Eric Brown: Blue Shifting
This is Eric Brown's second collection of short stories. Like the first, while most of the material had appeared before in various magazines and anthologies, there are a couple of new stories in the collection.
Unlike the first collection, which was full of real gems, this collection disappoints. The main problem is the incessant repetition of the same themes. How many stories would you like to read about the death of sexually ambiguous artists of the future that involve gadgets that record, erase and restore memories and personalities? One was fine in Brown's first collection but this book is stuffed to the gills.
Those stories are OK in themselves and if you encountered them at a rate of one every two years in your favourite SF magazine you would put up with it but together in one collection they are too much.
That is a shame because "Song of Summer" and "Blue Shifting", the two new stories are well worth reading and the collection would have been better with more variety in the stories. "Song of Summer" is a beautiful story about a man returning to the scene of his childhood and making a surprising discovery about the girl who was his first love. "Blue Shifting" is a story about a man who is mysteriously transported to a new city every day at five in the morning. He is trying to work out how to deal with this when he realises that he is not the only person so afflicted.
If you are new to Eric Brown's short stories I would recommend his first collection "The Timelapsed Man" over this as it is much better.
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Six out of ten. A very mixed bunch.
The Death of Cassandra Quebec
An artist returns to Earth to visit the site of the death of Cassandra Quebec, her gay lover whose death, assumed to be a bizarre accident, was captured on an emotion recording crystal by Quebec's husband. The story unfolds in a series of flash backs and revelations assisted by technology selectively to erase and restore memory. The artist discovers that her lover was in fact murdered her jealous husband who then went on to make career out of mutilating other women in the name of art. The artist then has an affair with her dead lovers daughter who the goes on to murder her father. There is also a semi telepathic Pterodactyl involved too. I'm afraid that it is too full of plot twists and coincidence to be convincing. 5/10
The Art of Acceptance
The Disciples of Apollo