Hall of Small Mammals by Thomas Pierce
Another short story collection furnished by The Millions Anticipated Reads list. I got this from the library, and started digging through this immediately. It was an excellent collection, reminiscent of early Jonathan Lethem. Before he went all vinyl hipster. I’m talking Gun, With Occasional Music or As She Climbed Across The Table.
The stories blend this combination of science and whimsy. Not all of them, but the best parts of the collection. When I wrote Twenty-Sided Die, as I do with even my evenings of one acts, there are always clunkers. Stories that nobody really likes or that they kind of say, “okay” and move on. There’s an element of that here. The stories that deal with strange science — a television show that genetically recreates extinct animals, or a new rare exhibit at the zoo, or a woman who has been dreaming that she’s married and her jealous husband — are the strongest. But what makes them so good is not the bizarre or the science, it’s that they are rooted in these terrific moments of human relationship dynamic. The woman married in her dreams story is great because of the husband trying to reconcile and his reactions. The rare exhibit story is great because it’s all about a man trying to relate with his girlfriend’s asshole twelve year old son from a different marriage.
I really recommend this collection if you get a chance to find it. I’m excited to see where Pierce goes next, if he publishes a novel or if he puts out more short stories. I’ll read the hell out of whatever it is.