Unidentified Funny Objects, edited by Alex Shvartsman. Science Fiction (though it contains some fantasy). Anthology. 319 pages. Absolutely a stand-alone.
Shvartsman's introduction lamented that there were too few avenues for good humorists to be seen in the sci-fi/fantasy world, and so he decided to help out by pulling this book together. I'm quite pleased with the results. UFOs has everything from short cartoons to almost novella-length stories about all range of subjects from time travel to sentient symbiotic worms. And this book is dense
, too. I feel like I got more than the expected amount of brain-food packed into this box.
The stories in this book range from an alien invasion of planet Earth as seen on Twitter (complete with a call-out to John Scalzi) to a rebellious 150-year old nursing home patient going for a joyride down the highway on his souped-up hospital bed, hired whore beside him. There are intellect-required stories about Russian wordplay and not-so-intellect-required stories about Eleanor Roosevelt ("Big El") defeating Hitler's wizard's horde from hell.
Very little of this was laugh-out-loud funny, but a lot of it made me smile. There were a few old tropes like the summoning wizard getting the wrong person/being/summoning due to some kind of switcheroo or mispronunciation. There were the old con games of hiring someone and not telling the whole story of why. The science fiction parts were mostly near-space sci-fi. There were only a few aliens, and I would have happily had more.
I picked this book up because I like humor in my science fiction, and I have been wanting cheerful things to read lately. I recommend this book to fans of Asprin and Heinlin more than Anthony.Books and stories read for 2013