Sunday, May 17, 2015

Other Dimensions, edited by Robert Silverberg

Other Dimensions
Edited by Robert Silverberg

There's nothing fancy or cryptic about the title of this anthology. The stories, as the title suggests, are concerned with the theme of other dimensions. For my money, some of them worked and some did not. Rather than offer my comments on all ten stories I'll focus on the ones I liked.

And He Built a Crooked House, by Robert A. Heinlein
What happens if you build a house in more than the accepted number of dimensions? Heinlein offers up a rather whimsical account of how it might go. I probably won’t be spoiling it to say this much – not well.

Narrow Valley, by R.A. Lafferty
A quarter of a century after Heinlein’s story appeared, Lafferty took a similar look at the problems of extra dimensions. He too takes a lighthearted approach. His yarn is about a plot of land rather than a house that exists in more dimensions besides the ones we all know and love so much.

Stanley Toothbrush, Terry Carr
I wasn’t aware that the well-known anthologist Terry Carr was also a writer but here he contributes what I thought was the best story of the bunch. In which the protagonist finds that by using the powers of his mind he can cause things to appear or disappear. It’s not an exact science, mind you. This, and the fact that Carr also tends toward the whimsical, makes for a very entertaining story.

Disappearing Act, by Alfred Bester
The military is trying to determine why shell-shocked patients in a secret ward are disappearing. The answer is a fairly simple one having to do with other dimensions. But it's made more interesting by the General in charge, who's rather over the top and constantly demanding another expert to sort out anything he needs to know. Comparisons to a certain Kubrick movie wouldn't be too far off the mark.

Also features stories by Arthur C. Clarke, Alexei Panshin, Carol Carr, John Breuer, Robert Silverberg and Stanley G. Weinbaum.

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