In case you didn’t notice, I did not post a Ulysses update on Monday. I took Monday off from work figuring that since Bookman and I would be spending the weekend making a dent in putting the house back together it would be nice to have an extra day to recuperate. But it turned out that I pretty much spent the whole day reorganizing my red room, taking everything off the bookshelves, dusting, and weeding out some out-date-reference books and a few other books as well. My shelves are tidy and my books more organized and, even better, I have room on the shelves that I thought were packed full! So very happy about that.

All that to say, I didn’t make it through the 50 pages of episode 12 of Ulysses. I am about 20 pages in and enjoying it very much, but I am a little gloomy that I didn’t manage to keep up the pace of one episode a week and am now dragging episode 12 out across several days. Oh well. Next weekend will see things righted.

No sense in dwelling, I have a book of short stories to tell you about. I received Jason Sanford’s Never Never Stories as a e-book review copy in the midst of my summer of short story gorging, or rather, what was to me short story gorging.

Never Never Stories is made up of mostly science fiction with a couple of fantasy stories at the end. I found the stories to all be imaginative beyond the usual science fiction offerings.

“The Ships Like Clouds, Risen by Their Rain” takes place on a planet where the weather is made by ships from space passing in the skies overhead. In “When Thorns Are the Tips of Trees,” people become ill and die when they touch each other, turning into a crystalline tree that holds the person’s memories that other people can interact with when they prick themselves on the tree’s thorns. Then there was one of my favorite stories, “Here We Are, Falling Through Shadows” in which “shadows” consume people. Imagine trying to live in a world in which a shadow can kill you.

“Rumspringa” imagines the Amish and their lives and place in a technological future in which people have computer implants in their heads and will pay a lot of money for the chance to experience the memories of a “real” life. In “Millisent Ka Plays in Realtime,” we visit a world in which money and capitalism have been abolished but over time a new form of trade and debt has come into being that may or may not be worse than using money. Or there is “Into the Depths of Illuminated Seas” in which the names of people in town who will die at sea mysteriously burn themselves into the skin of a young woman. And these are just a few highlights.

I especially liked that all the stories were so very different. Not once did I feel like I was reading the same story told differently. And on top of that, they are well-written too with lots of pleasant surprises in terms of character and plot and unusual settings. Many of the stories have been previously published in magazines and several have been nominated for prizes and a few of them won. It is a good collection and good reading if you are inclined toward science fiction or something out of the ordinary.