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Federations Paperback – 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Accomplished editor Adams (The Living Dead) explores a host of galaxy-spanning empires in this breathtakingly rich anthology. Lois McMaster Bujold's elegant, elegiacal masterpiece Aftermaths brings grace and sorrow into the silence between stars. Clever and subtle, Alan Dean Foster's Pardon Our Conquest examines how diplomacy is perceived by the losing side. Even Harry Turtledove's Someone Is Stealing the Great Throne Rooms of the Galaxy far surpasses what one might expect from the pun-filled adventures of a space hamster named Rufus Q. Shupilluliumash. Newer writers also contribute standouts: Trent Hergenrader's Eskhara is poignant, masterful and terrifyingly relevant to modern life, Georgina Li's Like They Always Been Free is a harsh, bright vision of futuristic love and Catherynne M. Valente's Golubush, or Wine-Blood-War-Elegy smoothly transforms mundane copywriting into a linked series of flash fictions. Superior writing, fantastic storytelling and creative adherence to the theme will keep readers enthralled. (July)
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"Breathtakingly rich [...] Superior writing, fantastic storytelling and creative adherence to the theme will keep readers enthralled." -Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Federations is definitely one of those anthologies that offers something for everyone. [...] the stories in Federations mostly keep a very human perspective on the hugeness and strangeness of a galaxy teeming with life. And that's reason enough to sign on to its galactic charter."-

"For this anthology of twenty-four stories, editor John Joseph Adams tasked some of the brightest luminaries of speculative fiction to write stories of vast, galaxy-spanning empires. [...] By mixing writers with great experience in with newer authors, Adams captures both the feel of the old pulp magazines and the practical elements of the ever-changing science of astronomy and space travel. ... Editor Adams has collected both the finest writers and their finest tales in the definitive volume of vast, epic, interstellar Federations." - Sacramento Book Review

"Where the book shines is with the original stories, many of which are by quite new writers. [...] The mix--of  old and new stories, of newer and more established writers, and of tones and styles--is vigorous and impressive." - Locus Magazine

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 379 pages
  • Publisher: Prime Books; First Edition edition (2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607012014
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607012016
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,747,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By R. Friesel Jr. on December 5, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In many ways, I've started to come to believe that you can't go wrong with a John Joseph Adams' collection. Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse was incredible, The Living Dead was great, and Federations...? Also very very good.

The "dust jacket description" of this anthology pretty much sums it up... It collects a few different modern takes on the classic science fiction trope: What does it take; what does it mean for a civilization to be interstellar and/or pan-galactic?

My take of Federations, it gets a composite rating of 3.9130 (individual stories below)

* "Mazer in Prison" (Orson Scott Card): 3/5
» About what you'd expect from Card. So it doesn't disappoint but it doesn't exactly thrill, either.
* "Carthago Delenda Est" (Genevieve Valentine): 4/5
* "Life Suspension" (L. E. Modesitt, Jr.): 2.5/5
* "Terra-Exulta" (S.L. Gilbow): 3/5
» Reminds me a bit of that Stephen King piece that opens Wastelands. The letter-writing format is a tough one to write in and I appreciate the effort here. And I don't dislike this piece but it seems... too short? or just that its hand is tipped too early and that kind of blows the ending a bit?
* "Aftermaths" (Lois McMaster Bujold): 4/5
* "Someone is Stealing the Great Throne Rooms of the Galaxy" (Harry Turtledove): 2/5
» Not terribly intriguing, and a little puerile/juvenile. To me... I can see why it was included (for the variety and for the perspective it brings) but it just doesn't do it. Not for me.
* "Prisons" (Kevin J. Anderson & Doug Beason): 2.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. Taylor on December 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
I bought this book purely for Jeremiah Tolbert's story, which did not disappoint, and was surprised to see other authors I liked among the contributors. There were a number of stories that blew me away, and several that really didn't, and the rest were good. Drill-down below...

The Excellent:
"Swanwatch" by Yoon Ha Lee
* Love the structure of this universe.
"Spirey and the Queen" by Alastair Reynolds
* Perfect mixture of "You don't live in this world so I will use enough words so that the things you are seeing will make sense to you" and "I live in this word so my every thought is not a bucket of exposition."
"My She" by Mary Rosenblum
* Superb on all accounts.
"The Culture Archivist by Jeremiah Tolbert
* Funny and explorative with interesting tech. Excited to see a genderless character, but there was one thing that bugged me about it.
"Golubash, or Wine-Blood-War-Elegy" by Catherynne M. Valente
* Her first SF story is epic and brilliant.

The Good:
"Carthago Delenda Est" by Genevieve Valentine
* I think I didn't quite "get" this story, but it worked.
"Life-suspension" by L. E. Modesitt
* Interesting concept executed well.
"Aftermaths" by Lois McMaster Bujold
* More of a feel-good story than a technical masterpiece.
"Twilight of the Gods" by John C. Wright
* Another one I didn't quite "get," not being familiar with Wagner, but it was pretty and internally consistent.
"Warship" by George R. R. Martin and George Guthridge
* Good concept done well, but a little overstated.
"Like They Always Been Free" by Georgina Li
* It's hard to find a good really short story and this one definitely makes the grade, but the intensely personal voice was a little hard for me to follow.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W Jordin on October 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
Federations (2009) is a SF anthology about vast, epic, and interstellar polities. It contains twenty-three stories (fourteen originals and nine reprints) and an introduction.

- "Introduction" (2009) by John Joseph Adams refers to Star Wars and Star Trek as his first exposure to science fiction.

- "Mazer in Prison" (IGM, 2005) by Orson Scott Card has Mazer and Graff manipulating the Terran High Command.

- "Carthage Delenda Est" (2009) by Genevieve Valentine forces the local planets to form a strong resistance to the Carthaginians.

- "Life-Suspension" (2009) by L,E. Modesitt, Jr., follows the romance of two Flight Captains.

- "Terra-Exulta" (2009) by S.L, Gilbow exposes how a terraformer spins his projects.

- "Aftermaths" (Far Frontiers, 1986) by Lois McMaster Bujold shows a young pilot the path of compassion.

- "Someone is Stealing the Great Throne Rooms of the Galaxy" (Space Cadets, 2006) by Harry Turtledove involves a hamster space cadet in a rollicking interstellar romp. Warning: puns are used.

- "Prisons" (Amazing,1992) by Kevin J. Anderson & Doug Beason brings an youngster to a recently liberated prison planet.

- "Different Day" (2009) by K. Tempest Bradford discloses the effects of interstellar politics.

- "Twilight of the Gods" (2009) by John C. Wright translates Wagner into science fiction.

- "Warship" (F&SF, 1979) by George R. R. Martin & George Guthridge concerns a very smart interstellar ship with a contagious disease onboard.

- "Swanwatch" (2009) by Yoon Ha Lee gives new insights to a political prisoner.

- "Spirey and the Queen" (Interzone, 1996) by Alastair Reynolds divulges the political aspects of a war.
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