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This is my first introduction to Michael Shea, although his reputation as a fantasist and sci fi horror writer certainly precedes him, and was one of the reasons why I had picked up a copy of this Arkham House edition.First let me say that not every story in this collection met my liking Actually, the one story I am referring to, Pearls of the Vampire Queen , I guiltily skimmed over, so that I could return to the other stories that held my fascination It s not to say that the opening of this story bored me, but once I realized that the story was a sword and sorcery type of fantasy tale, I already knew that I would prefer to spend my time on the other sci fi and horror tales in this collection And I m not casting any judgement on the fantasy genre, I simply have never developed a palette for this kind of genre, and by the time I got to Pearls , I had already been enjoying the other stories in the collection and really was not up for a fantasy interlude Maybe I ll come back to this story one day but on to the rest of the stories I think for me, the rest of the stories were an outstanding blend of horror and sci fi, that demonstrated Shea s versatility in covering a wide range of socially political themes using a wonderful and highly stylistic prose.The two jewels of this collection are The Autopsy , which I think most people have come across in various anthologies, and The Extra The Autopsy masterfully combines horror tropes vampiric like feasting with sci fi tropes parasitic pupeteering of a host body by an alien entity to give us a harrowing mystery of one doctor s incredible but fatal discovering at the morgue one evening The Extra on the other hand is a traditional sci fi dystopic future kind of satire, that incorporates some particularly horrific scenes of callous blood shed I was really blown away by this story, particularly by what it attempted to achieve with its not so veiled social commentary of Hollywood entertainment taken to extremes The philosophical musings were cuttingly poignant without being preachy and Shea did a wonderful job with weaving in the satire to a highly compelling and sophisticated tale I would highly encourage any reader who has yet to read Shea to give him a go definitely worth your time. This book is so damn good It contains the single most frightening story I have ever read The Autopsy Michael Shea s fiction has been anthologized than once so you don t need to seek this particular Arkham House edition. A few years ago I attended a World fantasy convention in Madison Wisconsin To save on some money I stayed at a youth hostel To my surprise Mr Shea and Mrs Shea were staying there too We had a nice time talking about the convention He wound up winning a award The next night I met up with them again after dinner at the hostels living room We watched the movie The grudge on the tv He kindly allowed me to send some of my books to his home which he signed and returned. The Autopsy is easily one of the scariest, and most depressing horrors out there, and I love it Part MIDWICH CUCKOOS, part Quatermass part TWIN PEAKS, part THE THING I fucking adored it As for the rest of the collectionThe eponymous tale is a well considered first encounter story, of the terminal kind It kinda dragged for me, but it s good.And that s all I can remember, but in my defence, it s been over twenty years since I ve read this I seem to recall a BLUE WORLD Robert McCammon vibe from one of the tales, as well.Nonetheless, The Autopsy should and I don t use that word lightly be read by any one who claims to have an understanding of Sci Fi, or horror short fiction. [ Free Epub ] ☨ Polyphemus ⚇ From sea monsters in outer space Polyphemus to aliens in human bodies The Autopsy , these six stories by the author of In Yana, the Touch of Undying display a distinctive talent for the macabre Whether based in sf or fantasy, Shea s short fiction is not for the squeamish.Contents Polyphemus 1981 The Angel of Death 1979 Uncle Tuggs 1986 The Pearls of the Vampire Queen 1982 The Horror on the 33 1982 The Extra 1987 The Autopsy 1980 The Lost Boys: A Family Ripped Apart by War these six stories by the author of In Yana The Sizzling Spanish (Horrible History Magazines, the Touch of Undying display a distinctive talent for the macabre Whether based in sf or fantasy Dog's Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting Shea s short fiction is not for the squeamish.Contents Polyphemus 1981 The Angel of Death 1979 Uncle Tuggs 1986 The Pearls of the Vampire Queen 1982 The Horror on the 33 1982 The Extra 1987 The Autopsy 1980 I mainly know Michael Shea from his sword sorcery tales, but he s one of those authors whose work I want to track down, because of it s lack of both deserved acclaim and proper re printings and releases This anthology only contains one of his ss stories, from his Nifft the Lean collection, and it s a good one, Shea doing what he does best, filling a world with exquisitely sketched nightmare creatures and ne er do wells.What really stands out to me here is how versatile a writer he is there s some very straightforward science fiction here, as well as comedic blue collar horror, and a few stories that defy genre classification.The works on display here also reveal something that I really love about Shea as a writer of imaginary creations he has it all thought out before hand Not just how to get his characters from point A to point B, or what lessons he wants them to learn, but EVERYTHING, down to the anatomical details of his monsters, his as clearly painted in his mind as it is in his prose My favorite story here is the last one, The Autopsy , and this is the one that illustrates Shea s attention to descriptive detail the best, as the entire story hinges on us understanding the form and function of an alien being s anatomy Shea succeeds at this marvelously, giving us a full color mental image of the squirm inducing procedure. A great collection from a tragically overlooked writer What I learned Shea had a thing for spiders and was particularly fond of using the word palps The story Polyphemus was a little tedious for me but most of the other stories stand well above the standards of their various genres The Autopsy and The Horror on the 33 were both great in the Lovecraftian tradition The Angel of Death and Uncle Tuggs were also great, and reminded me of good Stephen King with their balance of darkness and humor I also really enjoyed the dark fantasy adventure The Pearls of the Vampire Queen and it made me want to read the other stories in Shea s series, Nifft the Lean. This book is by one of the best sci fi writers you ve never heard of This book is a collection of oddly claustrophobic, gritty, hung over sort of stories about people living in dreadful worlds that seem simultaneously to be set in the distant future and the distant past The writing is so good that you can almost hold each character in your hand but after you do, you have to scrub and scrub and scrub to get yourself clean again. Solid good read Polyphemus was kind of stereotypical sci fi, and the wording was kind of purple But I liked most of the people in it, and there were interesting little bits of humor that I never expected The Angel of Death was good I thought it was going to be stereotypical but it was actually pretty weird and interestingUncle Tuggs was good It was vaguely familar, but I m not sure if I ve actually read it before The Pearls of the Vampire Queen was interesting and very much of the Dying Earth , as it was supposed to be The Horror on the 33 I didn t think I was going to like this one But I adored the ending The Extra I liked I thought it was going to be just pure dystopian, but I ended up liking it a lot The Autopsy I ve read before and it s solid and good. Wonderful mix of excellent short stories, a real pleasure