Stables Strategies and Others

Posted by : atcampbell | On : August 1, 2006

Stables Strategies and Others by Eileen Gunn

This meeting at Charles and Willie’s home drew an attendance of nine. Our subject was a collection of Eileen Gunn’s entire body of fiction published over the course of a 20 year career. Ms. Gunn is not a prolific writer, and this book contains barely 200 pages. All of us started the book, with five finishing it.

This volume contains several noteworthy tales. The title story, “Stable Strategies for Middle Management,” is a cautionary tale about working for a large corporation. “Fellow Americans,” an alternative history that deviated from our own world in the mid-60s, is a charming and humorous story reminiscent of the work of Howard Waldrop. “Computer Friendly” is a creepy story of children too good with computers for their own well-being.

The book concludes with its longest story, “Green Fire”, written tag-team with Andy Duncan, Pat Murphy, and Michael Swanwick. It’s a World War II era story featuring young sf writers L. Sprague de Camp, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and computer pioneer Grace Hopper. We found it to be a fun sea adventure. Several of us at the meeting had seen Admiral Hopper speak at computer conventions, and we felt her personality was captured well.

Throughout the book, we were consistently impressed with the author’s biting edge and cutting humor. Gunn’s prose is distilled and terse, yet tells the story effectively. And of course we were pleased that her author’s notes called ArmadilloCon “the hippest science fiction convention on the face of the earth.”

Overall we enjoyed this book. After the meeting, we had dinner at Fuddrucker’s.

— A. T. Campbell, III