The Doctor of Death Island (1978) by Gene Wolfe

“You mean I’ll live forever?” The thought was almost too great for him to grasp. Words in his mind became fleeting pictures of a hillside covered with long, sweet grass. A hillside smiling in the sun. Day always. No night ever.

In Gene Wolfe’s 1980 collection The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories, there are three tales which play with the words of the book’s title:

  1. The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories
  2. The Death of Doctor Island
  3. The Doctor of Death Island

I read the first one last year and really enjoyed it. I haven’t read the second one yet. I’ve just finished reading the third one for my Short Story Tarot Challenge.

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The Steam-Driven Boy (1972) by John Sladek

‘If we remove him from the past, we have to make sure no one notices the big jagged hole in history we’ll leave.’

I reviewed John Sladek’s 1983 BSFA-winning novel Tik-Tok back in December 2015. I enjoyed the story, describing it as “a darkly humorous satire that casts a wry eye on such topics as art, celebrity, power, politics and slavery.” THE STEAM-DRIVEN BOY is a humourous short story that pokes fun at Asimov’s “Robot” novels. It’s another story taken from the fine 1972 collection Nova 2.

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A Dead Djinn in Cairo (2016) by P. Djeli Clark

‘His skin was a sheath of aquamarine scales that shifted to turquoise beneath the glare of flickering gas lamps.’

It was the title of P. Djeli Clark’s 2019 novella The Haunting of Tram Car 015 that caught my attention. I’d seen it recommended on Amazon when I was browsing for a new book. It had also appeared on the Locus 2019 Recommended Reading List; a list I always look forward to every year. Before buying a copy, I discovered¬†A Dead Djinn in Cairo was a short story published in 2016 that was set in the same universe. So I quickly purchased it and read it through in one sitting–it’s only just over 40 pages long.

djinn1

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