The State of the Art

Image of book cover (34k gif)

Publisher: Orbit (1991)

ISBN: 0 35619 669 0

Comments: This is a collection of short stories that Iain has written over the period of a few years. Three Culture stories, including the story that gives the collection it's name, grace the collection. It is a fairly eclectic grouping with the tales ranging from horror, fantasy to a wide selection of science fiction. Finishing the selection is a somewhat hard to read piece titled 'Scratch', which can be interpreted several ways.

The quality of the stories varies a bit with two of the Culture stories standing out as the best in the book. As always a degree of Iain's dark humour creeps through. However what, for me, is the books failing is simply the length of the stories. Having read the novels I know what complexity and depth Iain is capable of. Here, simply due to the choice of writing form, such can not be attempted. By neccessity the stories are simpler and more straight forward. As such this is really an item for collectors.

Philip R. Banks
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