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)