New York Times Book Review

November 10, 2002

Strange But Not a Stranger (Golden Gryphon, $25.95) is a welcome collection of short stories by James Patrick Kelly. His best stories deal with the agony of choice. In the Hugo Award-winning "1016 to 1," a 12-year-old science fiction fan meets an emissary from the future in the year 1962; the emissary wants him to save the world by assassinating Adlai Stevenson, thereby precipitating a war against the Soviet Union but avoiding a later conflict that would wipe out the human race. In "Glass Cloud," an architect with an unhappy personal life must decide whether to accept a commission from enigmatic aliens who want him to build "a tomb for a goddess" on a distant planet. My favorite is "Chemistry," in which a woman searching for love in a commercial "neuromance palace" must distinguish between a chemically induced attraction that feels real and the fearful prospect of the real thing.


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