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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sorry Please Thank You (Stories)

Sorry Please Thank You (Stories)
by Charles Yu
(5/5 stars)

Despite having read quite a bit of science fiction over the years, I haven't read that many short stories in the genre. Though I have to say most of the stories in "Sorry Please Thank You" can appeal to a broader audience because most don't deal with spaceships or aliens or high-tech science stuff.

The first story in the collection takes place in an Indian company where emotions are outsourced. The operators at the company feel the pain of well-to-do Americans, so those affluent people don't have to be burdened with things like guilt or sadness. Another story is about two employees working the graveyard shift of a thinly-veiled Wal-Mart who run into a vain zombie. There's also one from the point of view of a character in a role-playing game similar to Dungeons and Dragons, which begs the question: have you ever thought how tiresome all this questing can be? Later in the collection is a Star Trek parody where a yeoman tries to avoid his fate of being killed on an away mission, a similar concept to the novel "Redshirts."

Just about every story is told with wit and humor so that it's a light read. Some are a little less funny than others, which is always the thing with humor; it doesn't always work on everyone. About the only fault I have is a few of the stories are quite short; the last one is about 3 pages. The story "Inventory" is the longest at about 40 pages, but that's mostly because of the formatting, where some pages only have one sentence on them.

Since this was a review copy there were no page numbers in the table of contents and some of the headers were wrong, which I found a little annoying. I'm sure they'll correct that for the finished product. Overall, though, I found this to be a fun read for sci-fi fans (especially Douglas Adams fans) and those who aren't.

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