I’m delighted to see the release of a new Robert Sheckley collection, Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley. Curated by Jonathan Lethem and Alex Abramovich and part of the New York Review Books Classics series, this is a very well done collection of a seriously overlooked SF author. I got my copy at Borderlands the other day, and its a lovely addition to my Sheckley collection.
I was lucky to have a few vintage pocketbook collections of Robert Sheckley’s stories handed down to me as a child and have been a fan ever since. He wrote over 400 incredible short stories and 15+ novels, and was a huge influence on the New Wave of SF in the 60′s. Sheckley is well-known inside the SF community, but much of his work has fallen long out of print, and since most of my old pocket books are now mostly held together with tape or stored in ziploc baggies, I’ve been really excited with the recent reprints put out by NESFA and especially excited by this collection, which focuses on his work from the 1950′s.
Lethem and Abramovich describe his style better than I ever could in the introduction -
Sheckley’s stories operate as irresistible language artifacts, like extended puns or paradoxes: off-kilter, provocative, unsettling even if partly silly. They’re like psychedelic lamps that cast an eerie light in one room where they’re encountered, but then turn out to transform one’s view of all subsequent rooms. These are the kind of stories which, if young or otherwise inattentive at first encounter, you may forget the titles and the author’s name, only to rediscover them in some anthology many years later, with a sense of recognition akin to discovering someone else recounting a dream that you yourself once had.
- Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley, pg. viii
Highly recommended and available at fine bookstores everywhere.