Books

Books : reviews

Jonathan Strahan, ed.
Engineering Infinity.
Solaris. 2011

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 29 September 2013

The universe shifts and changes: suddenly you understand, you get it, and are filled with wonder. That moment of understanding drives the greatest science-fiction stories and lies at the heart of Engineering Infinity. Whether it’s coming up hard against the speed of light – and, with it, the enormity of the universe – realising that terraforming a distant world is harder and more dangerous than you’d ever thought, or simply realizing that a hitchhiker on a starship consumes fuel and oxygen with tragic results, it’s hard science-fiction where a sense of discovery is most often found and where science-fiction’s true heart lies.

A great collection of hard SF short stories. The highlight for me is definitely the Stross story, combining plausible zombies (probably not what you think) with a feel for the vastness of space.

Contents

Peter Watts. Malak. 2011
An artificial intelligence war drone gets an artificial conscience.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Watching the Music Dance. 2011
Augmenting your children may make them very different.
Karl Schroeder. Laika's Ghost. 2011
Soviet secret planet escape.
Stephen Baxter. The Invasion of Venus. 2011
Interstellar agressors enter the solar system, and head for Venus.
Hannu Rajaniemi. The Server and the Dragon. 2011
A server alone outside the galaxy has an idea.
Charles Stross. Bit Rot. 2011
The effects of an exploding magnetar have dire consequences for the starship crew.
Kathleen Ann Goonan. Creatures with Wings. 2011
Drunkard Kyo, Zen novice, escapes a doomed earth.
Damien Broderick, Barbara Lamar. Walls of Flesh, Bars of Bone. 2011
Why does the man in the old home movie look so familiar?
Robert Reed. Mantis. 2011
Infinity windows show a virtual reality, in both directions.
John C. Wright. Judgement Eve. 2011
The last night on an Earth condemned by alien law.
David Moles. A Soldier of the City. 2011
What do you do after you witness your god's murder?
Gregory Benford. Mercies. 2011
Why has the number of serial killers dropped so dramatically?
Gwyneth Jones. The Ki-anna. 2011
Investigating his twin sister's death, he discovers a vital difference between alien and human litter mates.
John Barnes. The Birds and the Bees and the Gasoline Trees. 2011
Geo-engineering can have unforseen side-effects.

Jonathan Strahan, ed.
Edge of Infinity.
Solaris. 2012

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 30 November 2017

One giant leap for mankind

Those were Neil Armstrong’s immortal words when he became the first human being to step onto another world. All at once, the horizon expanded; the human race was no longer Earthbound.

Edge of Infinity is an exhilarating new SF anthology that looks at the next giant leap for humankind: the leap from our home world out into the Solar System. From the eerie transformations in Pat Cadigan’s “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi” to the frontier spirit of Sandra McDonald and Stephen D. Covey’s “The Road to NPS,” and from the grandiose vision of Alastair Reynolds’ “Vainglory” to the workaday familiarity of Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “Safety Tests,” the thirteen stories in this anthology span the whole of the human condition in their race to colonise Earth’s nearest neighbours.

Another great collection of hard SF short stories. Some of these really evoke that feeling of being on the edge of something wonderful: exploring and colonising that frontier that is the solar system. No clunkers in this collection.

Contents

Pat Cadigan. The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi. 2012
Extreme adaptation to life at Saturn.
Elizabeth Bear. The Deeps of the Sky. 2012
Encounter in Jupiter's atmosphere.
James S. A. Corey. Drive. 2012
The genesis of the Drive that made the Expanse possible.
Sandra McDonald, Stephen D. Covey. The Road to NPS. 2012
Rahiti bets all on opening a new delivery route on Europa, but discovers more than he bargained for.
John Barnes. Swift as a Dream and Fleeting as a Sigh. 2012
Ais are trying to protect the remaining humans on Earth, but one may have miscalculated.
Paul J. McAuley. Macy Minnot's Last Christmas on Dione, Ring Racing, Fiddler's Green, the Potter's Garden. 2012
Mai learns what her estranged father was up to on Saturn's moon Dione before he died.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Safety Tests. 2012
Licensing new space pilots can be risky busines.
Gwyneth Jones. Bricks, Sticks, Straw. 2012
A remote presence team's Ais around Jupiter and Saturn are disconnected by a solar flare; everyone assumes they have died.
Hannu Rajaniemi. Tyche and the Ants. 2012
A girl grows up hidden on the moon.
Stephen Baxter. Obelisk. 2012
An engineer wants to build tall on Mars.
Alastair Reynolds. Vainglory. 2012
A rock sculptor works on Triton with a dark secret in their past.
An Owomoyela. Water Rights. 2012
An accident cuts of the water supply to the orbital stations.
Bruce Sterling. The Peak of Eternal Ligth. 2012
Gender segregation and bicycles on Mercury.

Jonathan Strahan, ed.
Reach for Infinity.
Solaris. 2014

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 19 February 2015

Humanity among the stars

What happens when we reach out into the vastness of space? What hope for us amongst the stars?

Multi-award winning editor Jonathan Strahan brings us fourteen new tales of the future, from some of the finest science fiction writers in the field.

Another great collection of hard SF short stories, mostly about striving to get off the planet, or local equivalent. Although no one story stands out for me above the others (unlike the Stross in Engineering Infinity), the Roberts did make me think “don’t give them ideas!”. All in all, a good solid bunch.

Contents

Greg Egan. Break My Fall. 2014
The Cold Equations meet the slingshot to Mars.
Aliette de Bodard. The Dust Queen. 2014
The Dust Queen of Mars wants to retire, and to remember Earth.
Ian McDonald. The Fifth Dragon. 2014
A miner making good on the Moon.
Karl Schroeder. Kheldyu. 2014
Trees, carbon sequestration, and fungus.
Pat Cadigan. Report Concerning the Presence of Seahorses on Mars. 2014
Martian women are forbidden to become pregnant.
Karen Lord. Hiraeth: a Tragedy in Four Acts. 2014
A simple accident leads to the cyborg life.
Ellen Klages. Amicae Aeternum. 2014
Corry says a last goodbye to everything on Earth, including her best friend.
Adam Roberts. Trademark Bugs: A Legal History. 2014
What will Big Pharma do when the last illness has been cured?
Linda Nagata. Attitude. 2014
Integrity in free-fall entertainment sports.
Hannu Rajaniemi. Invisible Planets. 2014
A darkship remembers the many worlds it has visited.
Kathleen Ann Goonan. Wilder Still, the Stars. 2014
Befriending artificial people.
Ken MacLeod. 'The Entire Immense Superstructure': an Installation. 2014
Performance art in the Wikipedia of Things.
Alastair Reynolds. In Babelsberg. 2014
Vincent: interplanetary probe, media superstar.
Peter Watts. Hotshot. 2014
Genetic engineering and free will to the stars!

Jonathan Strahan, ed.
Meeting Infinity.
Solaris. 2015

The world is rapidly changing. We surf future shock every day, as the progress of technology races ever on. Increasingly we are asking: how do we change to live in the world to come?

Whether it’s climate change, inundated coastlines and drowned cities; the cramped confines of a tin can hurtling through space to the outer reaches of our Solar System; or the rush of being uploaded into cyberspace, our minds and bodies are going to have to drastically alter.

Multi-award winning editor Jonathan Strahan brings us another incredible volume in his much-praised science-fiction anthology series.

Contents

James S. A. Corey. Rates of Change. 2015
Benjanun Sriduangkaew. Desert Lexicon. 2015
Simon Ings. Drones. 2015
Kameron Hurley. Body Politic. 2015
Nancy Kress. Cocoons. 2015
Gwyneth Jones. Emergence. 2015
Yoon Ha Lee. The Cold Inequalities. 2015
Bruce Sterling. Pictures from the Resurrection. 2015
Gregory Benford. Aspects. 2015
Madeline Ashby. Memento Mori. 2015
Sean Williams. All the Wrong Places. 2015
Aliette de Bodard. In Blue Lily's Wake. 2015
Ramez Naam. Exile from Extinction. 2015
John Barnes. My Last Bringback. 2015
An Owomoyela. Outsider. 2015
Ian McDonald. The Falls: A Luna Story. 2015

Jonathan Strahan, ed.
Infinity Wars.
Solaris. 2017

Conflict is eternal

We have always fought. War is the furnace that forges new technologies and pushes humanity ever onward. We are the children of a battle that began with fists and sticks, and ended on the brink of atomic Armageddon. Beyond here lies another war, infinite in scope and scale.

But who will fight the wars of tomorrow? Join Elizabeth Bear, Indrapramit Das, Aliette de Bodard, Garth Nix and many, many more in an exploration of the furthest extremes of military science fiction…

Contents

Carrie Vaughn. The Evening of the Span of Their Days. 2017
An Owomoyela. The Last Broadcasts. 2017
Caroline M. Yoachim. Faceless Soldiers, Patchwork Ship. 2017
Nancy Kress. Dear Sarah. 2017
Indrapramit Das. The Moon is Not a Battlefield. 2017
Elizabeth Bear. Perfect Gun. 2017
Dominica Phettaplace. Oracle. 2017
Aliette de Bodard. In Everlasting Wisdom. 2017
David D. Levine. Command and Control. 2017
Garth Nix. Conversations with an Armory. 2017
Rich Larson. Heavies. 2017
Genevieve Valentine. Overburden. 2017
E. J. Swift. Weather Girl. 2017
Eleanor Arnason. Mines. 2017
Peter Watts. ZeroS. 2017