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One Side Laughing

Stories Unlike Other Stories
A collection of stories by

Publisher's Weekly
This collection of 16 stories and one novella are, as the title claims, ''unlike other stories''; some, however, are like others here. ''On the Wheel'' and ''La Ronde'' both give a feel of Escher's Print Gallery : both stories have two characters, each of whom reads about the ''fictonal'' actions of the other. ''Azimuth 1, 2, 3 . . . '' and ''The Man Who Went Back'' are both minor time-travel variations. ''Tarcan of the Hoboes'' is a pastiche and thus very like Tarzan, to neither work's benefit. ''The Other Foot,'' the novella which constitutes roughly half the book, concerns alien ''monkeys'' taken to a German zoo, from which they escape by ''swapping souls'' with random humans. For some reason Knight prefers this to Mind Switch , which is a full-length novel version of the same story. While most of the other stories in here are inconsequential, ''I See You'' and ''Strangers on Paradise'' are two of Knight's best. The first studies the changes to society that an invention enabling the viewing of any past event--no matter how recent--would bring, while the second concerns a poet's reflections after she learns her Eden of a world was created through genocide. In both stories Knight gcreates vibrant characters who live in an alien environment that is at once natural and strange.

Library Journal
A biographer discovers the worm in the apple of a utopian planet (''Strangers on Paradise'), while a reporter and an alien accidentally trade minds and destinies (''The Other Foot'') in two of the 17 stories in this collection of short fiction by one of sf's most stalwart veterans. Although most of the titles have appeared in magazines, this volume (with short personal introductions by Knight) makes a good addition to any library's sf or short story collection.

Kirkus Reviews
Seventeen variations, 1965-86, from respected editor-writer- critic Knight (most recently the CV trilogy), each a delightful fusion of craft and ideas. Knight covers familiar territory with style and wit: time travel, religion, peculiar alien invaders, a Tarzan pastiche, crime, a viewer that scans all places and times, a breathtaking circular fantasy. And in the two longer pieces he illuminates darker human impulses: an intelligent alien kept as a specimen in a zoo exchanges minds with a human observer; and a researcher learns that, in order to occupy a paradise planet, the human colonists ruthlessly exterminated its intelligent alien inhabitants. Knight's novels, paradoxically, have an irritatingly juvenile feel, with disappointingly vacuous contents; whereas his stories are almost always charming, vivid, subtle and-as, emphatically, here-a pleasure to read.

Genre: Science Fiction

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