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Cigar-Box Faust: and Other Miniatures    by Michael Swanwick order for
Cigar-Box Faust
by Michael Swanwick
Order:  USA  Can
Tachyon, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Science fiction author Michael Swanwick has taken the term short story to a whole new level in his collection, Cigar-Box Faust and Other Miniatures. Stories in the anthology range from three pages all the way down to only three lines. No matter the length, all the stories present a slightly-off sense of humor that makes them a delight to read.

The title piece is a performance piece (for a cigar, cigar cutter, and a book of matches) that reduces the famous Faustian legend down to only three pages. Other offerings include short, crytic writings that the author penned in his sleep, 'An Abecedary of the Imagination' containing a story for every letter of the alphabet, and 'The Mask' which was originally written on a mask. Not only does Swanwick present his short stories, he also has a section, 'Brief Essays,' devoted to non-fiction. These personal musings and anecdotes proved to be just as much fun, if not more so, as their fictional counterparts.

The shortness of the stories and Swanwick's humor make Cigar-Box Faust and Other Miniatures such an enjoyable read. Swanwick captures the reader's attention with his unbelievable imagination and keeps them reading with his flowing, engaging style. Each miniature is like a little guilty pleasure, that makes you want more.

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