Wheatland Press

The Beasts of Love

“Steven Utley may be the most under-rated science fiction writer alive. A writer of strength, suppleness, ambition, and seemingly endless resource, Utley is able to turn his hand to almost any subject matter, mood, or type of story imaginable, and is unafraid to tackle any of them, however daunting the technical challenge may be. He has an ear for literary mimicry nearly unmatched in the field--his “Little Whalers,” in which the cast of LITTLE WOMEN crew under Captain Ahab, is dead-on and hilarious--but although some of the stories here are very funny indeed, others--such as “The Country Doctor,” “Abbadon,” “My Wife,” “Die Rache,” and “Once More, With Feeling”--move instead well beyond literary pastiche and into the realm of the serious and substantial, and even profound, making this one of the year's best collections, and a must-have for the discerning reader.”

--Gardner Dozois

Forgive me but I like my chocolate dark, my salsa picante, and a distinct quinine tang to my every gin-and-tonic. Little wonder, then, that I relish the short fiction of Steven Utley, who flavors his addictive narratives with bitters. Your first sip may take your breath away, but soon you're into the total rightness of the taste and returning for another fresh but unpredictable set-up.

Cocktails like “The Country Doctor,” “A Daughter of the Cause,” “Tom Sawyer's Sub-Orbital Escapade,” “Flies by Night,” “Outlaw Glory,” “Little Whalers,” the title piece, “The Goods,” and “Once More, With Feeling” demonstrate the range of Utley's virtuosity and the persistence of his mordancy. And then there's “My Wife,” a concoction with such a sting that it may well set the standard for tastily acerbic literary bartending. Set us up again, Steven.

-- Michael Bishop

Here are the stories that made Utley's reputation, alternately funny, bitter and/or heartbreaking. A few are even casually prophetic (a return to manned spaceflight after a 20-year hiatus; 2000 channels and nothing on). And “Once More With Feeling” is like NO OTHER story EVER written; it's an elegiac horror story. Some of these are like SF; some fantasy, some mystery, but not REALLY: the ONLY classification they fit in is, as the subtitle has it, STORIES by Steven Utley.

-- Howard Waldrop

The Beasts of Love
ISBN: 0-9720547-9-0

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