Brittle Innings

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Brittle Innings is a 1994 science fiction/fantasy novel by American author Michael Bishop.


During the Second World War, Daniel Boles joins a minor league baseball team in Georgia, where he discovers that his teammate "Jumbo" Hank Clerval is actually Frankenstein's monster.


Brittle Innings won the 1995 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel,[1] and was a finalist for the 1995 Hugo Award for Best Novel,[2] the 1995 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel,[3] and the 1995 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.[4]

Brian Stableford stated that the notion of Frankenstein's monster playing minor-league baseball in the American Deep South during the Second World War "may appear to be one of the most ridiculous combinations of motifs ever devised", but nonetheless lauded the book as "reveal(ing) exactly how great (Bishop's) ability is," and noted that its emotive power derives from the fact that both Boles and Clerval are "desperate to become 'real persons'", ultimately declaring it to be the "best sequel (to Frankenstein) imaginable".[5]

Nick Gevers called it a "masterpiece".[6]

The New York Times questioned the necessity of including supernatural elements in a baseball story, stating that despite Bishop's "fine prose", the monster belonged in a separate novel.[7]

The New York Review of Science Fiction observed parallels between Boles and the protagonist of Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage;[8] Bishop subsequently responded that he had been "completely unaware" of these parallels while writing the story.[6]


  1. ^ Locus Awards 1995 at the Science Fiction Awards Database; retrieved June 11, 2019
  2. ^ 1995 Hugo Awards, at; retrieved June 11, 2019
  3. ^ The John W. Campbell Memorial Award, at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction; retrieved June 11, 2019
  4. ^ Nominees, at; retrieved June 11, 2019
  5. ^ "Field of Broken Dreams: Michael Bishop's Brittle Innings, in Slaves of the Death Spiders and Other Essays on Fantastic Literature, by Brian Stableford; published March 24, 2017, by Wildside Press; originally published in Necrofile #14. West Warwick RI: Necronomicon Press. Fall 1994:
  6. ^ a b "In Prayer The Whisper of the Void": An Interview with Michael Bishop, by Nick Gevers; published October 7, 2000; retrieved June 11, 2019
  7. ^ IN SHORT/BASEBALL: FICTION, by Bill Sharp, in the New York Times; published April 10, 1994; retrieved June 11, 2019
  8. ^ Sanders, Joe. "Of (Human) Bondage in Michael Bishop's Brittle Innings" The New York Review of Science Fiction 96. Pleasantville NY: Dragon Press. Aug. 1996: 1-7.