New Dreams for Old
by Mike Resnick
Review by Nicki Lynch
Pyr Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 1591024412
Date: June, 2006 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Among the nominated stories are: "Robots Don't Cry," a Hugo nominee in 2004. It's a lovely story about a robot and its loyalty to a little girl. "The Elephants on Neptune" was a Hugo and Nebula nominee in 2001. Built on the idea that there are elephants on Neptune and they have long memories about what it was like to live on earth, it's a cautionary tale about walking in the shoes of others. "Travels with My Cats" was nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula and won the Hugo in 2005. Depending on how one views the world, it is either a time travel story or a ghost story, which Mike cleverly leaves to the reader to decide. The story about the power of a good book and what it can inspire a person to do, "A Princess of Earth" was a 2005 Hugo nominee. This story shows Mike's love of the Pulp era fiction with love that lasts, even beyond time and space. "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" was a 2002 Hugo nominee. This story explores what old MacDonald might be raising on his farm when the world is starving for quick and inexpensive food and cloning has become common. "Hothouse Flowers" was a Hugo nominee in 2000. This story considers what can happen when the ability to sustain life wins out over quality of life for the elderly in society. "The 43 Antarean Dynasties" won the Hugo in 1998. A sobering story about the glories of the past from the perspective of the conquered, when the member of an old race must act as a tour guide for the conquerors.
"Down Memory Lane" is probably the saddest of the stories in the collection. It looks at how one man copes when the woman he loves doesn't die, but lives with a diminished capacity to remember their life. What do you do when the golden years become tarnished? Here is one answer that will stay with the reader.
"The Chinese Sandman" is a John Justin Mallory story, a further adventure of the private eye introduced in his novel Stalking the Unicorn. In the novel, Mallory has been transported to a different Manhattan, one filled with elves, leprechauns, talking animals and the like. This delightful follow up fantasy story is about how to recover a lost dream. The second John Justin Mallory story (I wish he would write more of them), "The Amorous Broom" is another is from an original anthology, Masters of Fantasy. Instead of dealing with thugs, Mallory has to deal with a broom that has fallen in love with him.
"Guardian Angel" is an original story written for a Science Fiction Book Club anthology of hard-boiled science fiction mysteries, Down These Dark Spaceways. A private eye is asked to find a missing man whose best friend is an alien. I really liked the character of Jake Masters and the universe the story is set in.
"His Award-Winning Science Fiction Story" is the only absurdist story Mike has written. It's been included in the anthology because it has been optioned by a studio. It's filled with interesting story ideas and purple prose.
"Unsafe at Any Speed" is subtitled "Another Serious Pedantic Essay by Mike Resnick", a follow up to his first Serious Pedantic Essay in Analog titled, "Why Martians Are Attracted to Big-Breasted Women". In the tradition of Larry Niven's "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" and the Serious and Scientific discussions Bob Shaw used to give, Mike looks at why Superman takes the bus to the scene of the crime rather than fly.
Mike also sets several of these stories in one of his favorite places, Africa. "The Pale Thin God" is a strange story that takes place among the various gods of Africa. "For I Have Touched the Sky" was nominated for both the Nebula and Hugo in 1990, won awards abroad, and is a favorite of the author. This is a poignant story on how keeping traditions can conflict with being modern. A young girl wants to have a modern education in a revived pre-Colonial culture where women are not allowed one. "Mwalimu in the Squared Circle" is an alternate history of Tanzania's first president, Julius Nyerere, and what if he had accepted Idi Amin's challenge to fight him in the boxing ring, rather than go to war. "The Burning Spear at Twilight" is another alternate history story set in Africa and with a different take on the Mau Mau Rebellion in the 1950's.
"Here's Looking at You, Kid" is a story about what might really going on in Rick's mind when ever the movie "Casablanca" is shown.
"The Kemosabe" had me chuckling while I read this all-too-short story. After reading this, I'll never see The Lone Ranger the same way again.
"Keepsakes" is a fitting last story to this collection, as it deals with a government agency that is trying to find the mysterious Star Gypsies who roam the galaxy doing good and leaving heart-break in their wake. It is serious, funny, and insightful story that left me wanting more of his delightful stories to read.
New Dreams for Old is a pleasing collection of stories well told, with characters and situations that will entertain you and get you thinking.