Welcome back to the return of Short Story Sunday. I have missed reading short fiction so I will try to do at least 1 short story per week.
"The George Business" by Roger Zelazny
First publication was in Orson Scott Card's "Dragons of Light" anthology in 1980.
"The George Business" is an entertaining, very short, work by Zelazny. A knight and a dragon enter into a mutually beneficial agreement. To say anything else about the plot would ruin the story. Zelazny has written many great short works but this is not what I would consider a classic. Still it is a fun story to read and won't take the reader very long to finish it. Recommended.
"The Birch Clump Cylinder" by Clifford D. Simak
Clifford D. Simak has written many great science fiction stories beginning in 1931 and continuing through the 1980s (he passed away in 1988). I remember enjoying his "City" and "Way Station" in my younger days. In the 1970s, Judy-Lynn del Rey started publishing the "Stellar" series of anthologies as a tribute to Fred Pohl's classic "Star" anthologies. I liked both Pohl's and del Rey's anthologies when I read them in the seventies. This year I have re-collected the "Stellar" series and began re-reading it to see how it held up to the test of time.
"The Birch Clump Cylinder" was the opening story in the first collection. It is competently written but seems to be lacking the magic I found in Simak's earlier work. It had the format of a classic SF story with a strange object appearing and a group trying to determine how it works. Unfortunately Simak did not put much effort into developing the characters. Hopefully the rest of the series holds up better.