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Snapshots of Apirania

Published in Interzone, October 2000

(This story is collected in The Turing Test from Elastic Press)

Reviews:

“I don’t often laugh out loud when reading, and even less often at stories that are not comedic. “Snapshots of Apirania” by Chris Beckett is not comedic, and it made me laugh. It is funny in a peculiar sort of way. The story is simply the monolog of someone displaying their vacation slides, from their trip to Apirania, a world somewhere else in our galaxy. The narrator is as clueless as any aloha shirted American wandering the streets of Lhasa looking for french fries. It is the tension between the scenes described in the snapshots and the narrator’s remarks on them that brings both laughter and sadness. A clever story, this is the gem of the issue.” – Jay Lake, Tangent

The Gates of Troy

Published in Interzone, April 2000

(This story is collected in The Turing Test from Elastic Press)

Reviews:

“Simply put, this is the best time travel story I’ve ever read. The story opens on the yacht of Alex, a recent college graduate and ne’er-do-well, who has invited his friend Han on a sailing trip. They spend some time happily cruising about the Mediterranean together until Alex’s meddling father drops in (via helicopter, of course,) and gifts them with a time machine. The three of them decide to sail their ship to the sack of Troy, and join in the “fun” of the Trojan Horse. Alex, who is dubious about this whole affair from the beginning is out-voted by the exuberance of his father and his friend. One of the great things about this piece is how much it really is about Alex. Both Han and Alex’s father go through the adventure fairly unfazed, but Alex is affected very deeply by it. Things will never be the same for him, and, with luck, the reader as well.” – Lynda Moorhouse, Tangent

The Marriage of Sky and Sea

Published in Interzone, March 2000

(This story is collected in The Turing Test from Elastic Press)

Reprints:

  • Year’s Best SF 6, edited by David Hartwell and published by Harper Eos, 2001

Reviews:

“The writer and traveler Clancy, who has built fame and fortune on selling his accounts of foreign lands and exotic experiences to his native Metropolis, discovers that “The Marriage of Sky and Sea” may hold more wonders than even he can capture. This tale presents his attempts to construct a narrative that will be faithful to his latest trip, one to a primitive and possibly idyllic planet, while at the same time recounting those experiences directly. But unlike the dozens of times he has followed the same process before, Clancy now struggles to provide a commercially viable work that will be snapped up by the masses. His difficulties supersede the ordinary art-versus-commerce polemic, delving far deeper into his psyche and his predicament. In a delightful twist, his creative process is brought to life by his dictation to Com, his artificial assistant. Beckett’s ambitious story works on all fronts, fully rendering a complex individual, intermingling past with present, commenting on tropes like the “stranger in a strange land” or the “noble savage,” but never reducing itself to them. It’s a superlative, unexpectedly lyrical story and the perfect choice for a final piece: the ideal marriage of idea and execution.” – Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (as part of a review of The Turing Test short story collection), The Fix

The Welfare Man

Published in Interzone, August 1993; 3rd place in annual Interzone reader’s poll.

Reprints:

  • The Best of Interzone, edited by David Pringle and published by Voyager (HarperCollins) in 1997
  • (A truncated version of the story was also reproduced in Health and Disease: a Reader, published by Open University Press, 1995)