In Rip-Off!, 13 of today’s best and most honored writers of speculative fiction face a challenge even they would be hard-pressed to conceive: Pick your favorite opening line from a classic piece of fiction (or even non-fiction) - then use it as the first sentence of an entirely original short story.
In the world of Rip-Off!, "Call me Ishmael" introduces a tough-as-nails private eye - who carries a harpoon; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz inspires the tale of an aging female astronaut who’s being treated by a doctor named Dorothy Gale; and Huckleberry Finn leads to a wild ride with a foul-mouthed riverboat captain who plies the waters of Hell.
Once you listen to Rip-Off! you’ll agree: If Shakespeare or Dickens were alive today, they’d be ripping off the authors in this great collection.
The stories included in Rip-Off! are:
"Fireborn" by Robert Charles Wilson
"The Evening Line" by Mike Resnick
"No Decent Patrimony" by Elizabeth Bear
"The Big Whale" by Allen M. Steele
"Begone" by Daryl Gregory
"The Red Menace" by Lavie Tidhar
"Muse of Fire" by John Scalzi
"Writer’s Block" by Nancy Kress
"Highland Reel" by Jack Campbell
"Karin Coxswain or Death as She Is Truly Lived" by Paul Di Filippo
"The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal
"Every Fuzzy Beast of the Earth, Every Pink Fowl of the Air" by Tad Williams
"Declaration" by James Patrick Kelly
As a bonus, the authors introduce their stories, explaining what they ripped-off - and why.
Rip-Off! was produced in partnership with SFWA - Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Gardner Dozois served as project editor.
The full list of narrators includes: Wil Wheaton, Scott Brick, Christian Rummel, Jonathan Davis, Khristine Hvam, L.J. Ganser, Stefan Rudnicki, David Marantz, Nicola Barber, Dina Pearlman, Allyson Johnson, Marc Vietor, and Ilyana Kadushin.
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By carmen on 04-01-2013
not just for sci-fi fans
What did you love best about Rip-Off!?
The premise is take a classic line from another story and/or plot of another story and make it their own. All the narration was fabulous as well.There is also a forward from each author about this challenge put before them. I enjoyed all the stories but I will focus on my favorites Mike Resnick's "the evening line" where Harry and Benny give us color commentary on which woman is going to relieve Malone of his winnings from the race. Hilarious!! Including Zombies and Mages. Allen Steeles "the Big Whale" Where Captain Ahab's wife contracts Ishmael, a hard boiled private dick, to investigate her husbands lover Moby. The story starts where Ishmael just got back from doing work on the unlawful termination case of Bartleby the Scrivenor, who, when he went to collect payment, said he would prefer not to lol. Paul de philiipo "death as she has truly lived" All I am going to say about that is it's the story of my (after)life. I love Mark Twain and this is quite a different adventure than Huckleberry Finn had. I laughed out loud through the whole story.
What did you like best about this story?
The above mentioned stories were the top three funny stories. I also want to mention how great john scalzi's and James Patrick Kelly's stories. John scalzi usually writes campy sci-fi stories but "muse of fire" was not at all campy. It was very well written and beautifully narrated by Wil Wheaton. This Confirms what I already suspected Scalzi has agreat imagination and ability to let us see that through his storytelling and Wil Wheaton channels that. James patrick Kelly's "declaration" was an interesting twist on the declaration of independence. It took place in a matrix type world. However you can see where this could be our future.People are interacting less and less IRL so there are mandates on how much time you must spend on hard time ( real life). Some people want to declare their indepedence to live life fully in virtual world. It is very heartbreaking.
What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Wil Wheaton's narration of "Muse of Fire" took my breath away. It was stunning. Also I laughed all the way through Dina Pearlmans narration of "Karen Coxswain"
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
"Muse of Fire" was a very moving story. I think it could be about unhealthy or codependant relationships if you want to dig deep into the story. I think I was particularly moved because I did not expect that from Scalzi. Yes he does provoke thought in his novels but they are so fun you just think about it a little and go back to laughing. This story was kind of sad. Also "declaration" moved me because I know someone who lost a brother with a disability and it is both difficult and freeing at the same time so that is very moving.
Any additional comments?
I wanted to mention that I usually buy anthologies to get a sample of different authors so I can see if I want to read more. Although "the red menace" by Lavie Tidhar was not my favorite I did like the way he told the story so I will definitely be looking up other stories by him. This is definitely a great anthology and I think even if sci-fi is not your thing you might still enjoy it because obviously reading is your thing or you wouldn't be in a book club, right.
24 of 25 people found this review helpful
By Jim "The Impatient" on 08-03-2014
I CARRY A HARPOON
Soliloquy On Ducks?
There are some really good stories included in this collection and some really bad stories in my opinion. Having read some of the other reviews, this is a very subjective thing. Some of the stories I thought were horrible, others loved. This is an original anthology, which are never as good as a best of anthology. Don't get me wrong Dozois is the best editor out there and he is a great writer. My theory is when an editor does a original themed collection, then he contracts with writers and gives them the rules. He is not going to insult a popular writer by turning done his story, so he is stuck with whatever he gets. In a best of he choses among stories already written and published. There is one writer included who seems to get in all of these original collections, whose stories are always painful to listen to. I will not mention this writer by name as the last time I did someone, went into my history of reviews and sabotaged me. If you get the collection and you hear a story that includes a soliloquy on ducks in the middle of it, you will know who I am talking about.
One of the best things about anthologies his hearing from authors you have never heard of before. My favorite story was by Mary Robinette Kowal, who I have never heard of before. Her story "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" is a very touching story and is very believable. It touches on some very true subject matters that astronauts may be dealing with in the future. Allen Steele, Tad Williams and Mike Resnick write some very funny stories and these three stories are worth the price of the anthology.
ALMOST BLONDE ANNIE
The Big Whale by Steele is very funny and should by enjoyed by all, but will be especially enjoyable if you have read Moby Dick. HIS MISTAKE WAS, HE BROUGHT A GUN TO A HARPOON FIGHT.
Tad Williams does a rewrite of Genesis, involving God's daughter. Thanks to her trees are upside down, fish swim in the sea and not the ground, etc...
Mike Resnick has some huge LOL moments in his Noir story. In this story the names of the characters are hilarious by themselves. You will meet Almost Blonde Annie, Snake Hips Levine, Loose Lips Sally, Bodacious Belinda. and Bedroom Eyes Bernice just to name a few.
Robert Charles Wilson's story Fireborn is included in Dozois 30th Best of the Year Collection.
Most of the narrators are good, there were a couple I did not care for, but as a whole they were good.
GUNS ARE FOR LOSERS
22 of 23 people found this review helpful