Ms Kanta

Voracious reader and DPhil candidate blogs about books and scholarly life.

Powerful SF shorts

About a month ago, I first joined NetGalley, a website where reviewers can request access to publishers’ newest upcoming works. This was the first work I reviewed through NetGalley, and boy, was I proud that I was granted access.

Infinite Science Fiction One
Dany G. Zuwen (editor)

This SF short story collection is the first in a series of speculative fiction collections, produced by the Belgium-based publishing house Infinite Acacia. The anthology presents fifteen largely new writers, whose stories, according to editor Dany G. Zuwen, have in common that their premise “as of today, is impossible”.

Infinite SF cover

The stories range from the extremely short, readable while waiting in line at the supermarket (P. Anthony Ramanauskas’s ‘Six Minutes’ takes you, well, exactly six minutes to read) to the longer, though this in itself says nothing about their complexity.

Janka Hobbs’s story ‘Real’ opens the collection, but this perhaps was not the best choice. The story ends rather abruptly right at the moment where a more interesting development could have been introduced. There are better stories in this collection, such as the one that follows.

This would be Tim Major’s story ‘By the Numbers’, which deals with the current trend of the quantifiable self in an original and disturbing manner. Major pessimistically shows how addictive this practice is, as even the most rooted skeptic cannot help himself, joining in while ostensibly not even curious about the matter.

One of the most compellingly written stories in the collection is Dan Devine’s ‘The Silent Dead’, about a planet that has cut itself off from communication with other human-inhabited planets. It reads like a prequel of Alastair Reynold’s Century Rain.

‘Butterflies’ by Doug Tidwell is an equally amazing story. It is unexpectedy sad and beautiful, even though the premise of the story is based on infinite stupidity and very dodgy astronaut training.

J.B. Rockwell’s ‘Infinity’ accomplishes what few writers have done before: the story makes the reader feel compassionate about an object. A spaceship, in this story. As in Wall-e, the spaceship and its maintenance robots draw more compassion from the reader than its human crew.

All in all, this anthology is a worthwhile read. The editor has found a few excellent new authors of whom I am looking forward to read more.

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This entry was posted on 08/10/2014 by in English, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , .

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