The Monadic Universe by George Zebrowski

I clearly couldn’t resist picking this one up due to the weird troll looking creature that appears to be living inside a flower of some kind. Oh, but how i was misled by this zany 70’s cover and the futuristic title font. It’s not that often that I consider not finishing a book and if this had been a novel rather than a collection of short stories then I probably would have done. I quite enjoyed the last couple of stories but overall i’d have to say quality was patchy and sometimes the stories just didn’t seem to make all that much sense. He’s definitely outclassed by Asimov or Dahl when it comes to knocking out a pithy and imaginative short story.

The first story tells of a man who tries to have sex with some kind of  humanoid-like sea creature but fails as it goes off to mate with one of it’s own kind. He then watches them mate and realises the female dies to become a food source for her young once she’s been impregnated. He then vows to come back the following spring (when the young hatch out of their mother) to ensure they get a good start in life. And that’s it. I wasn’t sure whether i was meant to be marvelling at some possible inter-species porn or that he realises it’s all just part of the old circle of life.

I could go on to describe more of the stories but suffice it to say that I think i’ve taken one for the team by spending my time reading this – so you don’t have to. Although i’d be interested to see if anyone would agree with me once they’ve read it or whether i’m bang out of order. To me he misses out on the point of short stories – which is that they need to be short, punchy and to the point. He’s not high on my ‘must read again’ list but he’s got no-one to blame but himself.

5.5/10

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