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Lewis Shiner

Ticonderoga Publications (2009)

ISBN: 978-0-9803531-0-5

Reviewed by Guy Salvidge

Lewis Shiner is known to me as one of the early cyberpunk authors, but his collection Love In Vain isn’t cyberpunk. It’s not even science fiction for the most part. It is, however, very good. Published by Ticonderoga in 2009, this collection of nearly two dozen stories showcases Shiner’s abilities at lengths ranging from flash fiction to novelette. Personally I found his longer works more interesting, not least the newer, previously uncollected “Perfidia”.

In “Perfidia”, Frank Delacorte, a collector with a penchant for eBay auctions, stumbles on a highly irregular recording of a Glenn Miller song. In his attempt to unravel the mystery, Frank travels to Paris to trace the recording back to its original owner. Meanwhile, Frank’s father, who had been one of the American soldiers that liberated the Dachau concentration camp at the end of World War II, lies dying in a US hospital. Shiner’s depiction of Paris circa 2000 is particularly atmospheric, and the story of Miller’s last tape is original and engaging. My only complaint is that the story ended long before I would like it to, which I guess is a compliment to Shiner’s technique, given that “Perfidia” is around 50 pages in length.

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