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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Book Briefs: Nina Kiriki Hoffman's Time Travelers, Ghosts, and Other Visitors

Time Travelers, Ghosts, and Other Visitors
Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Gale Group/Five Star

"Toobychubbies" [Alien Abductions, Strange Horizons]  The narrator is in charge of four playdates, babysitting her own and her neighbor's toddlers.  They watch their favorite video, Toobychubbies,  After a while, despite the improved behavior of the kids--"Stay small. Eat less. Play fair. Stay cute. Be good...."--parents are creeped out.  Eventually, the narrator suspects that the newly arrived aliens have a plan.  Perhaps a comment on what we take in for entertainment--no matter how seemingly good.

"Haunted Humans" [F&SF]  In the rather impressive, ambitious novella, nominated for Nebula and Locus awards (it must have been one heck of a year for this not to win), Dorothy Jean Demain or DJ, secretary of a psychologist, gets involved with a client with multiple personalities, Morgan.  Her former boyfriend, Chase Kennedy was a serial killer who has found where she'd been placed in the Witness Protection Program and is chasing after her.  Meanwhile, after getting involved with Morgan, she learns he does not have a true multiple personality disorder.  Rather, he's haunted.  Dead souls come to live in him, including a cop and murder victims.

Chase catches them at a hotel, and DJ and the personalities have to stop him without killing because Chase could inhabit Morgan like the others....

An excellent collection, and this tale seals the deal.  Although the personalities get confusing occasionally and the last line isn't perfect, I keep imagining Hoffman collecting her best works--this among them.  Few books would be able stand up to it.  What a ride.  You've got to read this.

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