stanley G. Weinbaum, Robert Heinlein, and Alfred Bester). It was unclear if this story is supposed to be told by someone from the future described in the story, a world reconstructed along the lines of old sf and New Age religions and Scientology. Few of the sexual elements were funny either.

"Family", Fiona Patton -- This story is too long, especially in the early parts with its confusing sections of mostly dialog. It's sort of a warm and gentle version of H. P. Lovecraft's "Colour Out of Space" since both stories feature families mutated by the presence of a meteor. Here, though, a man from outside learns he is related to the mutants and learns of their gifts for flying and manipulating electricity.

"Rite of Passage", Jody Lynn Nye -- This story is reminiscent of not so good '50's sf with its plot of persecuted mutants earning the respect of the humans who despised them. Specifically, mutants en route to exile save a starship from disaster, are hired on by its captain. This sudden harmony between the groups was unconvincing. The race relations, characterized by begrudging cooperation and expedience, of Harry Turtledove's Worldwar and Great War series are much more realistic depictions of this sort of thing.

"Sensitives", Nina Kiriki Hoffman -- A surprising mutant ability in a narrator who can read the strong emotional memories imprinted on pennies nearby. At story's end, he meets a female mutant with a similar ability. The strong hint is that they have fallen in love.

"Fire and Rain", Janet Pack -- A boring and predictable tale, another story of two mutants finding each other and love. The ending is telegraphed in the title, the prose and, it must be said, the idea is also there from the preceding tale in the anthology, Nina Kiriki Hoffman's better "Sensitives". The characters are unconvincing too.

"Trust", Kristine Kathryn Rusch -- Slight story even though the mutant power is somewhat interesting: an empathy with dogs. The story's biggest flaw is the setup. It's the near future, and, for some reason, "little mutations" are the result of genetic alterations, mutations like psychokinesis, telepathy, and great strength. One wonders, but is never told, what were the intended alterations that happened to produce such great, unintended side effects and whether why, given their beneficial aspects, genetic alterations were banned altogether.

"Truth", Michelle West -- An interesting variation on the telepathic mutant who can't stand the sordid and inane clamor of other's thoughts. Here, the mutant is a teenager who leaves a normal home and takes up with a homeless man who is also homeless. He teaches her that everyone has murderous thoughts, hate-filled thoughts, inane thoughts, sexual obsessions but that the important thing is whether one acts on the thoughts or not, not that their presence is evil. He also shows her that she has just as many thoughts like this as anyone else so why does she despise and loath and fear others for the type of mental life she has. The plot contrivance of the end, where mentor Scrape manipulates the protagonist into meeting her mother and reconciling with her, was weak but not enough to sink the story. Scrape goes off at the end to help other telepathic mutants fleeing society and family connections. ( )
  RandyStafford | Jan 7, 2014 |
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» Adicionar outros autores

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Greenberg, Martin H.Editorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Helfers, JohnEditorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Berliner, JanetContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Bilgrey, MarcContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Bischoff, DavidContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
de Lint, CharlesContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
DuBois, BrendanContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Foster, Alan DeanContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Haber, KarenContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Hoffman, Nina KirikiContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Huff, TanyaContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Masson, SophieContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Norman, LisanneContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Nye, Jody LynnContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Pack, JanetContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Patton, FionaContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Rusch, Kristine KathrynContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
West, MichelleContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado

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