by George Saunders

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Review

George Saunders’ book of short stories, Tenth of December, is a collection of ten short stories of varying levels of interest. I found several of these stories to be very good, as a fan of science fiction and social commentary. Most of the stories reminded me very much of Kurt Vonnegut’s style, with a bit more violence and shock value. Vonnegut tends to have a gentler tone to his works, though is generally just as critical of human nature. Both authors seem to enjoy including some surprise twist near the end of each story, and make use of science fiction as a commentary on current society. While Vonnegut’s short stories are often set in the past, Saunders tends to create futuristic or alternate present pieces. He'll suddenly interrupt a very ordinary setting or situation with something completely foreign to our world. My favorites were Victory Lap, Escape from Spiderhead, and The Semplica Girl Diaries, in that order. Saunders’ satire, again like Vonnegut’s, tends to follow certain themes. He also uses some interesting styles of narration depending on the character. Overall, I enjoyed the satire very much, though I found a couple of the stories to be a bit slow at times.

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