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Reviewed by A. L. Peevey for Readers' Favorite
Talk to a Real, Live Girl And Other Stories by Paul Clayton is a short collection of light sci-fi tales. The flagship story is Talk to a Real, Live Girl. Disillusioned with the extreme societal and political changes on Earth and a ruined relationship, Alex leaves home to work at a mine on Kratos, a distant planet. Kratos also offers some free time diversions, one being particularly appealing to men far from home; robot females who are perfect and always willing. Alex has no real interest in them, despite his loneliness. Then, one day he meets Traci, a “real, live” girl. Do Alex and Traci have any real hope of a future together? In the next story, The Lawn, Bob Hanlon struggles mightily to come to terms with his forced retirement and the strange presence that seems to have taken up residence in his overgrown yard. In the third story, Happy Acres, a couple finds their new life on Mars less perfect than what they had been promised. Finally, the first two chapters of a novel-in-progress about the fabled Lost Colony of Roanoke complete this collection of stories.
In Talk to a Real, Live Girl And Other Stories by Paul Clayton, readers find entertaining stories that almost read like episodes of beloved classic sci-fi TV series. The main story, a poignant tale of loss, new possibilities, and adventure, makes some subtle, near humorous observations about contemporary American society and what the future could hold. The other two stories, while lighter fare and shorter, are no less interesting. These stories are a quick, enjoyable read, and Paul Clayton has a talent for immersing readers almost immediately in their narrative, including the bonus chapters at the end. Any message the author is trying to convey does not get in the way of the basic flow of the stories, which is a desirable feature. He also draws attention to other stories he has written, and readers will find themselves willing to invest time in reading these.