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Ann Can Fly by Fred Phleger
The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry
The Blues Go Birding Across America by Carol L. Malnor and Sandy F. Fuller
The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein by Peter Ackroyd
The Egyptian Jukebox by Nick Bantock
Flanimals Pop-up by Ricky Gervais
The Function of Ornament by Michael Kubo
The Illusions of Tranquility by Brendan DuBois
In Mike We Trust by P.E. Ryan
The Iron Man by Ted Hughes
The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
Love that Dog by Sharon Creech
The Most Wonderful Egg in the World by Helme Heine
My Cat, the Silliest Cat in the World by Gilles Bachelet
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
On a Scary Scary Night by Walter Wick
Owls by Gail Gibbons
Owl Lake by Keizaburo Tejima
Paula Bunyan by Phyllis Root
Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf
Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi
Sky Burial by Xinran
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White
Tirissa and the Necklace of Nulidor by Willow
Three Leaves of Aloe by Rand B. Lee
Treehorn's Treasure by Florence Parry Heide
What Do You Love? by Jonathan London
Wheel of the Moon by Sandra Forrester
Where is that Cat? by Carol Greene

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for Pump Six and Other Stories

Pump Six and Other Stories: 04/16/11

 cover art (Link goes to Powells)I've wanted to read Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi since I read the titular story in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 2008. I finally found a copy via Link+ and got it read over the holidays.

The book has ten stories, two of which are in the same world as The Wind-Up Girl, a book I bought over the holidays and plan to read this year. Those two stories are "The Calorie Man" and "Yellow Card Man."

Although not all of the stories are set in the same universe or timeline, they work together like an exquisite corpse, building a dystopian novel told in ten episodes across ten out of order time periods.

If one is to take the stories out of the book and place them in chronological order, the first would be "Softer." It's not really science fiction but it reiterates the themes of the book. In this story a man ponders the why behind the decision to kill his wife as he washes her body in a bubble bath. The themes of life, death, immortality and amorality run all through the book but it feels like this man could be patient zero, the person who sets things into motion that will in turn lead to corporations running the world, people being allowed to live forever but not being able to breed, becoming cyborgs who can eat mud and inorganic items and regrow limbs at will but don't know what a dog is, and other people who turn children into living instruments for their own entertainment.

All of this happens in a world where that declines and rises and declines again. For instance, in the Pump Six story, the main character is one of a handful of people who still knows how to keep the aging city's infrastructure running. In "The Calorie Man" the corporations have taken over and the main character travels through the remains of cities along the Mississippi river. It feels as if the pump mechanics of the world have died off now, even though they aren't set in the same time line.

It's a great collection of short stories. Some are nightmare fuel. All of them are thought provoking.

Four stars.

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