'So much SF is cartoon-like and two-dimensional that it's a pleasure to come across a book as thoughtfully written as Lisa Tuttle's new book of stories. Tuttle manages to combine the restless, biting curiosity of a natural SF writer with an ability to project a real feeling.
The stories in A Spaceship Built of Stone are not dramatic but rhetorical in form, the way intellectual SF used to be thirty years ago. Her protagonists are copywriters, journalists, scholars, academics, space pilots, in wholly recognizable worlds where one major thing of scientific import has changed. Each story is constructed around an urgent question (belief or biology?), prompted by feminism, expounded in dialogue, and wearing lightly the generic trappings of SF.
Far from misty-eyed visions of future matriarchies, but a look, alternately sad and chilling, at humanity's worst tendencies taken to their logical conclusions.
Tuttle creates out of a genuinely strange imagination...'The Bone Flute', literally haunting, is possibly the best of its kind that I have read. 'The Family Monkey,' in style reminiscent of John Fowles or Lawrence Durrell but without the humour which should be implicit in multiple viewpoint, is successful and intriguing...the whole book is very readable and not crippled by its politics, which are largely the point
A Spaceship Built of Stone provides both intelligence and the sort of relief we can only expect from short stories in this age of massive novels and trilogies which, like meat, are sold by the pound. Tuttle's stories are restrained, measured, and without fuss, and when they work, as they do in 'Birds of the Moon' and 'Wives,' they allow us time to think for ourselves... Though Tuttle's stories often make obvious concessions to a very commercial genre, she still manages to exploit, and sometimes even illuminate, the quietly exemplary moments of modern life'
These are short stories showing great invention, tension and excitement with a serious side, too.
A collection of considerable merit. Whether fantasy or science fiction, Tuttle's stories generally centre on derangements within family units. Her touch is deft, chilly, exact. 'Wives' is a brilliant feminist parable told in terms of the strictest science fiction, while 'Birds of the Moon,' even harsher, plays adroitly with a looser frame of reference. . . nothing in this careful selection from a decade's work is less than absorbing.
Lisa Tuttle's short stories have a way of lingering long after you've read them - and here are ten (SF, fantasy, mainstream, horror) all written with the delicacy and precision one expects. If you like your fiction intelligent and well crafted you'll enjoy this.
Tuttle is at her best as a short story writer. The power and sheer quality of her work are unmistakable on every page . . . This is a highly recommended volume