Fables from the Fountain

By Ian Whates

Rating: 4 stars

I’m a fan of the sort of rambling shaggy dog story that Arthur C. Clarke told very well in Tales from the White Hart and loved this tribute to that. Ian Whates has assembled quite the collection of authors to contribute to his anthology, all of whom were as fond of those old stories as I am. The stories themselves range from very White Hart-ian shaggy dog stories, complete with puntastic punchlines to more horrific fare to good old fashioned super-science SF. I would have liked to see more women involved, although Liz Williams’ story is fun (and gives some back story to barmaid Bogna).

My favourite stories were probably Stephen Baxter’s Transients which tells of a stranger brought into the usual group at the Fountain who tells a very particular story, before disappearing again; A Bird in the Hand by Charles Stross, which brings some women to the group and is one of shaggier dog stories in the collection; Book Wurms by Andy West about strange things lurking inside books and the strangers who tend them; and The 9,000,000,001st Name of God by Adam Roberts, riffing off the famous Clarke story.

If you’re a fan of the White Hart or Callahan’s or any other of those sorts of collections, you’ll enjoy this one a lot (and I’d certainly like to stop there for a drink, although perhaps avoid the ploughman’s).

Book details

ISBN: 9781907069239
Publisher: Newcon Press
Year of publication: 2011

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