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Centaurus: The Best of Australian Science Fiction Hardcover – July 7, 1999

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 525 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Tom Doherty Associates (July 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312865562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312865566
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,486,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The anthology Centaurus: The Best of Australian SF is a banquet of thought-provoking science fiction from Australia. Readers who so far have been unaware of the developing world of Australian SF will be engrossed by this diverse selection of stories chosen by World Fantasy Award-winning editor David G. Hartwell and acclaimed Australian writer Damien Broderick. Yes, Australian star Greg Egan appears, with a story ("Wang's Carpets") that embodies his humanistic approach to hard SF. But Centaurus also presents rising stars whose works deal with landscapes, concerns, and themes Australian. Take, for example, Leanne Frahm's "Borderline." Her story of a widower who has little in common with his ambitious, city-dwelling offspring, yet who wants to protect them even if it means confronting his worst fears, is made richer by its plainspoken Australian dialect. Both "The Mountain Movers" by A. Bertram Chandler and Terry Dowling's "Privateer's Moon" drench readers in the other-worldliness of Australian landscapes. The editors bookend the volume with stunning stories by George Turner ("Flowering Mandrake"), one of Australia's earliest internationally known SF writers, and Peter Carey ("The Chance"), winner of the Booker Prize for his novel Oscar and Lucinda. Every story has its own introduction, and each editor provides an introduction to the volume. Centaurus is full of imaginative fare from writers with a colorful regional perspective. --Blaise Selby

From Publishers Weekly

The wordcraft and imagination at play in this collection of 20 SF stories by Australian writers is quite extraordinary. The book is full of gorgeously imagined scenes on a transgalactic scale and challenging extrapolations of cutting-edge science. Hidden in the grandeur are meditations on the meaning of reality (Greg Egan's "Wang's Carpets"), motherhood (Rosaleen Love's "The Total Devotion Machine" and Shane Dix's "Matters of Consequence"), the social worth of religions (editor Broderick's own "The Magi") and gender dominance (a future lesbian society in Lucy Sussex's "My Lady Tongue," menstrual sacraments on an alternate world in Stephen Dedman's Swiftian "From Whom All Blessings Flow"). The question of tolerance comes up again and again: Islamic zealots encode the Qur'an in their DNA in Chris Lawson's "Written in Blood"; lumpen-loving ideologues take on the bodies of the underclass via a genetic lottery in Booker Prize-winner Peter Carey's intimately human and poetic "The Chance." George Turner's classic "Flowering Mandrake" pits a plant-descended "green-blood" against xenophobic Earthmen. There is enough of the quotidian, charming and homey to ground all this exotica, and there are a few neat japes, like David Lake's unique tale of time travel gone wrong, "Re-deem the Time." A few clunkers appear as well, but no stiff prose, no cloddish infodumps. Broderick's introduction is itself a fine and illuminating piece of writing, and his and Hartwell's author profiles are unusually personal. It may arise from Down Under, but this anthology is a world-class treasure. (July) FYI: The 1999 World Science Fiction Convention will be held in Melbourne in August.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Blue Tyson on July 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Really bloody good, mate.

This is a very impressive collection. Average rating 4.15 out of 5. The editors are fairly aggressive in saying that this is the best oz sf collection put together, but it appears they are pretty much right. Van Ikin's Australian Science Fiction, taking the 'modern' section and not the excerpts, which would be an unfair comparison, is a touch under 4. Looking at what I have read of Gerrand's Best Australian Science Fiction Writing that will be be a decent score, but not likely this high.

Not that I have read all the older anthologies, either, but I will sometime. The fact is though, that Egan and Dowling mostly were not in those. The second editions of the Strahan and Congreve et. al. Year's Bests in each case are around the 3.75 mark or so, and the McNamara collections a bit under that. However, that is to be expected, given they are looking at the 'new', not the best of what is available, and all are collections that a fan (or student) of oz sf will want to have.

Centaurus : Flowering Mandrake - George Turner
Centaurus : The Mountain Movers - A. Bertram Chandler
Centaurus : Things Fall Apart - Philippa C. Maddern
Centaurus : Written in Blood - Chris Lawson
Centaurus : Pie Row Joe - Kevin McKay
Centaurus : A Map of the Mines of Barnath - Sean Williams
Centaurus : My Lady Tongue - Lucy Sussex
Centaurus : Wang's Carpets - Greg Egan
Centaurus : The Dominant Style - Sean McMullen
Centaurus : Borderline - Leanne Frahm
Centaurus : Privateers' Moon - Terry Dowling
Centaurus : Re-deem the Time - David J.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Russell Blackford on June 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am one of the authors represented in Centaurus, and obviously I'm biased to that extent.
All that's out of the way, I honestly believe that this is one of the better science fiction anthologies around and that the authors whose work it contains are worth getting to know. Since the start of the 1990s, Australian science fiction has had a huge renaissance, with such writers as Greg Egan, Sean Williams and Sean McMullen becoming prominent internationally and others having success on a lesser scale, both at home and overseas. This book includes work from all the main Aussie writers of the past few decades, and includes some of their best pieces going back to the 1970s. Most of these are substantial stories - they are robust and gutsy, with some strong themes and characters. What's more, you won't find a better opportunity to sample good work by all the Australian writers in one place, and to judge for yourself what the fuss is about.
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