Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley (New York Review Books Classics)
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An NYRB Classics Original
Robert Sheckley was an eccentric master of the American short story, and his tales, whether set in dystopic cityscapes, ultramodern advertising agencies, or aboard spaceships lighting out for hostile planets, are among the most startlingly original of the twentieth century. Today, as the new worlds, alternate universes, and synthetic pleasures Sheckley foretold become our reality, his vision begins to look less absurdist and more prophetic. This retrospective selection, chosen by Jonathan Lethem and Alex Abramovich, brings together the best of Sheckley’s deadpan farces, proving once again that he belongs beside such mordant critics of contemporary mores as Bruce Jay Friedman, Terry Southern, and Thomas Pynchon.
him, and he did not reject it. Cordle knew, perhaps instinctively, that in the insight game, you take whatever you can get. The next day, he reached Santander in a driving rain. He decided to write amusing letters to all of his friends, perhaps even try his hand at a travel sketch. That required a typewriter. The conserje at his hotel directed him to a store that rented typewriters. He went there and found a clerk who spoke perfect English. “Do you rent typewriters by the day?” Cordle asked.
Glom are miserable. Only custom makes us take the caste-shape of our ancestors.” “Pilot,” Ilg said, “All Glom are born Shapeless!” “And being born Shapeless, all Glom should have Freedom of Shape,” Ger said. “Exactly,” Ilg said. “But he’ll never understand. Now excuse me. I want to Think.” And the oak tree was silent. Pid laughed humorlessly. “The Men will kill you off,” he said. “Just as they killed off the rest of the expeditions.” “No one from Glom has been killed,” Ger told him. “The
Wolves were slaughtered, trying to kill rabbits. Rabbits were electrocuted, trying to eat vegetables. Creepers were burned out in the act of strangling trees. A butterfly was executed, caught in the act of outraging a rose. This control was spasmodic, because of the fewness of the watchbirds. A billion watchbirds couldn’t have carried out the ambitious project set by the thousands. The effect was of a murderous force, ten thousand bolts of irrational lightning raging around the country,
would an insurance man break the law?” “He might not,” Barthold said thoughtfully. “He just might not. It’s worth a try.” And again he activated the Flipper. They slept in an open field that night, a mile from the fortress of Maiden’s Castle. They stayed beside the Flipper and took turns at sentry duty. And finally the sun rose, warm and yellow, above the green fields. “He didn’t come,” Bairthre said. “What?” Barthold asked, waking with a start. “Snap out of it, man! We’re safe. Is it
anthropologists from Samoa and Fiji. Haven’t you read Coming of Age in Georgia? Or Folkways of Mountain-Georgia?” “I don’t have time for such things,” Sven said. “My time is pretty well occupied running this ship without me having to read up on the individual psychology of the entire crew.” “I suppose so, Cap,” the doctor said. “Well, those books are in the ship’s library, if you’d care to glance at them. I don’t see how I can help you. Re-education takes time. I’m a medical officer anyhow, not