This is another SBP book. I have to say that I may have done it a disservice in reading it too quickly and along side Maureen F. Mc Hugh’s collection. In fact, I know I did.
Emshwiller’s stories, taken all together, leave the scent of mountain air and the feeling of impending doom. She has many stories about raising governmentally created killing machines as children, or taking them as friends, in worlds not entirely unlike our own. There is a lot if first-person storytelling here, maybe even all the stories, which is a personal dislike of mine. If you read a collection like this too fast, all the voices blur into one really annoying voice, in this case, a strange mix of old-timey Western and spacey, animal consciousness.
Taken separately, I think the stories would stand out on their own. One I really liked was a short one called ‘Nose.’ It was about a person who is thinking about their nose, about how their nose really runs their life. “It’s because of my nose. I stay in because of it. I go out because of it. My whole life is because of it.” I liked how Emshwiller took a thought like that and spun it into a whole, while pretty short, story and made her nameless character a real person.
I still want to check out her other books. I’ll keep you posted about that.