First Lines: Unidentified Funny Objects

Quite some time ago, I backed a Kickstarter for Unidentified Funny Objects (edited by Alex Shvartsman), a collection of hilarious science fiction and fantasy stories, because such anthologies did not yet exist. Later, I backed the sequel and part three as well. As I didn’t get ‘round to reading them, I skipped the fourth volume. Now, a good two years later, I finally caught up.

Before I go on, I should probably say that I have little patience for humor. As in, when something is explicitly labeled humor, I usually find it to be anything but. (Which might be something typically Dutch, I guess, commenting on something supposedly funny with a “That’s humor, man.”) If something is funny, you shouldn’t have to point it out. I’m a big fan of terrible jokes and lame puns, but someone trying to hard … not so funny.

Luckily, most of Unidentified Funny Objects was very enjoyable. The stories were all over the place, going from a boy whose dreams come to life and then help to get rid of some spooky government types that may or may not be vampires (“Dreaming Harry” by Stephanie Burgis) to Marko Kloos’ “Cake from Mars”, in which everything fun is outlawed but an old man still demands a Martian-whore-in-a-cake for his birthday. Then you got your incompetent dragon slayers (“The Last Dragon Slayer” by Chuck Rothman), your typical cases of third-rate con-artists being mistaken for wizards (“Timber!” by Scott Almes), your vampire-vampire hunter-hunter hired to dispose of zombie-bears (Matt Mikalatos’ “The Working Stiff”), the consequences of your zombies being repossessed (and who to trick to get ‘em back) in “The Day They Repossessed my Zombies” (K.G. Jewell), non-magical swords because the trolls’ shaman got tired of enchanted ones (“An Unchanted Sword” by Jeff Stehman), and my favorite story “El and Al vs. Himmler’s Horrendous Horde from Hell” by Mike Resnick, where ‘Big’ Eleanor Roosevelt and the great sorcerer ‘Little’ Al Einstein go face to face against Heinrich Himmler’s–Germany’s most powerful dark wizard–Horrendous Horde from Hell. The outcome of the World War II may well depend on whether or not these super-Ayrans can be bested.

Unidentified Funny Objects and it’s sequels are available from UFO Publishing.

Book read
Unidentified Funny Objects (edited by Alex Shvartsman)
First line
I realized I was in trouble when my realm-appointed lawyer showed up drunk and asked for spare coins. (from “Timber!” by Scott Almes)

Quote of the Day: Douglas Adams on Win95

While going over some really old files, I came across this Douglas Adams quote, pulled from his thoughts about Windows 95:

The idea that Bill Gates has appeared like a knight in shining armour to lead all customers out of a mire of technological chaos neatly ignores the fact that it was he who, by peddling second-rate technology, led them into it in the first place.

Douglas Adams

The sentiment is still as true today as back when I saved it for later use. That was way, wayway–before my employer decided I should start working on a Mac. Now, as that era is coming to an end–more on that later–I can’t help but wonder what Adams would make of this year’s batch of innovative Apple tech:

First Lines: Stranger Things Happen

Kelly Link’s Stranger Things Happen is her debut collection of short stories, and the second one I read. And I think I liked the other one better, because–wait for it–stranger things happened. Not that this one doesn’t have its qualities. Far from it. It’s just … well, I don’t really know just what it is, but these stories didn’t really click with me. “Travels with the Snow Queen” and “Survivor’s Ball, or, The Donner Party” were probably my favorites.

You can download Stranger Things Happen for free from Small Beer Press.

Book read
Kelly Link – Stranger Things Happen
First line
Dear Mary (if that is your name),
I bet you’ll be pretty surprised to hear from me. (from Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose)

We’ll Never Be as Young as We Are Right Now (XII)

I don’t believe in no boogie man
I don’t believe in no pie in the sky
You can wish upon a star until the stars are gone
That doesn’t mean it’s really so

There’s no such thing as a Santa Claus
There’s no such thing as getting money for nothing
No yellow brick road is gonna take you there —
Wherever you’ve been trying to go

We’ll never be as young as this, no matter how we try, we grow
You’re not such an innocent boy — and I already know!
Safe Sex

Happy birthday, maestro.