Sci-Fi Private Eye: Amazing Tales of Cosmic Crime

By Charles G. Waugh

Rating: 4 stars

I rather enjoyed this anthology of crime-related SF stories. I was curious to see just how ‘science fictional’ these stories would be – i.e. would they just be traditional stories transplanted into space or would the crimes and/or their solutions genuinely require science fiction. Happily, for more than half the stories this is the case. Of the ones for which it isn’t, I’ll happily forgive The Scarletin Study because its protagonist is a talking dog while The Martian Crown Jewels is a classic locked room mystery with a twist. Of the others, the one that was probably creepiest was The Winner, about a prison with no walls, but a device embedded into the prisoners’ bodies ensures that the the further they get from the prison, the more pain they endure… Philip K. Dick’s War Game about psychological warfare with toys and games deserves a mention as does Wilson Tucker’s Time Exposures whose police photographer captures not so much the ‘now’ as the ‘then’ with photographs of the past.

All in all this is a strong collection which I’d be happy to dip into again, even though I now know how all the crimes are solved and loose ends tied up.

Book details

ISBN: 9780451455925
Publisher: Roc
Year of publication: 1993

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