Review of Unidentified Funny Objects 6 edited by Alex Shvartsman
Unidentified Funny Objects 6 was yet again a tremendous success. Each volume keeps getting better.
What is my definition of success, you may ask?
(You can skip this part if you have read any of my previous short story compilation reviews.)
To me, a short story compilation is akin to one of those giant bags of mixed candy you buy for Halloween. Some of what you get are your favorite kind, some are exceptionally good (just not your favorite), some are OK (but still candy, so pretty darn good), and some are awful because you can’t stand the flavor but you know other people love them anyway. And occasionally it includes one or two kinds of candy even the kids won’t touch.
With that in mind, I consider any short story collection to be a success if at least 3 or 4 stories fall into the first two categories of favorite or exceptionally good, and one (or better, none) fall into the even the kids won’t touch it category.
Unidentified Funny Objects 6 was a tremendous success. Eighteen (18!!) of the 20 stories were either favorites or exceptionally good. You really can’t ask for more than that.
The stories’ humor ranged from laughing so hard I couldn’t read because the book was shaking, to snickering uncontrollably, to smiling softly.
None of the stories was of the “even the kids won’t touch it” variety or the “I can’t stand the flavor” pile.
My favorite story was “Approved Expense” by David Vierling. I would give it 5 stars plus. If you have ever had to submit or approve an expense report it will seem even funnier.
My other 5-star stories included “A Game of Goblins” by Jim C. Hines, “Twenty-Nine Responses to Inquiries About My Craigslist Post: Alien Spaceship for Sale. $200, You Haul” by Tina Connolly, “An Evil Opportunity Employer” by Lawrence Watt-Evans, and “Lost and Found” by Laura Resnick.
Highly recommended. If you need a laugh, go buy this book.
Short thoughts on each story without spoilers:
“A Game of Goblins” by Jim C. Hines
Rooting for the goblin was a definite change of pace. 5 stars
“The Breakdown of the Parasite/Host Relationship” by Paul R. Hardy
Possibly the ultimate story of passive-aggressive behavior. 4 stars
“From This She Makes a Living?” by Esther Friesner
Wonderful, footnotes included. 4 stars
“Twenty-Nine Responses to Inquiries About My Craigslist Post: Alien Spaceship for Sale. $200, You Haul” by Tina Connolly
Could you tell a story from only replies to unseen questions? 5 stars
“Tyler the Snot Elemental Scours the Newspaper, Searching for Change” by Zach Shephard
Even snot elementals need fulfillment. 3 stars
“Agent of Chaos” by Jack Campbell
A writer’s story in both senses. 4 stars
“Display of Affection” by P.J. Sambeaux
As the world speeds up. 4 stars
“The Great Manhattan Eat-Off” by Mike Resnick
Always a good story. 4 stars
“An Evil Opportunity Employer” by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Excellent. No spoilers. Don’t skip this story. 5 stars
“Common Scents” by Jody Lynn Nye
I love a good mystery, especially with these characters. 4 stars
“A Mountain Man and a Cat Walk into a Bar” by Alan Dean Foster
Mad Amos is fast becoming one of my favorite characters. 4 stars
“Lost and Found” by Laura Resnick
So many different layers of humor. Wonderful. 5 stars
“A Crawlspace Full of Prizes” by Bill Ferris
Fun and thoughtful. 4 stars
“Return to Sender” by Melissa Mead
How to flip a fairy tale on its head. 3 stars
“The Friendly Necromancer” by Rod M. Santos
A fun romp. 4 stars
“An Open Letter to the Sentient AI Who Has Announced Its Intention to Take Over the Earth”” by Ken Liu
I’ve listened to conversations like this. 4 stars
“Approved Expense” by David Vierling
My favorite story. 5 stars
“Alexander Outland: Space Jockey” by Gini Koch
Enjoyable story. 4 stars
“Dear Joyce” by Langley Hyde
Lovely. Just lovely. 4 stars
“Impress Me, Then We’ll Talk About the Money” by Tatiana Ivanova, translated by Alex Shvartsman
Possibly too close to the truth about corporate greed. 4 stars
I give it 5 stars.