First Lines: Unidentified Funny Objects 4

At the time, I passed on the UFO4 Kickstarter, as I hadn’t read the previous three installments yet. By the time the UFO5 Kickstarter came around, I jumped at the chance to grab a couple of books, as I liked the concept.

Unlike the previous editions, volume four had an overall theme: dark humor. What dark humor is supposed to be is left vague, but it explains why Neil Gaiman’s “We Can Get Them for You Wholesale” got selected. This tale of a man who can’t say no to a bargain, even if it is wholesale prices for assassinations. I’ve read it earlier this year as well, and it remains a fun little story.

Other highlights include “Please Approve the Dissertation Research of Angtor” by Caroline M. Yoachim, which is a series of emails between a student named Angtor and the Dissertation Review Board, in which Angtor tries to convince them that they should approve his plans to research his theory that “Humans will destroy inhabited planets if Angtor screams death threats at them until they comply.”
Piers Anthony’s “Hello Hotel” takes an atheist makes a deal with the devil, despite not believing in him.
In “The Unfortunate Problem with Grandma’s Head” by Karen Haber we meet a woman who wins the annual lottery. The prize is getting to host great-great-great-…-grandmother’s head for the coming year. Unfortunately, Grandma might be dead, but her head keeps talking.
Imagine being able able to date an alternate universe copy of yourself. “Conversation Topics to Avoid on a First Date with Yourself” by Jonathan Ems explores that idea, and is quite good at it.
And finally, a story with a low body count by George R. R. Martin: “The Monkey Treatment”. A fat man gets to try out the (in)famous Monkey Treatment, a sure way to loose weight.

Unidentified Funny Objects 4 is available from UFO Publishing, and at most places books can be ordered.

Book read
Unidentified Funny Objects 4 (edited by Alex Shvartsman)
First line
Peter Pinter had never heard of Aristippus of the Cyrenaics, a lesser-known follower of Socrates who maintained that the avoidance of trouble was the highest attainable good; however, he had lived his uneventful life according to this precept. In all respects except one (an inability to pass up a bargain, and which of us is entirely free from that?), he was a very moderate man. (from “We Can Get Them for You Wholesale” by Neil Gaiman)