Barry Longyear:City of Baraboo

Barry Longyear was the first author to win the SF Triple Crown--the Hugo and the Nebula for his short story "Enemy Mine", and the John W. Campbell award for best new writer. (I believe William Gibson is the only one to do it since, but I could be wrong.)

Among his other early short stories were his Circus World stories. They've been collected in two or three books that I know of; City of Baraboo is the first chronologically.

The circus in the book is much like circuses today, so it's educational about what circuses are really like. The twist is that the circus decides to leave Earth and tour other worlds, so it acquires, though quasi-legal means, the ship of the title. (Baraboo was apparently the name of the city where the Barnum & Bailey circus started, or some such thing.)

The stories sometimes lack punch, but the last two make up for that. The alien race depicted in "Sweet Revenge" are quite interesting, as is how they are outwitted at their own game. And the final story is the first without a happy ending, but it segues into the Circus World itself...more than that would be a spoiler.

I'd give it a 7.5/10, and someday I'll have to hunt down the other books in the series.

%A Longyear, Barry B.
%T City of Baraboo
%I Berkley
%C New York
%D July 1980
%G ISBN 0-425-04940-X
%P 214 pp.
%S Circus World
%O Paperback, US $2.25

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