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The Stars of Axuncanny
David Simms
Livingstone Press (Univ. of Western Alabama), 177 pages

David Simms
David Simms grew up in western New York State and has also lived in Canada, Ireland, and up and down the east coast of America. He has been an editor, teacher, anthropologist (Ph.D. Anthropology SUNY-Albany), married and unmarried. The author currently lives in Berryville, Virginia.

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Georges T. Dodds

The Stars of Axuncanny While The Stars of Axuncanny was a pleasant if not overly engrossing read, I'm not sure that I would place it into either science fiction or fantasy, or even imaginative fiction. This is sometimes a difficult distinction for books by "mainstream" writers who use elements of SF or fantasy to place their story in a slightly alternate reality. However, in this case I would tend to see The Stars of Axuncanny as a set of quirky and whimsical reminiscences -- or tall tales -- of marital and non-marital man-woman relationships. These are all centered around an oddball religious community located in the Catskills of New York State (which is to baseball manufacturing what the Oneida community were to silverware), where the narrator is on a spiritual retreat seeking to coming to grips with his losses and newly-developing relationships. Yes, there are elements of fantasy, and to a lesser extent SF, but the intention is seemingly to add humorous anecdotes and quirkily exaggerated characters in a narrative which frequently shifts back and forth in time, and not to either conjure a new mythology or explore technology or science and its societal implications.

That having been said, The Stars of Axuncanny is quite amusing in its use of baseball lore, and the narrator/author's reminiscences of his wives and lovers who excel(led) in obscure sports (hurling, curling and lacrosse) are quite funny. Interestingly, the motorcycle-riding narrator invariably recognizes and remembers his various idiosyncratic mates by their smell: marigold, daisy, etc...

So by all means enjoy The Stars of Axuncanny for what it is, a humourous, absurd account of adult relationships in an alternate Central New York, but not any sort of myth-making.

Copyright © 2006 Georges T. Dodds

Georges Dodds is a research scientist in vegetable crop physiology, who for close to 25 years has read and collected close to 2000 titles of predominantly pre-1950 science-fiction and fantasy, both in English and French. He writes columns on early imaginative literature for WARP, the newsletter/fanzine of the Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association and maintains a site reflecting his tastes in imaginative literature.

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