Reviews of Is That What People Do? (1984)
Review by clong (2006-03-31)
This is a pretty mixed bag of a collection from Robert Sheckley. In general the “Vintage Sheckley” stories (generally, but not always earlier stories) are quite good and on occasion great. They are witty, playful, and funny (sometimes light humor and sometimes dark humor). “A Wind Is Rising,” a tale about a pair of observers on an alien world sho encounter a fierce storm, is perhaps the only “pure” scifi tale in the bunch. The “Uncollected Sheckley” stories (generally, but not always, later stories) left me disappointed. These tales tended to reflect a 60s era obsession with sex and drugs.
My favorites were “The Mnemone,” a story about a repressive future society that tries to repress literature; “The Native Problem,” a story about a group of settlers who have a hard time believing that the person who greets them upon arrival at their new planet could also be from Earth; “Seventh Victim,” a story about a future where people sign up to play a murder tournament game; and “Can You Feel Anything When I Do This?” which tells of a sophisticated vacuum cleaner who falls in love with a housewife.