The Ant King: And Other Stories - Benjamin Rosenbaum The eponymous first story in The Ant King almost made me stop reading. It's a far too self-conscious, self-referential retelling of the Persephone myth; and there are several more in this collection that were similarly annoying but there are also some extraordinarily clever ones that saved this book for me (I downloaded a free version from some website many months ago so the edition represented above is for aesthetic reasons - I hate the blank, generic thumbnails otherwise).

The first story in the "saving" category is "Biographical Notes to `A Discourse on the Nature of Causality, with Air-Planes,' by Benjamin Rosenbaum," set in an alternate universe where Hinduism forms the underpinnings of the world's civilization.

Other 3+ and above starred entries:

"Start the Clock" - A world where people can stop their physiological aging at any point in their lives. The story is about a Nine who has to reconsider the costs and benefits of being prepubescent for life.

"Embracing-the-New" - A story about an alien species that ensures continuity of memory and personality with symbionts (like the Trill of "Star Trek: Deep Space 9" but better written).

"The Book of Jashar" - A "lost" book of the Hebrew/OT Bible that tells the story of David and Jonathan from the Philistine's point of view.

"Other Cities" - This is an anthology-within-the-anthology, being made up of 1-3 page vignettes about various cities. Some of the stories work, others don't, but the former outweigh the latter.

"Sense and Sensibility" is an homage to Jane Austen. I confess to never having read Ms. Austen so I was largely blind to that aspect of the tale but I did enjoy it.

The final story, "A Siege of Cranes," is an at times gruesome fantasy about a man attempting to avenge the slaughter of his family and village. It's a fairy tale but the ending is unsparing and definitely not "happily ever after."

Overall: I'm not going to rush out and buy all things "Rosenbaum" but I'm open to reading more of his stuff if opportunity puts it in my way.