Rejiggering the Thingamajig

by Eric James Stone

Reviewed by Scott T. Barnes


Rejiggering the Thingamajig is one of the most entertaining and diverse short story anthologies I have read in a long time. It includes the Nebula award winning story "That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made" and 23 other stories.

The fact that every story appeared elsewhere, and most in prestigious venues, is a good sign that someone besides the author thought they were pretty good. Seven appeared in the oldest and probably widest circulation English language science fiction magazine Analog Science Fiction and Fact, six appeared in Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, one of the major online magazines, and the rest are from a smattering of different magazines, including two from the Writers of the Future anthology. Stone won this prestigious contest in 2004.

For me the highlights of the collection are the bookends "Rejiggering the Thingamajig" and "That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made". "Rejiggering" is about a genetically engineered tyrannosaurus that has to make a repair to an interplanetary teleportation device, without knowing a thing about it. I laughed out loud several times, noting that each comical situation actually complicated the dinosaur's quest still further. By the end I became convinced it couldn't possibly resolve well.

"That Leviathan" is in a completely different tone, delving into more--and more profound--themes than the average novel trilogy. It takes place within the sun where scientists have discovered plasma life forms, and a Mormon missionary attempts to convince them to accept human-style moral codes of behavior. It raises many questions, and answers enough to be satisfying.

Stone writes with a straightforward style, more reminiscent of Issac Asimov than Ray Bradbury. Appropriately enough, a flash fiction story "The Greatest Science Fiction Story Ever Written" is Stone's tribute to Asimov. If you are looking for a modern collection of Golden Age-style gems, this is a good place to start.