|(Cover by Robert Gibson Jones)|
Finally, in 1980, Leiber had a chance to reprint the novel at Pocket Books, but he no longer had his original manuscript. So he worked from the published version, but rewrote the sex scenes. Which ended up being a good idea, I think. They're pretty good scenes (I think Leiber is a good writer of sex scenes), and there's no way the Leiber of 1953 would have written those scenes.
The Sinful Ones is a very good urban fantasy, from before there were urban fantasies. It's about a man in Chicgao, stuck in a rut, with his ambitious girlfriend pushing him to get a better job. One day he meets a strange, scared, young woman, Jane Gregg. Something about this encounter kicks him out of his rut, and he realizes in essence that he and only a few other people, including Jane, are truly "alive". As long as he is out of his "routine", nobody else perceives him. The novel is spooky, and sexy, and thought-provoking, and scary. It's a real good read, too, and the portrayal of Chicago is fun as well. The eventual resolution is only OK, not great, but it hints at better things.
|(Cover by Michael Whelan)|
It's an intriguing premise (reminiscent, to me, of the movie Dark City, which I happened to see at about the same time as I first read The Sinful Ones). The conclusion in both cases is OK, but a bit abrupt, and in neither case is any larger issue resolved, beyond Carr and Jane's immediate danger. (Which may actually be the more honest approach.) But the longer novel does work things out much better, and has some decent sex scenes (added in 1980, actually, so it might not be fair to criticize "You're All Alone" for its lack of same), and in general Jane and Carr are both more fleshed out. (The edition I have of You're All Alone is an Ace paperback including the 40000 word short novel and two novelets: "Four Ghosts in Hamlet" and "The Creature from Cleveland Depths", both very well worth reading as well.)