WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #5: FAR FROM HOME By Walter Tevis

Walter Tevis is receiving renewed interest because of the Netflix series, The Queen’s Gambit, which is based on his novel of the same name. I’ve had Tevis’s short story collection on my shelf for decades so I decided to read Far From Home (1981). “Rent Control” is the story of a couple who discovers a way to stop Time. At first, the Time stoppage is just fun for them. But, later, the couple get obsessed with Time. “A Visit from Mother” and “Daddy” are two connected tales. A son gets a visit from the ghosts of his Mother and Daddy. A lot gets revealed as the son comes to grips with the dysfunctional dynamics of his family.

I also enjoyed “The Apothesosis of Myra” where a man commits murder on a strange planet and finds that he really isn’t rid of his victim. The stories in Far From Home display Walter Tevis’s unique vision of the human experience. Excellent stories by an excellent writer! GRADE: A

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

PART ONE: Close to home:

Rent control.–3

A visit from Mother.–15

Daddy.–29

The apothesosis of Myra.–43

Out of luck.–67

Echo.–85

Sitting in limbo.–105

PART TWO: Far from home:

The other end of the line.–123

The big bounce.–131

The goldbrick.–143

The ifth of oofth.–155

The scholar’s disciple.–167

Far from home.– 177

20 thoughts on “WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #5: FAR FROM HOME By Walter Tevis

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    Never read this as far as I can remember. I have read all of his novels except Queen’s Gambit. My favorite is Mockingbird and Steps of the Sun my least.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Steve, I have a copy of MOCKINGBIRD that I need to read. I just finished THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT and hope to watch the Netflix series soon.

      Reply
    1. george Post author

      Jeff, I read some of the stories in FAR FROM HOME when they were first published in various magazines. Tevis has a unique perspective that shines through his writing.

      Reply
  2. Michael Padgett

    The only thing I’ve read by Tevis is “The Man Who Fell to Earth” and that was way back in the seventies when the movie appeared. And just when I was planning to watch “The Queen’s Gambit” along came the fourth season of “The Crown” and I went with that instead. So Tevis is on the back burner for now, but he’s definitely someone I want to read.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Michael, I’ve enjoyed all the Walter Tevis books I’ve read. I just finished THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT and hope to watch the Netflix series soon. I’d like to rewatch THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, an underrated movie.

      Reply
  3. tracybham

    I am new to Walter Tevis. I just bought Queen’s Gambit, and already have two other books by him on the kindle, but haven’t read any of them yet. I will look out ofr a copy of this book after I have read Queen’s Gambit.

    Reply
  4. Jeff Smith

    Tevis was one of a few respected writers back then — Howard Fast, Richard McKenna, a couple others — who wrote both sf and non-sf and moved freely between both. And while they could occasionally get sf published in Playboy and other high-paying magazines, they were also content to appear in the sf digests.

    I dealt with Tevis’s second wife, Eleanora Walker, on occasion, as she worked for Bob Mills when he was James Tiptree’s agent.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Jeff, the story credits in FAR FROM HOME list THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION and GALAXY as well as PLAYBOY. You’re right about writers like Tevis who could sell to high-end markets and lower-end markets. I did not know that Eleanora Walker was James Tiptree, Jr.’s agent.

      Reply
  5. Kent Morgan

    Never heard of this book. I have a first edition of The Hustler that I read years ago and liked. Bought The Queen’s Gambit when it came out, but have never got around to reading it. Not sure if I want to read it before watching the Netflix series.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Kent, I always like to read the book before I see the movie. Both books and movies are different mediums so I’m always interested in what the Director left in…and left out.

      Reply
  6. Todd Mason

    I’ve been meaning to re-read this, after getting it and reading it shortly after it was published (in its only US edition) back in the ’80s, and write it up, but haven’t yet. Glad his celebrity is growing again a bit (and the miniseries is indeed a very good thing to see). Perhaps this volume will finally get any sort of reprint (I don’t think it even saw an SFBC edition, despite being a Doubleday hardcover–bastards!)…I see it wasn’t as neglected in the UK, where Corgi did a paperback after a hardcover from Gollancz, and the latter has done a two-book omnibus of it with THE STEPS OF THE SUN. Orion has an ebook. Italian publishers have done two editions, a Portuguese publisher one.

    I probably still will review it…under the Bill Crider Memorial slim volume rule!

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Todd, you’ll enjoy FAR FROM HOME. I’m sure the success of THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT on Netflix will trigger interest in Walter Tevis’s other works.

      Reply
      1. Todd Mason

        I enjoyed it enormously back when I first read it, 35ish years ago…after that kind of gap, though, I keep meaning to reread it before writing about it…

      2. george Post author

        Todd, I’m not a big re-reader, but I’m about to re-read Jack Vance’s THE DEMON PRINCES series in preparation for Matthew Hughes’s new sequel due in 2021.

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