At present, I’m being greatly entertained by the stories in Eclipse One, which bills itself as an anthology of “new science fiction and fantasy.” In“Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse,” a precocious, eccentric Southern girl is brought together with a world-weary Catholic priest. In this story, Andy Duncan creates a scenario that is at the same time heartbreaking and hilarious. And it’s based on an incident that actually happened in the 1930′s and has been captured on film!
I read a review of Eclipse One as I was finishing Best American Short Stories 2007. Two terrific stories in that collection, “The Boy in Zaquitos” and “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves,” contain supernatural elements. The great pleasure I derived from reading them convinced me that it’s time – finally! – to take a look at what’s currently happening in the field of science fiction and fantasy. I have to say, I really like what I’m seeing. The originality, the quality of the writing, and the frequent and very welcome presence of wit and humor are all causes for celebration. (I’m primarily interested in short stories at the moment. Recommendations are welcome.)
I have more to read in Eclipse One, but I couldn’t wait to recommend “Reverse Chicken.” Among its other virtues, it features a really nifty surprise at the end, when the author reveals the true identity of the girl with the miraculous chicken.
Here is a poem by Andy Duncan entitled “The Genetic Engineer Throws a Cocktail Party and Drinks Too Much: A Sestina.”