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    Review of GRAVITY WELLS by James Alan Gardner (see his website)


    eos, May 2005

    A young girl tells her brother that everything is falling into place and that the universe will arrive where it's going--next week. An art critic visits a planet which somehow had no children. An author tries to write something meaningful about Kent State, from a science fiction perspective. A vampire tries to deal with ethics. A rock star discovers remains of a long-ago war. A slave seller goes bankrupt. A grim reaper tries to beat the game. The tarot speak. A fog threatens magic-wielding explorers. A love scene in a virtual world. A high priest deals with forbidden love. A strange organism visits the solar system. Are there snakes in the human bloodstream? And two boys discuss girls, sentient Dyson spheres, and basketball.

    Author James Alan Gardner brings a fairy-tale style of story-telling to a series of interesting and sometimes fascinating topics. For me, the first story, 'Muffin Explains Teleology to the World at Large,' was especially strong, reminding me of the very best Ray Bradbury. But there were plenty of other treasures here as well. 'The Last Day of the War, With Parrots,' managed several twists and a great combination of action and character. 'The Young Person's Guide to the Organism,' the longest of the stories, combined first contact with a look at mankind's nature.

    Gardner's uniformly strong writing, together with his often intriguing and always slanted way of approaching topics, makes GRAVITY WELLS an important read. If you're a fan of SF short stories, you'll definitely want to pick up Gardner's collection.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 6/06/05

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