Space Opera

{4.5/5} “On her journey here she’d met cyborgs and foreigners and artificial intelligences and several sorts of alien — some familiar, at least from media coverage of the hajj, and some strange — but it was the extra├▒ados that bothered her the most. It was hard to come to terms with the idea of humans born off Earth, humans who had never been to Earth or even seen it; humans who, many of them, had no interest in it.”

Space Opera edited by Rich Horton, published in 2014

“The Wreck of the Godspeed” by James Patrick Kelly — Adel and his friends are aboard the spaceship Godspeed. On the surface everything seems fine but when Kamilah takes him outside the ship and instructs him to turn off his link with the Godspeed, she shows him that the ship is slowing down — and it’s not supposed to be. They think the ship has gone a bit crazy, but the ship has made a startling discovery — it’s made first contact with an alien vessel.

This story is delightful in every way. It’s in the tradition of 2001 where the ship’s computer is doing something strange but it has its own logical reasons for doing so. The characters are interesting and the plot is gripping.

“Hideaway” by Alastair Reynolds — Merlin is aboard the starship Starthroat. They’re running from the deadly Huskers, who are some decades behind them. Then they discover other Huskers in front of them. A plan is hatched to hide in a solar system, but that system turns out to be not as ordinary as it first seems.

Reynolds always convinces you that his universe is real — you might or might not want to live in it. It’s an interesting story — he could easily turn this into a novel and continue the story.

These are stories by authors at the top of their game — they’re sometimes light hearted and sometimes disturbing, but always fascinating. Each one will make you pause and reflect before you move on to the next one.

A couple of the stories end without resolving everything I’d like resolved, and a couple of the stories are a bit baffling. But that’s par for the course for an anthology, especially one of this length. This is a terrific group of stories.

I was familiar with Horton’s work as a reviewer but this is the first book of his I’ve read.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 at 12:17 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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