Reviews of Alpha Ralpha Boulevard (1961)
Review by clong (2006-10-29)
After centuries of working to "perfect" man's life, the Instrumentality has finally come to the conclusion that in doing so they have more or less ruined it. So in one fell swoop people awaken to find their lives filled with previously unknown variety, danger, surprise, unpredictability, etc. This is the story of two of them, Paul and Virginia, who find themselves suddenly French and in love.
Alpha Ralpha Boulevard is at times funny, profound, eerie, scary, and sad. As always Smith seamlessly weaves together the fantastic and the everyday. I love the very funny scene set in a cafe called The Greasy Cat. And the scene when they finally meet the computerized oracle and receive their predictions is stunning.
This amazing tour de force is one of my all time top 10 short stories.