Ian Randal Strock

Finally home, to two good reviews

After nearly a fortnight on the road, to Florida for the AG, and then to Massachusetts for Readercon, I’ve finally returned home, and waiting for me were two good reviews of Up the Rainbow: the Complete Short Fiction of Susan Casper. Makes coming home pretty nice!

Publishers Weekly says: “This collection… showcases both [Susan Casper’s] talent and the potential… that was lost when she abruptly stopped writing.… The completed short stories are worthy reading for any fan of science fiction or darker fantasy.… there’s a lot here for genre fans to enjoy.”

Paul Di Filippo in Locus writes: “It is a testament to the high regard in which [Susan Casper] was held that this commemorative volume was so quickly assembled and issued.… The opening three stories—her first sale was in 1983—serve almost as a mini-trilogy of horror or the Weird, showing Casper’s interest in eruptions of the uncanny into everyday life. Exemplars like Robert Bloch and Lisa Tuttle come to mind.… the trip reports—a longstanding fannish tradition—reveal Casper’s zest for life, a keen observer’s eye, and a flair for journalistic concision. These travelogues show a whimsical acceptance of the world’s pleasures, with no itchy unease or greed for more than some simple relaxations in novel settings can provide.… As [Michael] Swanwick has observed [in his introduction], Casper’s career was relatively compact: from 1983 to 2003. At that endpoint, for unexplained and perhaps ultimately inexplicable reasons, with many potential tales still at her fingertips, she ceased writing, although during her final fourteen years she still had many opportunities to do so. If one can hazard a guess as to why, based on the contents of this book, I’d say that Casper felt she had plumbed most of the rewards that writing fiction at a journeyman level could provide, and then made the decision that ramping up to master class was just not an effort she was willing to make. It’s a decision that others before her have chosen, and one that requires self-knowledge, sternness of character, and a willingness to let go of unrealistic daydreams. All qualities which the stories she did give us reveal she possessed to repletion.”

At Readercon, with Gardner Dozois’ able help, we sold out of all the copies of Up the Rainbow that I had. At the same time, Fantastic Books launched Science Fiction for the Throne, with the help of editors Tom Easton and Judith K. Dial. We did not sell out of those books, but made a nice dent in the pile I had on hand.