A comic novel of hope and blasphemy

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
144 Pages
Reviewed on 10/09/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I was born in Philadelphia, but moved to California when I was 13. I eventually graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor's degree in Astronomy.

My first short story appeared in 1965, when I was 18 and still in college. Over the next few years more stories appeared. My first job out of college was as a civilian space scientist for the U.S. Navy, but after several years I left to try writing full time.

After several years of genteel poverty, I took a job as writer/editor for a pornographic humor paper, the San Francisco Ball.

At about this time, too, I began selling novels on a regular basis. While I have, from time to time, held down other full-time employment (I helped design the Star Trek: The Next Generation computer game "A Final Unity" for Spectrum HoloByte and have also written manuals and game design documents for Maxis), my real love is fiction writing.

My first wife was fellow author Kathleen Sky. In the 10+ years of our marriage, in addition to our individual works, we collaborated on a pair of stories ("Painting the Roses Red" and "The Devil Behind the Leaves") about the diMedicis, a family of interstellar swindlers. We also co-authored the first edition of the highly successful nonfiction book, The Business of Being a Writer, based on a class we'd taught at California State University at Northridge.

My current wife is fellow author Mary Mason. We currently live east of Oakland, California. So far we've co-authored two books in the Rehumanization of Jade Darcy series: Jade Darcy and the Affair of Honor and Jade Darcy and the Zen Pirates. More books in this series are planned.

I've lived with cats all my adult life. Intellectually, I enjoy Broadway musical albums and surrealist art. I'm also proud to declare myself an atheist.

I served the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as editor of the SFWA Bulletin and as SFWA's Western Regional Director.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Donnie Burgess for Readers' Favorite

Have you ever had that kind of week where your (largely uninsured) home/business burns to the ground, your wife leaves you, and the IRS starts hounding you for back taxes? That’s the kind of week it’s been for Herodotus Shapiro. When he decides to escape to his brother’s house to get his bearings, his car mysteriously stops running and, no surprise, his cell phone is also dead. Stranded alone in the middle of the desert, he approaches the only building in sight: an unlikely, huge mansion that has no earthly reason to be there. He’s greeted by Polly, a beautiful, eccentric girl who has many secrets but very few answers. She seems to be toying with him, but since he’s stuck until his car can be repaired, Herodotus has no choice but to play along with her bizarre games.

Polly! is a wonderfully written story that will leave you smiling. Stephen Goldin weaves a fun and fantastical tale that is witty, clever, and deceptively deep. Polly! has a wonderfully drawn cast of characters whose mysterious motivations and peculiar traits are revealed slowly, drawing you in to find out more. Goldin’s unique writing style allows him to merge playfully blasphemous content with lighthearted humor in a way that doesn’t come across as offensive, but will definitely make you think. If you’re a fan of cheeky humor and don’t mind a bit of sex and sacrilege along the way, Polly! is a story that will keep you hooked from beginning to end.

Steephen Goldin

I'm very proud to have received such an excellent (unpaid) review. Here are some of the other reviews POLLY! has earned:

"All hands on Decalogue! A protagonist readers will find it easy to identify and empathize with, a classic journey story told with wit, wisdom and deceptive ease, and the most interesting guest star ever--what's not to like, here? Perhaps writers who attempt a book like Polly! wanna crack or two across the face for their audacity (to parrot conventional wisdom)--but not if they can manage to pull it off this entertainingly."--Spider Robinson, co-author of Variable Star by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson

"Polly is a book aspiring writers should read just to study the craft. Goldin calls on everything he knows from the silly to the profound to create a story that starts out entertaining and winds up being thought-provoking."--Bill Furlow, Great Books Under $5.

"Fast moving, well-written, tongue-in-cheek dramatic comedy which was so representative of real-life in some aspects, it felt like coming home. I thoroughly enjoyed Polly!"--Red Haircrow, Flying With Red Haircrow.

"Polly! is a quirky contemporary fantasy with a hopeful message... The pacing is smooth, there's never a dull moment, and it's always engaging and unpredictable."--Adarna SF

"The various twists and turns throughout are captivating and the overall effect is well executed. "--Kirsty Hewitt

"Definitely fun. Definitely thought-provoking."--Mary Wood

"Stephen Goldin's POLLY takes on the subject addressed by some of humanity's most sacred tomes, and blows conventional wisdom to smithereens."--T. Jackson King

"I didn't want this book to end. I felt that when I put this down, I lost a friend in Polly. I enjoyed my time with her so much, I stopped reading it, just so I had another day with her. So it seems that Polly not only touches the people written between the cover of the book, but also the people on the outside looking in. This book reaches the top twenty list for me, and comes highly, highly, HIGHLY, recommended by me."--Joe Hempel

"The book is well-written and I did enjoy it... you may very well find you would have liked to spend more time with Polly when it's all over."--David Stockton, Rocky Mountain Reviews

"If I could rate it 6 stars I would!"--Andrew Carlson

"The tale’s riveting...and so well worthy of recommendation."--Clive Johnson

"Polly is interesting, insightful, irreverent and thought provoking."--Tracy Riva

"I can't tell you how many times I giggled as the protagonist... navigates his way out of personal tragedy into a Kafhaesque situation..."--Anna Erishkigal