Saturday, April 13, 2013

Angouleme, by Thomas M. Disch

I received an anthology entitled The Secret History of Science Fiction as a gift, so it counts as Free SF.  I plan to spread these stories out between reading the award winners.  The main point of the anthology is to collect "literary" speculative fiction, some of it mainstream, some genre.  They are stories that in some way challenge the sense of the genre.  I'll come back to that.

The first story is called "Angouleme" (one of five novellas in Disch's novel 334).  It was written in 1971, set in New York in 2025.  The story concerns a group of what would now be called "tweens" who have been hanging out together.  Good kids overall, but then their leader, Mister Kissy Lips, decides that they need to commit a murder to...well, I'm not sure what it is to accomplish, but they do.  The characters are explored in some detail, which one would expect in literature.  It doesn't feel all that speculative except for the date, but I think some of this may be accurate anticipation vs lack of speculation.  In any case, technical or severe social change isn't the focus here.  It's the kids and the leader's obsession.  An OK read, but does not rise to above average.  2 stars.

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