Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Meet Me in the Moon Room
Ray Vukcevich
Small Beer Press, 253 pages

Meet Me in the Moon Room
Ray Vukcevich

Ray Steven Vukcevich was born in 1946 in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and grew up in the Southwest. In the 1970s Vukcevich taught high school English and worked as a COBOL programmer. In 1990, Ray Vukcevich received his M.S. in computer science from the University of Oregon for his work on Word experts as logical objects. He now lives in Eugene, Oregon, and works as a computer programmer in a couple of brain labs in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oregon. His short fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Asimov's, Twists of the Tale, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Pulphouse. The Man of Maybe Half-A-Dozen Faces (2000) was his first novel.

Ray Vukcevich Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Man of Maybe Half-A-Dozen Faces
Meet Me in the Moon Room Launch Party (photos of author)
The Man of Maybe Half-A-Dozen Faces 1, 1 (copy)
Meet Me in the Moon Room 1, 2, 3, 4
Meet Me in the Moon Room 1, 2, 3
Ray Vukcevich Interview

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Georges T. Dodds

Looking over some other reviews of Meet Me in the Moon Room, I see that Ray Vukcevich's absurdist or surrealistic stories are apparently of a literary genre to which authors like Donald Barthelme (amongst others), and works like Don DeLillo's Ratner's Star belong. William Browning Spencer being the only author cited alongside Vukcevich that I've read (and incidentally very much enjoyed), any attempt at discussing Vukcevich's work in its alleged literary context would surely fall flat. But for all their strangeness, Vukcevich's 33 stories in Meet Me In the Moon Room are witty, funny, and ultimately about ordinary people, their relationships, their idiosyncrasies (and there are some pretty weird ones of those) -- basically they are explorations of the human condition in a place that just happens to not be the real world. While I could attempt synopses of the stories, that has been done elsewhere and besides a synopsis of most of the stories would hardly capture what makes them tick like Salvador Dali's watch.

As an outsider to the genre, I must confess to an odd effect of these stories on me. For the most part, I enjoyed the stories immensely when I read them, was fascinated by the parallels between the absurd occurrences presented and the "real life" situations they were (I assume) meant to represent or comment upon, and laughed at the numerous puns and out of context but topical use of American idioms and icons. But three or four days later when I came to write this review I could barely remember the plot of one or two of those stories. This statement might seem to suggest that the stories were not particularly memorable, but I really don't think this is the case. Rather, I think that the stories' lack of logic on the surface, however much they may carry a subtending message, just didn't fit into the logical framework of a mind which spends a great deal of time editing rigourously logical scientific manuscripts -- perhaps Mr. Vukcevich's work colleagues can explain that one.

Given this haziness about Mr. Vukcevich's stories, I might want to try to pigeon-hole them -- science fiction, fantasy, horror, which is it? Well, I'd have to say all and none of the above (this statement should give you some idea of what it's like to read these stories). When I read these stories I felt that the elements that labelled one story to be of this or that genre were not really the point; the stories had a message, perhaps of longing for a lost mate (like in "By the Time We Get to Uranus") or of the consequences of ostrich-like isolationism ("The Sweater" and "No Comet"), and the genre plot elements and the absurdity were just window dressing. In that sense, Vukcevich's stories reminded me a great deal of those (thoroughly non-absurd) "science fiction" short stories of Richard Paul Russo in Terminal Visions, particularly "Telescope, Saxophone, and the Pilot's Death," which had, in my mind, a great thematic similarity to Vukcevich's "By the Time We Get to Uranus."

For all the deeper meaning one might want to read into Vukcevich's stories, they are a lot of fun to read, and "fun" is not a negligible element in my reading experience. For example, there is some classic science fiction out there -- Olaf Stapledon comes to mind -- that is just insanely dull, if perhaps deep and meaningful. Vukcevich manages to inject a humorous, generally optimistic goofiness into his stories which make them a pleasure to read, while not obscuring his message. So go out and read about a man who substitutes a snake for a mustache, a youth gang of bicycle killers and a couple employed as cat tossers -- you'll have only begun to skim the surface of Ray Vukcevich's weirdness.

Copyright © 2001 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.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide