DANCING WITH BEARS By Michael Swanwick

About a month ago I posted a review of Michael Swanwick’s The Postutopian Adventures of Darger and Surplus (you can read that review here). Darger and Surplus are con-artists who live in a future where technology is strictly controlled because Artificial Intelligences revolted and nearly destroyed humanity. The Danger and Surplus stories have a bit of a steampunk feel to them as a result.

Darger is a Brit who can fade into any crowd unnoticed. Surplus is a talking and walking dog who has been genetically modified. The Postutopian Adventures of Darger and Surplus collected Swanwick’s short stories about the duo. In Dancing With Bears (2011), Darger and Surplus are pretending to be part of an diplomatic mission from the Caliph of Baghdad to the Duke of Muscovy who rules what remains of Moscow. The mission is to deliver a “priceless gift” which is actually a harem of beautiful women.

But, of course, the mission is derailed by spies, Secret Police, and a sinister ploy by AIs who survived the War. Both Darger and Surplus contend with brushes with death as Moscow swirls out of control. If you’re looking for a Summer page-turner, Dancing With Bears will send you to Siberia. GRADE: A-

2 thoughts on “DANCING WITH BEARS By Michael Swanwick

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    I’m a big fan of Michael Swanwick I’ve read all the stories and both novels featuring these two’s exploits and enjoyed them a lot. They remind me a little of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and Grey Mouser tales although those were fantasy not sf.

    1. george Post author

      Steve, you’re right about the resemblance Darger and Surplus have to Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. Swanwick creates a convincing post-utopian world full of surprises! I’m looking forward to reading Chasing the Phoenix later this Summer.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *