Puss in D.C. and Other Stories
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Pamela Sargent's latest collection assembles 10 of her recent stories, including "Puss in D.C.," "Strawberry Birdies," and "A Smaller Government," showing why she's one of the most popular authors currently writing science fiction today.
From the introduction by Eleanor Arnason: "Sargent has a quality usually associated with hard SF: a certain kind of intellectual rigor. With her, it carries through all of her work. She thinks things through… Notice, when you read this collection, how many different kinds of stories are here and notice the range of moods: the stories go from really funny to really dark, with a lot in between… I also want to mention Sargent's persistence. Writing is a hard life. Many good woman writers I admired in the 1970s, '80s and '90s have vanished. They stopped writing or stopped trying to sell their fiction or changed their names and moved to writing romance, gay romance, generic fantasy—whatever they could sell. In one way or another, they were silenced. Sargent has kept doing thoughtful, serious fiction, dealing with the issues that interested her."
• Puss in D.C.
• Strawberry Birdies
• After I Stopped Screaming
• The Rotator
• The Falling
• A Smaller Government
• Not Alone
• The Drowned Father
• The True Darkness
most readers could probably easily discern that the Vice President of the United States who is the protagonist was modeled on Dick Cheney, probably the most reprehensible person ever to hold that office. Later on, it occurred to me that not tying the characters to particular individuals might make the story more likely to survive when the Bush and Cheney administration has long since been forgotten. Although given the damage done by that regime, it might be a while before such amnesia sets in;
her, several dark shapes were bent over the gutter, and she heard the sound of retching. The sky was black and clear; the stars twinkled, as they always had. Gradually, she became aware of how quiet it was. No one spoke; she could hear a few muffled sobs. Someone turned on a radio. “Repent,” a tinny voice cried into the night. “God has given us a sign.” The listener switched to another station which was playing The Planets by Holst, and she heard the thundering, threatening sounds of the Mars
have enough space to turn around in back home,” the Senator replied. Using “home” as a synonym for “Montana” was another rhetorical flourish; she had been living quite contentedly in her house in Virginia’s much tamer horse country for over a decade. “Look, the fact of the matter is that the rest of my staff inside Hart has a lot more room right now than we do.” “They should be done with copying and emailing everything we need pretty soon, Senator,” the male aide said. That was the problem, the
of suspense and ultimately murder, but that kind of plot seemed to mute what was at its heart, the pain of a neglected child and the father who had tried to reach out to her in the only way he could, along with the disillusionment of a reader foolish enough to confuse a writer’s work with the writer’s life. THE TRUE DARKNESS The shrieking wind went mute. Lydia’s ears throbbed in the silence. Matt reached for the remote just as the TV screen went black and the overhead lights winked out. Matt
now. “Be careful. It’s four steps up to the door.” “I’m being careful,” Gretchen Duhamel said. Lydia heard footfalls on the steps, and then something brushed against her. “Sorry.” “You’re almost there. Just keep coming.” * * * * By the time Gretchen Duhamel was settled in the easy chair next to the sofa, Lydia had learned that she was a widow and that her late husband had died five years ago. The woman went on to mention a son who lived in Seattle and her two cats, Bartholomew and Percy,