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Engineering Infinity Mass Market Paperback – December 28, 2010


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris (December 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907519521
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907519529
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #862,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Johnathan Strahan is an editor and anthologist. He co-edited The Year's Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy anthology series in 1997 and 1998. He is also the reviews editor of Locus. He lives in Perth, Western Australia with his wife and their two daughters.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By John M. Ford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 18, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an odd little collection of fifteen science fiction stories. For one thing, the table of contents is on the last page. I have no idea why. I also can't see what the theme of the collection might be. The editor, Jonathan Strahan, outlines the history of science fiction from Hugo Gernsback to the present. The field has matured beyond the restrictions of early hard science fiction and become something wider, richer, and apparently harder to define.

What about the stories? "[S]ome of the stories are classic hard SF, some are not. [I]t is part of the ongoing discussion about what science fiction is in the 21st century." Since the stories are not related in any systematic way, perhaps the collection is a celebration of diversity. I am never sure what people mean by that, either. Ah, well. The stories are all pretty good, each in its own way. Four stood out for me:

Hannu Rajaniemi's "The Server and the Dragon" has no human characters. But it is rich with motives and emotions that humans have no trouble understanding. From two, one.

Robert Reed's "Mantis" is two stories, edited. A man and a woman exercise and watch another man and woman meet on the street outside. Between the two couples a high tech window subtly alters what they see of each other. Oh, and there's a bug.

In Gwyneth Jones' "The Ki-anna" a fraternal twin investigates his sister's death on a war-torn planet. An accident or a murder or the self-sacrifice of a seasoned anthropologist?

In John Barnes' "The Birds and the Bees and the Gasoline Trees" the growth of a huge undersea structure is investigated by a nearly-indestructible genetically engineered woman who has been recalled to Earth from the environment she was designed for.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Julia M Nolan on October 9, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
So, I purchased "Engineering Infinity" with the idea that, hey, I like short stories! I like hard science fiction! I want to read a collection of hard science fiction stories!

The thing is, most of the short stories are okay. Some I liked, some I disliked. Same as most short story collections. (Although there were no standouts in this one for me, but that may be personal taste. At the very least, none of the short stories were ghastly.)

But...out of the 15 stories in the book, only one could be classified as hard science fiction. The rest were sociological science fiction or fantasy with "nanotech" or some other buzzword added in to make them sound like science fiction. (Like the story about angels. Like, I'm cool with angels. The story was fine. But...it's not hard science fiction by any stretch of the imagination, unless we're going to use new definitions and classify Tolkien as "hard science fiction" since, hey, why not?)

I'd be fine with the premise if the anthology was sold as "vaguely science fiction-y concepts". But when it's explicitly supposed to be hard science fiction, and yet <10% of the stories are hard science fiction (and the copy on the cover doesn't seem to describe any of the short stories found within), I'm left wanting my money back. Like...I paid for hard science fiction. I want hard science fiction. This collection is *not* hard science fiction.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Sherman on September 10, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Overall, this collection was disappointing. There are a few real clunkers, and many stories just don't live up to the ideas behind them; or at least deserved better endings. A few stood out as pretty good. None of them blew my mind, that's for sure.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By rk future unwritten on March 5, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Strahan has put together another excellent anthology; I enjoyed nearly all of the stories. My major gripe with Strahan continues to be the inclusion of a number of stories which really have nothing to do with "engineering infinity" at all. With this title, I expected big ideas - sense of wonder settings. Most of the stories do fit into what Strahan refers to as the "Gernsback Continuum", but a few of them pointedly do not. That detracts from the collection a bit. However, all things considered, most of the stories really are wonderful, big idea tales. Not necessarily engineering Infinity, but at least engineering something big.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Erik Williams on June 10, 2011
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I bought this because the title sounded super interesting; the collection, however, disappointed on that front. Most of the stories were forgettable and almost none of them had me thinking for more than a minute or two. Don't get me wrong - it's a good read if you're looking for something just to 'read'. But, if you're looking for something really thought-provoking, you ought to look elsewhere.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By kcd on February 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Some of these stories were only barely scifi, and it took an active imagination and stretched interpretation of the stories to actually understand what would make them extreme--as in, I could see numerous readers interpreting a handful stories as mere journal entries of random events in the characters' lives with mundane events that barely mean anything. Only if you interpret them at their most stretched interpretations are they "extreme". Otherwise, they're only about as extreme as a Chevy S-10 "Xtreme Edition" is for a normal Chevy S-10 pickup truck. If that's your idea of "extreme" then you'll LOVE these stories. Otherwise, I recommend the Mammoth Book of Extreme Science Fiction--which by far may be one of the greatest extreme scifi anthologies I've read.
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