Long Eyes and Other Stories – Jeff Carlson

Aboutthe book
From the mind thatbrought you Plague Year and The Frozen Sky… 


“Striking.” –Locus Online 

“Exciting.” –SF Revu 

“Chilling and dangerous.”–HorrorAddicts.net 

First published in top venues such as Asimov’sScience Fiction Magazine and cult ‘zines like The Vampire’s Crypt, thesestories have been translated into fourteen languages worldwide. Severalreceived honorable mentions in Gardner Dozois’s The Year’s Best Science Fictionor in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. As part of the FastForward 2 anthology, “Long Eyes” was also a finalist for the PhilipK. Dick Award. 


262pages (ebook)
Publishedon: March 15, 2011
Publishedby: JVE
Readingshort stories is fairly new to me. In fact, before this year I had never read acompilation of short stories before. I am finding that I actually enjoy themquite a bit. With a baby around, short stories are often the perfect length forme to read. I also enjoy seeing how an author can manage to captivate a readerin a short amount of time. However, because of the fact that reading these isso new to me, I’m still not completely sure how to review them, which probablyshows and for that I apologize.
Ihad never read anything by Jeff Carlson before, and when he emailed me with anoffer to review this book I couldn’t turn him down. The idea of reading sciencefiction short stories hooked me for numerous reasons. First, I enjoy sciencefiction quite a bit and don’t feel like I read nearly enough of it. Secondly, Ienjoy the “science” part of science fiction and third, I couldn’t wait to seehow an author could pile in the necessary science and world building into ashort story to make it believable and worth reading.
Carlsonis an international best seller for his PlagueYear Trilogy and, based on the writing in Long Eyes, he’s an author I can’t wait to read more from. Thestories in Long Eyes are short, easyto read and many of them are incredibly poignant and also peppered with somegreat artwork. Carlson excels at not only writing an entertaining yarn, butalso writing a story that will stick with readers long after they read it. Anexample is the story Monsters, whichis an incredibly disturbing piece about a man infected with HIV in a movie theater. Monsters will probably be stuck with me for a long, long time.
Notonly are his stories memorable, but they also will, more often than not,provoke thought from readers. The story LongEyes is a great example of thought provoking work. The story focuses on awoman who discovers a race of beings on another planet and decides to keep themfrom being discovered by others so they have a shot at survival. The storyitself, combined with Carlson’s afterward where he explains his inspirationbehind Long Eyes is actually quitethoughtful and profound when looked at as a whole.
Oneof the strengths of Long Eyes, whichI didn’t actually expect to be anything more than mildly annoying, are theafterwards he adds to each story which describes his inspiration, or motivationbehind each story he wrote. These are often quite interesting tidbits,but they are also fascinating insights into the mind of a man who thinks muchdeeper than surface level. These afterwards add an amazing depth to each storyand, often, will force a reader to sit back and absorb the story again from adifferent angle.
It’snot all just science fiction and technological mumbo-jumbo. Caninus, a wild story about a vampiredog, was written (as Carlson says) during his “horror phase.” In fact, Long Eyes is filled with stories thatexercise other facets to this science fiction author’s talent. For example, Damned When You Do may be, Carlson says,the only fantasy story he ever writes and while it does have “sf guts” (anotherterm I’m stealing from him), its style is different enough to take note of.
Carlsonspends a lot of the book toying with situations which could happen tomorrow, orin sometime in our planet’s future. Planetof the Sealies is set on Earth, taking place in the future. Humanity hasbeen wiped out by ecological disaster and another race is digging through whatwe have left behind to find something useful. This story is very well executed,but it is also thought provoking. What impression are we leaving on futuregenerations with our common behaviors now? Garbage dumps tell a story, andCarlson uses that as inspiration and it works fabulously.
Iwon’t talk about each story in this review (there are a total of 16 stories).Instead, I will just tell you that, in this review, I have touched the bare tipof a captivating iceburg. Carlson is an excellent writer with a fascinatinghead on his shoulders. Long Eyes isan exercise in thought. Carlson doesn’t just write these to entertain, hewrites them to explore concepts and ideas and that’s half the draw of thiscompilation. While many (if not all) of these stories have been published inother compilations (and won awards, been on a short list for awards, beentranslated into numerous languages and etc.) or magazines, this is the firsttime they have all been put together in one book and it is well worth reading.Carlson is one hell of an author and this is one hell of a compilation fans ofscience fiction should take note of.


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