Dang y'all, Cassadandra saw a lot and boy howdy is it funny AND enlightening.
The best book about a utopia that doesn't turn out to be about a dystopia.
We read this book every year, and every year we are tickled anew. We laugh even though we anticipate it and we laugh at new moments despite knowing it nearly by heart. We do this because it lives in the Venn diagram of all of our favorite things. And we believe you ought to join us. For the person that likes their funny bone to be destroyed but also their brain bone and sometimes both at the same time.
I’ll tell ya straight, these stories are beautiful and life altering in the best of ways. Don’t believe me? Need proof? Okay, pal, prepare to be devastated. Head on over to Levar Burton’s podcast (Levar Burton Reads) and let him read the titular story to you. You’re welcome. For the person who refuses to acknowledge emotions and needs them pulled out of them with great effort.
What can be said about this book that hasn’t already been shouted from the mountaintops? Probably nothing. But look, it’s just that good. Never have I seen such a unique exploration of the mundane with such a wild perspective. His upcoming book continues this superhuman ability as well. The only contemporary equivalent I can think of is Charles Yu. I love ’em both but I can only have four picks so you’ll have to accept this stealth five pick. I’m a man of indulgence; I make no apologies. For the person who’s worked retail their entire life and can nod along knowingly.
You may have noticed that I frequently suggest short stories. Yes, I’m that guy. However, one might argue that the short story is so difficult to fully realize and encapsulate (second only to the novella) that you might wonder how anyone can do it. Now imagine you do so with wit and brevity. Such are the makings of all the stories within this collection. For the person who loves short stories (hey, let’s be friendos) and loves introducing a writer most don’t know about.
Read it to supplement the show or your brain. It's funny and worth it, mannnnnn.
The kitchen sink approach to sci-fi. It's as if the writer thought they might never get another chance so they decided to cram in every single creative idea they've ever had into one book. The fact that it is not only readable but a bit of a masterful intricacy is evidence of a great writer. Hecko just give it a shot.
A beautiful story about the nature of reality, control/corruption and the pursuit of a better life. All told with such brevity and class you wonder if it's some kind of concentrated fever dream you once had. Or a nightmare. One of my favorites and always worth revisiting every year.
What if (analogs of) Scooby and the gang disbanded after a horrific incident that forever damaged them? And what if the event that broke them turned out to be a real, supernatural threat previously thought a hoax? Years later, their youth having turned to crippling adulthood, the gang reconnects to fix themselves and, quite possibly, the world. Welcome to the hilarious (and often disturbing) mind of Edgar Cantero.
These stories are so funny, so delightful, so inspired that I wish Charles Yu was my friend just so I can confirm he's human and not some kind of god of the short story. If he's a minor diety I'll accept that. Also I'm definitely not jealous. Probably.