The Perseids and Other Stories de Robert Charles Wilson

de Robert Charles Wilson - Género: English
libro gratis The Perseids and Other Stories


Robert Charles Wilson's time has come. His first novel from Tor, Darwinia, was a finalist for science fiction's Hugo award, and a #1 Locus bestseller in paperback. His next novel, Bios, is a critical and commercial success. Now Wilson's brilliant short science fiction is available in book form for the first time.

Beginning with "The Perseids," winner of Canada's national SF award, this collection showcases Wilson's suppleness and strength: bravura ideas, scientific rigor, and living, breathing human beings facing choices that matter. Also included among the several stories herein are the acclaimed Hugo Award finalist "Divided by Infinity" and three new stories written specifically for this collection.

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“There are greater and lesser worlds, Jacob, nested inside one another Russian dolls. But everything is organic, in the end. Everything lives, eats, hunts, dies. That’s what the universe is.”

What a fabulous collection! Mostly horror, with a tinge of sci-fi and magical realism but so full of emotions. Life, love, sorrow, death and magic are mingled in the characters’ paths which, tangential or not, are drawn toward an old bookshop no other, called Finders. Old books, fake books, books from alternate realities, science books – each and everyone of them leaves its marks and shape the future of anyone who stumbles upon them. And the librarians too, for good or for worse.

Between the layers of supernatural events, every character is trying to find out their inner self, to right their wrongs or find the meaning of their life and the universe.

I spent almost the entire afternoon trying to gather words to live up to its grace and elegance, but I failed. RCW’s writing is too beautiful and nothing I’d say would make it justice.

One of the stories, Divided by Infinity , is available on Tor.com. Give it a try, if you will, and keep in mind that the others are even more exquisite.

Highly recommended for everyone.anthologies-collections horror magical-realism ...more19 s Ron263 6

I am a little disappointed with these 9 longer length short stories. I've read at least 8 of Wilson's novels including 5 this year and they all have been good to great. I thought that several of these shorter works just don't measure up. Wilson is good at dreaming up big ideas in his novels and he has some big ideas here, but in this mix of horror and science fiction and a little dark fantasy and mainstream storytelling several of his proposals just come off as completely illogical and stupid. It is too bad because the writing here is excellent. Excellent as if you were reading a bit of literature, and the stories pull you in - it's just that some (most??) of these are just, let me say, crazy ideas as they play out.

Example? In 'The Perseids' a young woman gets preggers by an alien by absorbing static from satellite TV. There's more to it of course, and , it is draped with a bunch of drug mumbo jumbo that has nothing to do with anything, but that is the gist of it. That might have passed muster on an episode of "The Outer Limits" in the early 60's or the reboot but I expect a lot more from Wilson. The story that followed that, 'The Inner Inner City' played out as a dark fantasy/psychological thriller set in Toronto that kept my interest until a pretty unsatisfying end.

To be fair there are some very good stories in here as well as the creepy and weird. 5 s Janice910 9

I generally quite Robert Charles Wilson's books. But I found this collection a little dark and gloomy for my taste.

The writing was fine. Toronto figures prominently in the stories, and there are themes and characters that you see more than once. All that was fine, and I kinda d it.

I just found the stories gloomy and/or depressing. Nothing wrong with that per se, but my dog's sick and I don't need gloomy stories right now.

But read these and make your own judgement. Just don't read them when your dog's sick. :(scribd x20182 s Gendou605 313

This is a gloomy collection of short stories, loosely tied together. I this sort of anthology, and find it particularly well fit for science fiction. But these stories are all quite far out, to say the least! Topics ambitiously tackled include aliens that travel across space as light, a pill that makes you king of the insects, a woman impregnated by a rock-based life form, many worlds quantum immortality, alien abduction, and drug induced insanity. But most of these stories distracted me with inconsistencies.

I might as well go through them all:

The Fields of Abraham
The mechanism for goring between parallel universes seems to be a trance state. It isn't explained why or how the mind can produce this effect. You have to call this a fantasy story, because, other than some science buzz words, it takes no though to understand the magical gimmick.

The Perseids
This girl gives birth to an alien because she watched static cosmic noise on a TV and took drugs. It makes sense for aliens to send them selves, or their even their germ out thought the cosmos as light. But it doesn't make sense that they'd be able to hack into a girl's uterus through a TV, but be limited in doing so by the ingestion one particular neurotransmitter. This is another magic gimmick that takes no brains to understand, and so it completely fails as science fiction. Miserably. In fact, since before I read this story, I've been working on a short story where an alien travels to Earth as a digital intelligence, encoded in light. It's a cool idea. Too bad Wilson didn't do it justice.

The Inner Inner City
This is a good example of aliens without a purpose. The only purpose the aliens have is to spook out the characters in the story. They have no origin, motivation, or even description, except for the color of their eyes. I guess the thing that bothered me about this story is that the premise was stupid. The guy can't seem to see the center of the city, it's hidden in plain site. It's a spooky concept, but not enough for the premise of a whole story.

The Observer
Same story as before, aliens that go through walls ghosts, and abduct some teenage girl and Edwin Hubble. What?! Exactly. There was some attempt to explain the aliens as coming from the end of time, and they're lonely, so... abduct little girls? Yes. *Sigh*

Protocols of Consumption
I guess some no-good teens take a drug that makes insects crawl all over them. Now, it's true that insects react to pheromones. But that one particular drug would contain a pheromone which makes all insects exhibit the same exact behavior; to crawl all over the source, without stinging or biting, in close quarter with a million others on every square inch of human skin, is just ridiculous. The whole POINT of pheromones is to identify between things; between species, genders, etc. Add to it that there is no reason why evolution would produce any such "gather and scurry around, patiently" reaction to any pheromone in any species of insect. Wilson really missed the ball on this one. I think he just took to many drugs himself, and imagined bugs crawling on his skin.

Ulysses Sees the Moon in the Bedroom Window
Chick buys a rock, which is to a human in intelligence as a human is to a cat. I'm not kidding. Wilson seems unwilling to give any personality to extra terrestrials, and it shows here, because the alien has all the charisma of - you guessed it - a rock. But seriously, the mystical implications in this story really rub me the wrong way. The guy is given a "scrying rock" and told to close his eyes while he holds it. He has a moment of clarity while he's sitting there, quietly, with his eyes closed. Then, at the end of the story, it is implied that the rock influenced him in some unseen way. This is total bullshit. Sitting quietly and contemplating one's life works. Magic rocks don't.

Plato's Mirror
There's some magic mirror that shows your reflection as an angel or demon or some shit. To be honest, I tuned this one out. It was lame. And sad.

Divided by Infinity
This story is about one man's quantum immortality. This is a bastardization of the many worlds interpretation, where you can do dangerous things, and know that in some possible universe, you will be saved from death. Then, just add the unjustified postulate that your consciousness continues on into those futures where you're still alive. With this sort of immortality, Russian roulette is as safe as a tickle fight. The protagonist just keeps on getting lucky, and as he does, the world keeps getting weirder, to accommodate his ever increasing unlihood. It's not very well executed. For a better go at quantum immortality, check out Greg Egan.

Pearl Baby
I kid you not, this chick gives birth to a rock that sprouts arms and goes to join with it's kind in the ground under of her basement. First of all, yuck. Second, how did it get there? What has she been doing with rocks she finds on the ground?! Third, if it's made of silicate, how did it grow inside a human womb? Nothing in this story makes any sense. As soon as I turned off my brain, reading it stopped hurting me.fiction science-fiction2 s Geraud379 8

Recueil de nouvelles de SF cérébrale et intellos que j'ai trouvé très inspirées de Paul Auster et de Raymond Carver, ce n'est donc sans doute pas un hasard si le personnage principal de l'une des nouvelle a pour nom Carver. Je pense même que "la ville dans la ville" ressemble très très fortement au premier roman de la Trilogie New-yorkaise de Paul Auster.
Donc on rencontre beaucoup de gens intelligents qui bossent dans une université et qui sont malheureux, qui sont dépressifs, qui chopent un cancer, qui divorcent parce que voilà. C'est déjà un cliché qui m'énerve chez Paul Auster, alors je ne l’apprécie pas dans une nouvelle de SF.
Pour ce qui est de la structure, les nouvelles commencent donc comme un roman de Paul Auster ou une nouvelle de Raymond Carver, et puis a un moment ça semble partir en cacahuète.... Pan ! c'est la SF ! Parfois c'est très confus, Et j'ai eu l'impression que c'était un peu bâclé, que la SF était ajoutée en plus.
Voilà la deuxième œuvre de Robert Charles Wilson que j'essaie et j'ai été déçu les deux fois.2 s JohnAuthor 338 books173

I've read and never less than enjoyed (more usually been bowled over by) several of Wilson's novels but not encountered his short fiction before. This is his first and so far only collection -- nine tales, most of novelette length -- and it most assuredly doesn't disappoint.

If there's a weak story at all it's the last one in the book, "Pearl Baby", which was as elegantly and movingly written as all the others, but with a premise which failed to convince me and a denouement that didn't (as I'd anticipated it would) resolve that problem. But the remaining eight are of such a standard that it's hard to know where to begin in describing them; to try to select standouts among them would be futile. There are shared characters and background elements among the stories, most notably a second-hand bookshop called Finders whose proprietor is in some way beyond the merely human, but these details (as Wilson cheerily admits in his Afterword) aren't consistent and shouldn't be regarded as too important.

To my mind a more significant shared characteristic seems to be that all of Wilson's narrators/viewpoint characters are, to a greater or lesser extent, broken, incomplete, flawed characters -- their flaws in several instances, such as "Plato's Mirror", being a mainspring of the plot. In "The Observer" (the only UFO-related story I have ever read that I can remember much enjoying) there's no reason for us to believe that the narrator is flawed beyond her belief that she must be; in a sense the story is about her slowly learning -- thanks to the intervention of Edwin Hubble, of all people! -- that she isn't.

For most of Wilson's protagonists here, however, the discovery they make is that they have cause for even greater despair. They lose rather than gain loved ones. They lose what they'd believed to be the stability in their lives. In "The Inner Inner City" a transcendent being of some undefined kind, passing as human, takes it upon itself to steal the narrator's wife through plunging the narrator into a sort of spiritual quest -- obsession, really -- involving urban cartography: the search for that heart of a city which no map shows. Yet our narrator is able to place this heart on  the map he compiles, and even finds his way into "the inner inner city", half-realizing that it's a trap even as he does so:

What Michelle hadn't said, what Michelle hadn't guessed and Dierdre hadn't figured out, was that a temporal deity, even a minor and malevolent one, must own all the maps, all the ordinary and the hidden maps, all the blueprints and bibles and Baedekers of all the places that are or might be or have ever been.

As always, Wilson's writing is exquisite, his voice calm and restrained even when -- as in a couple of these stories -- the events are feverish. A wonderful collection.2 s Mike991 16

None of these stories are bad but only about three were ones I really enjoyed.1 Alecia547 20

I have enjoyed several of Wilson's novels, but this short story collection reads an exorcism of a midlife crisis. I would describe it as indulgently fatalistic science fiction horror. All but two of the protagonists are middle aged men, with the exception of two middle aged women. They all share a discomfort with themselves and a dissatisfaction with their lives, and all suffer the fates of curious cats. There are some interesting ideas here, but none of it was any fun. And if recreational reading isn't fun, what's the point?1 Lutin8244 13

Les Perséides sont un phénomène bien connu et très apprécié puisqu’il s’agit de la pluie de météorites survenant en août depuis bien des siècles, aussi appelée la pluie d’étoiles filantes. Au vu de la nature science-fictive des récits de Robert Charles Wilson, un tel titre n’étonne pas. En revanche, je m’interrogeais sur ce qui pouvait bien se cacher dans la queue de la comète. Des extraterrestres ? des légendes associées à ce spectacle magnifique et merveilleux ?

En fait, l’auteur nous propose d’en explorer une bonne partie avec des légendes urbaines de son cru, des phénomènes étranges, des extra-terrestres, mais surtout l’homme sous de multiples facettes, pluie d’étoiles plus ou moins filantes en soi.

Toronto, et principalement la librairie Finders, sont mis en lumière dans ce recueil de Robert Charles Wilson, tout autant comme unité de lieu que révélateur de l’âme humaine. En effet, celle-ci, cœur et constante de l’œuvre de l’auteur canadien, bénéficie, ici, d’un bel écrin pour souligner sa complexité et sa vulnérabilité à travers des textes fantastiques parfois, angoissants toujours.

Observateurs, observés sont l’autre point commun de ce recueil permettant de relever ou de provoquer les errements de l’esprit…s’ils en sont.

Critique plus compléte sur mon blog avec le détail des 9 nouvelles au sommaire du recueil1 Jennifer90 7

Oooooooh, what a treat this little collection of stories is. I haven't read much sci-fi, but was delighted at the natural flow of Wilson's writing, the believability of his characters, and the cleverness (but not arrogantly so) of his ideas. A week after reading it I still find myself fascinated with little details from his stories such as his reimagining of the chessboard into a spherical shape (I explained it to my mom by using Pac Man as an analogy: When Pac Man goes off the right side of the screen, he reappears on the left because he went around in a circle), and his idea of a metaphysical cartography leading to an "Inner" inner city, a hidden part of the city of Toronto that one may reach only from walking around in a dream state.

All of the stories take place in Toronto where Wilson grew up and I really the continuity of setting and the reappearance of certain characters and places from story to story, such as the used bookstore "Finders" where customers often stumble upon more than they bargained for.

A fun, fun read for a stormy night by a truly intuitive, masterful writer.sci-fi short-stories1 John282 66

At some point during each of the stories in this collection, there was a moment where I stopped reading, looked up, and said to no one in particular “this is why I love science fiction.”

Having said that, many of the stories (all but three, I think), adhere to a pretty standard formula: first person narrative (usually a middle-aged man who is overly-fond of marijuana with a younger love interest), an antagonist – often a competing interest for the girl – espousing some sort of weird, sometimes new-agey idea that the story ends up being about. But Wilson is an author whose content is so thoughtful and nuanced that any stylistic quirks (I wouldn’t go so far as to call them faults) fade into the background.

For my money, the best stories in the collection (i.e. the ones you simply must read) are: “The Fields of Abraham”, “The Observer”, and “Protocols of Consumption”.

sf-fantasy short_stories1 Mendousse234 4

Robert Charles Wilson. What else ?1 Geoff687 39

This short story collection from Robert Charles Wilson was a very disappointing read.

I've been a fan of Wilson for awhile (Spin, The Chronoliths, and Darwinia being my favourites), but these stories didn't have any of the big ideas that are present in those novels. Also, many of the main characters that he uses in these stories are dislikable. It was hard to make a strong connection to any of them.

This won't deter me from seeking out his future novels but I'm glad these stories weren't my introduction to him.

Not applicable to this collection
canadian collection science-fiction1 Ryan1,059

A short story collection, loosely connected, and mostly set in Toronto. A little creepier than I expected. You can see the seeds of Spin and Burning Paradise here. My favorite story was the opening one, which took a turn I didn't expect. Earl Truss317 2

I his novels more than the short stories but most of the stories were enjoyable as well. These stories have common characters running through them even though the plots were quite different. It was a bit disconcerting. Michael141

Something about Wilson's writing is compulsively readable to me, even if some of these stories and concepts are quite "out there," as others have described. I especially enjoyed three or four of these, most notably "Divided by Infinity." Brian Gaston508 2

Wilson doesn't seem to write many short stories but he does a good job when he does.science-fiction Richard Howard1,408 9

A collection of interesting stories by a writer I only encountered recently. The writing is accomplished and stories are never dull, but none particularly gripped me either.read-2023 James Bowman1,076 6

A very satisfying collection from Robert Charles Wilson- even if the blurb was leading me to expect something more towards the sf side of things than horror...

I'll go story by story.

"The Fields of Abraham" - Interesting. Not much else to say about it.

"The Perseids" - Very scary, and Lovecraftian in tone- in fact, I believe I might have read it first in a Lovecraftian horror collection of some sort, as it was vaguely familiar. Plus it has some fascinating thoughts on the purpose of life on Earth...

"The Inner Inner City" - Very interesting, with an impending sense of doom that even the narrator acknowledges. They never did quite establish what John Carver was, although I bet Deirdre's theory was the closest.

"The Observer" - A very interesting alien-abduction story, with an interesting set of real-life characters.

"Protocols of Consumption" - Very creepy, felt something I would've seen on Tales from the Darkside back when I was little. Then again, bugs are good for that...

"Ulysses Sees the Moon in the Bedroom Window" - Short, sweet, and excellent- nicely subtle ending that took me a minute to get.

"Plato's Mirror" - The idea of "seeing what reality is truly would not be pleasant" has been done plenty in Cthulhu Mythos fiction, but it was executed pretty well here.

"Divided by Infinity" - Probably my favorite story in the book- fun with probability, ideas traveling through time, alternate realities and discontinuities. The idea that the weirder and more interesting your life is, the more improbable you yourself have become, is fascinating.

"Pearl Baby" - I didn't actually this one as much as the others. Then again, he did say he wrote it just before the book went to print...

General comments - the collection makes you think. But the blurb really ought to indicate the horror elements better- I was expecting a straightforward sf anthology- but I sure wasn't disappointed. Did notice some common themes- namely the main characters being mostly males who are either divorced or ruining their relationships (romantic or familial) with women. Also, said women often falling prey to some otherworldly forces that the man is powerless to stop. Sounds to me he's working some issues out.

I was also delighted to see the interconnections appearing between the works as I read them, which was confirmed in the afterword. Last time I felt that thrill was while checking out some Wold-Newton type stuff online.

In any case, I highly recommend this collection to anyone fascinated with the possibilities and dangers of both science and the unknown that lies beyond it. Mike644

This book was a re-read for me. It is a good few years since I read this and since then I have read a number of Philip K. Dick novels and these story reminded me of his work. I don't know if it was the background of a mild drug culture or if is the style of the stories that caused this.

The collection is a very loosely linked stories. Some characters appear in multiple stories, the book shop Finders is mentioned in nearly all of them and all (except 1)set in Toronto.

Having said all this did I it? Yes. Did I love it as a re-read? No, although I did when I originally read it. I found none of the stories outstanding, but none were bad either. Cae HawksmoorAuthor 17 books7

As with most collections of shorts--some of the stories here were incredible, while others failed to move me. In general, I found the stories at the start of the collection much more engaging while the ones towards the end left me more cold. Especial kudos needs to go to ‘Fields of Abraham’ and ‘Inner Inner City’, however, both of which blew my mind and made me fall horribly in love.

I can’t think of anyone else that writes Wilson. Even with the stories I didn’t care for, I loved the combination of everyday humanity, profound spiritual insight, and horrors lurking just behind the veil. Jeannie Miller 126 7 Read

I read these stories to Aviva in installments over the last couple of years. Wilson is one of my very favorite SF authors for his big ideas, his knack for the truly weird, his usually strong characters, and his ability to spin a page-turning yarn. These loosely interrelated stories, all set in Toronto, are compelling and often downright creepy.prose-fiction Brad114 1 follower

Found this in a used bookstore for a couple of bucks. As I catch up on my Robert Charles Wilson this book serves as a midpoint between The Chronoliths and The Bridge of Years that I already read and Spin, Axis and Vortex that I am going to read next.

A decent collection of short stories, some more interesting than others. scifi Jonathan Appleton187

This is a pretty good collection of short stories. You can really tell that the germination of a lot of RCWs ideas germinated here. His eyes for the alternate universe, the post-apocalyptic world and the search for the unknown is represented well. Some of the stories are fives and some are three, but this is a good collection. Dan125

I only read the first two stories. I really the novels I've read by Wilson, but I was disappointed by these two stories--they both felt incomplete.

Wilson's new novel Spin is a very good coming-of-age with aliens story. NOTE FOR NERDS: The author is the father of Dwight from the Office. Tyler725 14

Robert Charles Wilson is becoming my new favourite author and this, a collecting of short stories set in Toronto with linking characters and places, doesn't disappoint. Wilson has a knack for creating an interesting and original storyline, and as usual his prose is an easy read. michelle346 11 Read

10/11/072007 Andrew122 14

The Perseids is a modern Lovecraft tale, with other sci-fi themes deftly woven into it. Marilyn58

Short stories but a page turner. I couldn't put it down once started, and read on into the night. As a Sci Fi it was great reading. Jada Roche249 3

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