Side Effects (anthology)
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Side Effects is an anthology of 17 comical short essays written by Woody Allen between 1975 and 1980, all but one of which were previously published in, variously, The New Republic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Kenyon Review. It includes Allen's 1978 O. Henry Award winning story, The Kugelmass Episode.
- Remembering Needleman
- The Condemned
- By Destiny Denied
- The UFO Menace
- My Apology
- The Kugelmass Episode
- My Speech to the Graduates
- The Diet
- The Lunatic's Tale
- Reminiscences: Places and People
- Nefarious Times We Live In
- A Giant Step for Mankind
- The Shallowest Man
- The Query
- Fabrizio's: Criticism and Response
- Confessions of a Burglar
Some of the tales in detail
The first story, Remembering Needleman, is a one-liner and non-sequitur filled obituary for Professor Sandor Needleman.
The third work, By Destiny Denied, presents the reader with notes for a fictional "eight-hundred-page novel - the big book they're all waiting for."
The fifth story, My Apology, is Allen's tale of a recurring fantasy/dream of his where he imagines himself in the sandals of Socrates during the philosopher's final days in prison. The dialogue proceeds in a manner reminiscent of Terry Pratchett, and the ending contains two unexpected twists.
The sixth story, The Kugelmass Episode, is about a CCNY professor named Sidney Kugelmass who, thanks to the powers of an obscure magician, is projected into Madame Bovary to carry on an affair beyond the scrutiny of his overbearing wife.
The eleventh tale, Nefarious Times We Live In, is the most off-the-wall of them all, and concerns the events that lead to its protagonist, Willard Pogrebin, to fire a Luger at President Gerald Ford. They involve at least five kinds of drugs and three cults.
Throughout the book, frequent references are made to composer Igor Stravinsky. In addition, numerous gags are made with an implication that people bear an innate knowledge of the Dutch language. Love interests of characters are compared to a grotesque, golem-like Aunt Rifka in two separate stories.
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