Guys Read: Other Worlds

edited by Jon Scieszka
ages: 10+
First sentence: “What would happen if invading warlords from another planet landed on your school’s basketball court?”
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I have off and on luck with short stories; sometimes I am really entertained by them. Others, not so much. This collection, however, worked for me. Not all of the stories worked equally well, but overall, it was a good collection.

It may have something to do with my fondness for Ray Bradbury stories.

Scieszka was nice enough to include a Bradbury short story that I hadn’t read (or at least don’t remember reading) as the last one in this collection. And it was a joy to read the weird, wonderfulness that was Bradbury. This time it was about a planet where, due to the radiation from the sun, humans only lived for 8 days. And one boy’s determination to make it off the planet. Brilliant, and by far my favorite story.

The others weren’t bad, either. I liked Tom Angleberger’s “Rise of the RoboShoes” (with illustrations), and found “The Klack Bros. Museum,” by KEnneth Oppel to be delightfully creepy. “Plan B,” by Rebecca Stead had a great twist on the end, and both “Bouncing the Grinning Goat,” by Shannon Hale and “A Day in the Life” by Shaun Tan were delightful.

Sure, I think Rick Riordan phoned it in for his short story, but it was still cool to read about a Percy/Grover adventure, since it’d been quite a while since I’d read about those two together. There were some that didn’t work for me — most notably “The Scout” by D. J. MacHale — but I guess that’s a side-effect of a collection of stories by multiple authors. There are some you like; there are some that fall flat.

There’s a little something for everyone. But get it for the Bradbury story.

(Just for the record: because this is a Cybils nominee, I’ve been asked to make sure y’all know this is my opinion only, and not that of the panel.)

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