Christina M. Hinke



Cosmic Cocktails

Reviewed by Christina M. Hinke
Publishers Weekly
Denise Little (editor). December Daw, $7.99 (320 pages) ISBN: 0-7564-0398-7

In conceiving this anthology of bar stories from outer space, editor Little drew inspiration from her own experience "living in Green Bay in the winter ... trapped all the time inside artificially heated shelters sealed against a hostile environment." The result, a collection of 15 all-new tales from largely unknown writers, is a winning treat just in time for the cold months. Many stories evoke what may be the original Space Bar & Grill, the bustling cantina from Star Wars, as in Stephen Mohan, Jr.'s description of a Hershin trader: "waxy blue-gray skin, twenty or thirty shiny black eyes sprinkled around a fist-sized sensory node set on a slim neck stalk." Others recall the mind-bending neo-noir of Philip K. Dick, as in Allan Rousselle's intoxicating story about a hired killer traveling back in time to terminate the inventor of a time machine. Playing out like an episode of The Twilight Zone, Annie Reed's clever tale follows a woman's inventive revenge on a Lothario, as she turns his every lie into a reality, making him the most wanted man on 17 planets. Without a marquee name in the mix, this low-key pub crawl is surprisingly consistent, delivering a punchy blend of shocks, laughs and otherworldly action with only a few stale brews among them.

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