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The Mountain of Long Eyes
Thomas Wm. Hamilton
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co., 214 pages

The Mountain of Long Eyes
Thomas Wm. Hamilton
Thomas Wm. Hamilton was born in 1939. After college (Columbia) he worked as an astronomer on the Apollo Project. Later he worked for a planetarium manufacturer, writing canned shows provided to those buying the planetariums. He then taught at Wagner College, running the school's planetarium and training students in the planetarium field.

Thomas Wm. Hamilton Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Sandra Scholes

If readers liked the stories of Damon Knight, then these will be similarly welcomed. The Mountain of Long Eyes is a collection of mainly science fiction short stories with a few fantasy ones thrown in to balance them out. The first story in the book is one of the most deceptive as it leads you to believe they will all be the same, but when you bear in mind these were written for magazines, you see where the subtle humour comes from, and also the serious nature of some of them.

Thomas Wm. Hamilton has written several novels; Time for Patriots: The 21st Century Confronts Bunker Hill - and Beyond, Useful Star Names, Including Nebulas and other Celestial Features, and Our Neighbour Stars, with Included Brown Dwarfs. He is a retired professor of astronomy and is planetarium director. He has an asteroid; Asteroid 4897 named after him called TomHamilton. He is working on a new book on the moons in our solar system and, I am sure many others for the coming year.

There are occasions where a reviewer will take a look at one of the stories, likes it and hopes that the rest will be as good, and to be honest, I enjoyed each one, and also have a couple of favourites. I have also got this writer's name on my 'read more list.'

"The Mountain of Long Eyes"

Hegam Kakaichu is a shaman, while others call him a medicine man, but he doesn't seem to like the term. He stumbles on a case where a group calling themselves God's Avenging Army have made a terrorist attack on the Flandrau Planetarium and he seeks to find out who is behind it Hegam has a great sense of humour and doesn't mind poking fun at his American Indian upbringing. This story like the name of the title is a good one, but it isn't one of the best.

"Universal Satisfaction"

Greg has a normal day at home until he meets his doppelganger, a Greg from a parallel universe. He calls himself Greg fifteen and after chatting with him discovers that he travels the universe and passes his knowledge and time machine onto him. He wants him to sample what he has seen over time, although Greg sees it has he has been missing out on a lot of fun too. Greg gets a feel for time travelling, quits his job and leaves the contents of his apartment to a friend who is amazed at the change in his attitude. He has no worries about money as he robbed a bank and has enough money to keep him sustained for years. He wants to have his arthritis healed, but doesn't count on the flamboyant stranger he meets -- who is more well known than most. The build-up is something to be enjoyed as are the characters, as well as a funny, if welcome ending.

"Poison Fruit"

This is a creation story based on the popular bible tale, but with a difference, it is told by a fallen angel who sounds like a 20th Century hoodlum talking about his powerful boss who isn't too pleased to see him. If you are religious, you are bound to be offended by this tale, but if you're more of a science nut like me, you will enjoy it and take it for what it is -- a fun story written for laughs.

"Why My Mother Hates Me"

When Mother's Day is coming, what do we get them? Some chocolates? Jewellery? A meal out at a top restaurant? This writer tackles this problem in a unique way as he intends to create something memorable as a present, and seems surprised when it goes terribly wrong. It is one of the funniest in the book, and one can only imagine the horrified look on his mother's face.

"The Seat of Learning"

Young Eddie is a problem child. At school he disrupts his class, and kills any chances of the other children learning anything. The principal becomes annoyed at his behaviour and contacts his parents, telling them to come in for a talk about Eddie's future. His parents only want what is best for their son, and are offered several programmes to get their son to behave in class. None take their fancy until they discover the Seat of Learning. This method has been used before and has a great success rating, but as it has only been tested on prisoners. They are reluctant to cooperate at first, but once they are told that it is this or their son will be expelled from the school, they have no choice but to sit their son in the chair, and let it do its work. The seat is an Artificial Intelligence mechanism that will control Eddie's disruptive behaviour, but the consequences are great as you will see.

"The Coming of the American Sun"

Ra and Apollon create suns every day, and that can get pretty tiring after a thousand years. When Apollon suggests they get a third man along who could help lighten their load, Ra takes a liking to the idea of having someone around who could make their lives easier, and there's another plus to this as well. He also suggests he be another musician. This is the writer's comical take on a classical story and the ending is particularly fun and surprising.

"Caesar Bewares"

"Beware the ides of March," was the statement his soothsayer uttered that led to it being a prediction that the emperor's life was threatened by someone very close to him. He couldn't say who, but he began to mistrust his friends and supposed allies, but this is the tale of what could have happened if Caesar had listened to his pleas. The possibilities for growth are endless if Caesar had not been assassinated, and this story shows that in perfect clarity.

"Who Wants to Live Forever?"

I've read only one other story based on a game show, and this is just as good as Kim Newman's effort. The game show from which this is taken is tame in comparison where contestants answer questions for unusual prizes like getting life saving operations, yet if they get them wrong, they suffer a cruel penalty. This, along with "The Seat of Learning," has to be one of the darkest in the book. It starts out upbeat enough, but once you turn the pages, you get to realise how cruel and heartless the whole thing is. Host Digley O'Dell asks the questions, but also neglects to feel the desperation of the contestants.

"A Fable for the Season"

As one of the funnier stories in the book, this one will get hearts a flutter ready for another Christmas and lost of cries of Ho! Ho! Ho! Thomas Wm. Hamilton is great at the comedy story, and there's a few more later on that will be enough to tickle your funny bone.

Copyright © 2013 Sandra Scholes

Sandra Scholes has her reviews published on Active Anime, Love Romance Passion, Love Vampires and Diverse Japan -- and wants to see some summer weather…very soon.

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