postheadericon Cosmic Kaleidoscope, Gollancz, hardback, ISBN 0-575-02209-4

You don’t see Kaleidoscopes any more, let alone those of the cosmic variety. Kaleidoscopes were all the rage when I were a child.
Cosmic Kaleidoscope hardbak cover

Cosmic Kaleidoscope hardback cover

This is Bob Shaw’s second collection of short stories and it contains a few gems.

First off is the novella Skirmish on a Summer Morning which I must confess I will have to read again as it either went over my head or I could not get into it. It is a Western based story with SF elements. Or an SF story with western elements.

Cosmic Kaleidoscope Hardback signed

Cosmic Kaleidoscope Hardback signed

And how about this to start a story: ‘Coburn gazed at his girl friend with a growing sense of dread. He had heard about things like this happening to perfectly normal young women, but he had always considered Erica to be immune.

‘”You’ve never mentioned marriage before,” he said numbly.’

His effort to avoid marriage sends the hero into an adventure, starting with the transport ship he is piloting getting hijacked by a criminal. This is an out of the frying pan into the fire, then out of the fire into an even bigger fire type of story.

The story is Unreasonable Facsimile and the planet they crash land on is called Toner II. It’s a fun story and resolves itself quite well, bringing the main character back to his predicament at the beginning of the story.

Also included is The Giaconda Caper, a detective style story about a duplicate Mona Lisa that is slightly different to the one in the Lourve.

This short story collection includes A Little Night Flying, originally called Dark Icarus and the basis for the novel Vertigo – later revised as Terminal Velocity. Boy did he get mileage out of that one.

Cosmic Kaleidoscope paperback

Cosmic Kaleidoscope paperback

Incidentally, getting the (signed) hardback edition caused me to purchase a book on Amazon. Gollancz hardbacks had a list of ‘Recent Gollancz SF’ on the inside back of the dust jacket. One such book, Bruno Lipshitz and the Disciples of Dogma by John Robert King, caused me to search for it online and then purchase from Amazon.

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