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Mike Resnick
40K, 59 pages

Mike Resnick
Mike Resnick sold his first book in 1962 and went on to sell more than 200 novels, 300 short stories and 2,000 articles, almost all of them under pseudonyms. He turned to SF with the sale of The Soul Eater, his first under his own name. Since 1989, Mike has won Hugo Awards (for Kirinyaga; The Manamouki; Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge; The 43 Antarean Dynasties; Travels With My Cats) and a Nebula Award (for Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge).

Mike Resnick Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Buntline Special
SF Site Review: Stalking the Vampire
SF Site Review: Kilimanjaro
SF Site Review: Stalking the Vampire
SF Site Review: Stalking the Unicorn
SF Site Review: Starship: Pirate
SF Site Review: Starship: Mutiny
SF Site Review: Dragon America
SF Site Review: Men Writing Science Fiction As Women, Women Writing Science Fiction As Men and New Voices in Science Fiction
SF Site Review: A Hunger in the Soul

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Trent Walters

Keepsakes From Hugo-winner, Mike Resnick, comes a simple yet effective novella, "Keepsakes," billed as "one of the best short novels ever" (presumably by the publisher or editor).

The narrator and Jebediah Burke are galactic policemen on the trail of the Star Gypsies, mysterious aliens who will save any desperate being -- human or otherwise -- from their circumstances. For instance, they'll fix your stardrive if you're stranded and can't make it to your daughter's graduation and, you think, you'd give anything to be there. Their prices are far below what you'd think you should have to pay. But they also want a small item of minor monetary value, such as the last holographs of your spouse while she was still alive.

Strangely enough, despite being twenty-seven years on the trail of these aliens, the policemen have never encountered the Star Gypsies. They always arrive a little too late. Stranger still, the victims disagree on the appearance of the aliens: always something similar to whatever species the victims are.

Though the price charged is psychologically steep, one may wonder if a law enforcement agency would expend such costs to hunt down the perpetrators of these crimes. Perhaps other crimes are way down, or they offended someone with influence. One of the more interesting aspects of the tale is the ending where the narrator makes a small act of defiance. Is it significant or just a temporarily satisfying act? Another aspect for readers who like to chew over their stories is that the beginning claims this to be Jebediah's story, but is it? The protagonists are at odds in the end, and the narrator seems incapable of seeing the other's point of view.

This tale demonstrates why Resnick remains such a popular writer in the field. While it toys with common genre tropes, it focuses on developing one uncommon one. The concept is strong, exacting an emotional price from various characters. The prose and characters are clear and unadorned, giving it a traditional feel, especially considering the narrator's jaded tough-guy attitude reminiscent of old detective novels. If you're looking for something fun with an emotional tug, check this one out.

Copyright © 2012 Trent Walters

Trent Walters teaches science; lives in Honduras; edited poetry at Abyss & Apex; blogs science, SF, education, and literature, etc. at APB; co-instigated Mundane SF (with Geoff Ryman and Julian Todd) culminating in an issue for Interzone; studied SF writing with dozens of major writers and and editors in the field; and has published works in Daily Cabal, Electric Velocipede, Fantasy, Hadley Rille anthologies, LCRW, among others.

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