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Virtual Unrealities: 10/19/10

cover art

Virtual Unrealities is a collection of Alfred Bester's short stories published over the course of his career. The last story in the set, "The Devil without Glasses" was previously unpublished. It was on my wishlist after a book blogger was raving about his works and I had only read one of his books.

Bester's stories remind me of Twilight Zone episodes, the originals, not the remakes. They start simply and then something becomes into focus as being off. One small detail will set everything off kilter and that's where the stories come to life.

For instance, "Disappearing Act" starts with a teacher trying to return a paper to a boy who has gone missing with his family. He recognizes brilliance in the boy's writing and expects the rest of the. When he fails to find the boy and his life is put in danger in the process he suspects the government. The solution to the situation ends up being much simpler and delightfully hair raising at the same time.

The book contains the following stories:

  • Disappearing act
  • Oddy and Id
  • Star light, star bright
  • 5,271,009
  • Fondly Fahrenheit
  • Hobson's choice
  • Of time and Third Avenue
  • Time is the traitor
  • The men who murdered Mohammed
  • The pi man
  • They don't make life like they used to
  • Will you wait?
  • The flowered thundermug
  • Adam and no Eve
  • And 3 1/2 to go (fragment)
  • Galatea Galante
  • The devil without glasses (previously unpublished)
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