is the science fiction equivalent of Robert Silverberg's bestselling fantasy anthology Legends
. For both books, Silverberg invited some of the most renowned authors in the field to write a new story based on their most popular series or settings. For instance, the first story in Far Horizons
is Ursula K. Le Guin's "Old Music and the Slave Women," which takes place in the same Hainish universe as her famous novels The Left Hand of Darkness
and The Dispossessed
. Dan Simmons wrote a piece set in the realm of Hyperion
, Anne McCaffrey turned in a Helva story from the world of The Ship Who Sang
, and so on.
Like Legends, the list of writers in Far Horizons reads like a Who's Who of the genre: Le Guin, Joe Haldeman, Orson Scott Card, David Brin, Simmons, Nancy Kress, Frederik Pohl, Gregory Benford, McCaffrey and Greg Bear, as well as Silverberg himself. And like Legends, the authors take a page or two to introduce their stories so that newcomers won't be totally lost. The average story in Far Horizons is, as you might expect, a significant cut above the average SF story, although this anthology is not quite as successful as its predecessor. Authors like Le Guin and Simmons have come up with some first-rate stuff, but Card and McCaffrey have produced stories that are mediocre at best. Overall, though, the book has far more ups than downs, and serious readers won't want to miss this one. Those new to the world of SF will also find Far Horizons an invaluable reference when they're looking for good authors to read. --Craig E. Engler
From Publishers Weekly
Silverberg (The Alien Years) now does for SF what his recent anthology Legends did for fantasy, collecting new tales by a number of the world's greatest SF writers set in the universes of their best-known series. Some entriesAsuch as Ursula K. Le Guin's "Old Music and the Slave Women," from her Ekumen series; Dan Simmons's "Orphans of the Helix," a further tale of the Hyperion Cantos; and Greg Bear's "The Way of All Ghosts," set in his Thistledown universeAstand more or less independent of what has preceded them. OthersAsuch as Joe Haldeman's "A Separate War," set in the future of The Forever War, or Orson Scott Card's "Investment Counselor," which relates an episode in the early life of Ender WigginAare essentially engaging footnotes, filling in worthwhile bits of information that never made it into previous novels. Still others, David Brin's "Temptation," for example, from his Uplift series, continue an author's on-going stories beyond the reach of the major works. Also included are a new tale by Nancy Kress, set in the world of the Sleepless; an interesting addition to Frederik Pohl's Tales of the Heechee; an early episode in Gregory Benford's Galactic Centers series; a new story by Silverberg himself, set in the alternate universe of Roma Eterna; and the first solo tale of the Ship Who Sang that Anne McCaffrey has written in years. All the stories are, at a minimum, very good, and several are outstanding. The Le Guin and Simmons contributions are particularly worthy of award consideration. This is an important anthology that should appeal to all serious readers of SF.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.