Up to this point I have been able to rely on my own knowledge and memory about all the authors that I talk about. Some of them I know more about than others but Robert Sheckley is one that I don’t know anything about.
I’ve heard his name before. I don’t know what books or stories he’s written. I don’t know if he’s still alive.
All I know is what the introduction to the story tells me. That he despised space opera and wrote this story as a parody. It, apparently, was viewed as so successful in that regard that he was hailed as bringing about the death of space opera.
“Zirn Left Unguarded, The Jenghik Palace in Flames, John Westerley Dead” makes about as much sense as the title. It’s only about three pages long and made up of a series of paragraphs that have nothing to do with each other. Some bits are funny, most just confusing. I couldn’t figure out what the story was about, or even if there was supposed to be a story. I think that was the point – he was trying to say that space opera is stupid and confusing. I think I just didn’t get this one.