However, it was also a win in some ways: not completely understanding why, I developed a wry affection for both sword-wielding Muffy and her long-suffering friend Bitsy, because you could feel a depth of story and character that wasn't actually being told from Muffy's extremely shallow narration. And sometimes the inside jokes worked really, really well. ("Don't call me Muffy. That's my slave name." That particular line made me spill Diet Coke all over myself.) I also appreciated the illustrations and the author's introduction to each story. It made the experience richer. Yes: more books should be illustrated.
George Alec Effinger is one of my very favorite authors, and he died far too early. His Budayeen books are on my top ten list. the best of the best. This collection of stories has touches of his famous deftness in scatterings. But I comfort myself that these were short stories, and they were written as an inside joke.
Lessons: Stories don't need to be absolutely perfect to get the job done. An homage to other literature, even in spoofdom, is always appreciated by lovers of the genre. And again, be wary of how your story will age over time.
Oh, and Effinger is Awesome.