Beast of the Heartland and other stories by Lucius Shepard
If you're already familiar with Lucius Shepard, you won't need any encouragement to pick up Beast of the Heartland, a collection of short works that leads with the Hugo-winning novella "Barnacle Bill the Spacer." In addition to the Hugo, Shepard has bagged the Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Award (twice), and when he came into sci-fi and fantasy back in the '80s, he won the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer. All this acclaim just confirms the obvious--Shepard is an artist of extraordinary skill. He draws from the forms of both sci-fi and horror, but he ultimately surpasses them with his dark, compact, literary style.
The seven stories in this collection are solid Shepard. "Barnacle Bill the Spacer" is in fine company with a few other real gems: "A Little Night Music," the creepy tale of a music reviewer writing up some jazz zombies; "All the Perfumes of Araby," a mystic, Middle Eastern opium trip; and "The Sun Spider," a dark take on classic SF. The collection is rounded out by "Human History" and "Sports in America," but the best-of may have to go to the title piece, "Beast of the Heartland," a moving portrait of a boxer on the outs. --Paul Hughes
Beast of the Heartland and other stories by Lucius Shepard [Digital eBook]
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