Asimov's Review

. . . Golden Gryphon Press regales us with two fine collections in their ongoing attempt to single-handedly span the entire range of living SF meistersingers. . . . Having read my preceding review of Jeffrey Ford's new novel [The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque], you might imagine you have a good grasp of what Ford's writing is all about. Far from it! Until and unless you dip into Ford's first collection, The Fantasy Writer's Assistant (hardcover, $23.95, 247 pages, ISBN 1-930846-10-X), you won't know the dazzling array of techniques, conceits, tones, and shadings that Ford possesses in his bag of tricks. Featuring three previously unpublished stories, this assemblage darts from metafictional romps such as "Bright Morning" to autobiographical conundrums like "The Honeyed Knot"; from knock- about noir ("Floating in Lindrethool") to satirical jabs at celebrity culture ("Exo-Skeleton Town"). It's hard for me to pick a favorite from among such distinguished tales, but I'd opt for either "Creation," in which a young boy breathes life into a heap of sticks, then has to live with the results; or "On the Road to New Egypt," where a hapless driver picks up a hitch-hiking Jesus and the Devil. But whichever flavor of Ford you favor, you won't be disappointed at this tasty banquet.

— Paul Di Filippo, Asimov's, February 2003


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