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Past the Borders: Collected Science Fiction [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Ruz
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

In Past the Borders, the first science fiction collection by Christopher Ruz, six pieces of speculative fiction explore the boundaries of space opera, cyberpunk, and far-future body horror.

In What You Bring Back, a young man struggles with his father's slow descent into dementia. But is his father really suffering from Alzheimer's, or is something more sinister at work... a disease that doesn't just threaten one man, but has the potential to destroy the entire world?

In Long Way Home, an engineer posted to a distant mining colony watches his friends swallowed up one by one by yawning crevasses and acid storms, and discovers that there might be something terrible and beautiful lurking beneath the planet's crust.

In Eight Ways From Tomorrow, extraterrestrial scientists return to Earth for the first time in centuries to watch the progress of mankind. Will their simple children have evolved into a species they can be proud of? Or did they leave their pet planet alone for too long?

In They Trade In Eyes, electronic retinas are the new upgrade of choice for schoolchildren and businessmen alike. Memories are not only recorded directly into the eye, but hot-swappable, and a street-culture forms around the bootlegging and exchanging of pre-used retinas. The market is growing, and where there's a market, there's a killing to be made...

And in The Last Broadcast, a starship packed tight with snap-frozen colonists spirals towards Epsilon Eridani. But Barry, the semi-sentient AI set to guard the human cargo, is beginning to question the nature of his thousand-year mission. He's growing bored, and idle hands are the devil's playthings...

Past the Borders is an eclectic, 11,000 word science fiction collection in the style of Alfred Bester and Philip K Dick. Past the Borders is also included in its entirety in Future Tides, a $5.99, 18 story collection by Christopher Ruz, comprising of all his work published between 2007 and 2011.

Past the Borders contains:
What You Bring Back
Long Way Home
Eight Ways From Tomorrow
They Trade In Eyes
The Aliens Came Alphabetically
The Last Broadcast

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Product Details

  • File Size: 223 KB
  • Print Length: 42 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Christopher Ruz (March 13, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004S2LGGS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,539 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short fiction made with purpose and craft March 15, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good short story is cut so deep that it bleeds only the essence of story, character, and plot. A good short story has no punchline and it shouldn't answer all the questions. The best short stories haunt you and allow greater exploration and discussion and from the scant words written volumes can be filled about everything not written.

This anthology is an exceptional first work from an author who is not just a storyteller but also obviously a student great fiction. His editing pen must have been merciless because these stories are concise and impeccably crafted.

"They Trade in Eyes" is the real stand-out in this strong collection and many times the entry price for the Kindle edition I purchased. It is visceral and tragic and human. It reminds me of Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" and Arthur C. Clarke's "The Nine Billion Names of God" in style and substance.

These stories are "speculative fiction" but without the genre tropes and conventions that make "serious literary readers" cringe at the idea of reading genre fiction. It is solid writing with fantastic ideas and Ruz doesn't neglect seeing them through to wonderful, gut-punching conclusions.

Ruz (or his publisher) has also done an excellent job formatting, linking, and designing the eBook edition and it looks as well as it reads.

At $0.99 I feel like a thief. This was great fiction with exciting themes and ideas, well written, and has left me haunted.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Past the Borders is an anthology of several of Christopher Ruz's short stories, written over the past two years. Full Disclaimer: Ruz and I are close mates, and I have occasionally had the pleasure of reading his work in progress - and offering what little critique I can. (He is relentless in his search for critical feedback).

This anthology is solid, from start to finish. Each story is satisfying, but will often leave you with more questions than answers; this, to me, is the very essence of great speculative fiction.

The Ant Tower is a true stand-out. The story is a fascinating (and heart-wrenching) Arabian-Nights-esque quest for magical treasure with deep twists of betrayal and deceit. Despite its fantasy trappings, Ruz tackles the main character with maturity and sensitivity - giving Rickart a treatment that I think is entirely unique within a genre that tends to very normative stereotypes (I'm alluding to things - you'll have to read to find out!).

Other reviewers have commented on They Trade in Eyes, so I won't cover it again in depth. I'll simply say that if you're a fan of Phillip K. Dick, you do yourself a dramatic disservice if you don't read this story.

Occupied, by contrast, is a more whimsical (but nonetheless moving) tale of a man stuck between toilets. To me it evokes the sensibilities of Neil Gaiman's "unreality within reality" style of story-telling.

By the quality of this anthology, Christopher Ruz is an author that you'll be hearing about a lot more in the future. Do yourself a favour and grab Past the Borders - you absolutely won't regret it.

At $0.99, Past the Borders is completely unmissable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An edge of your seat read March 14, 2011
By Lynn
Format:Kindle Edition
This is one of the best anthologies I have read in a long time! From the creepy feeling of "Black Rain" to the clever design of "The Aliens Came Alphabetically" this book will keep you guessing at every twist and turn!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic reading March 21, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have always loved Chris' writing style - he tells a story with very little excess, clean yet beautifully written. For some reason that I haven't yet placed my finger on, I had a similar emotional response to some of the stories in `Past the Borders' as I did to those in `Looking for Jake' by China Mieville, and at times I felt unsettled, anxious even (and I say that in a good way!). I think it's this core response to the characters and stories which really elevates the work. When the pages disappear and you're there inside the story, you know the writer is doing a good job.

This collection also has six short stories and a novella in it. I really like this combination; the stories chosen range through science fiction, contemporary fantasy, and general oddness. I thought the novella was a great way to end the book, rounding out a solid collection. Not only is it a fantastic story in itself, but it also gives a wonderful introduction to the world where Chris' novel `Century of Sand' is set.

I loved each of these stories for different reasons, but all of them for their intelligence - and for the fact that Ruz appears to have written for an intelligent audience. I very much appreciate not having every last thing explained to me, it is a refreshing thing in this day and age where far too many people (in just about every entertainment media) feel the need to do so.

This collection is a bargain at .99c. If you like speculative fiction, you should definitely check it out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short Stoies Sure to Please March 18, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The whole collection is incredibly tight and very well-written--there is no rotten egg stinking up this book. Each of the stories will immediately grip you and hold your attention completely.

The stand-out piece, by far, is "They Trade In Eyes" and it alone is well worth the purchase price. If you're reading through the collection from start to finish, it hits you early and makes you eager for more. Happily, the following stories do not disappoint. "The Ant Tower" wraps things up nicely, with a satisfying ending--both to the story and for the collection.

Definitely pick this collection up if you're at all interested in well-written, haunting stories that play with familiar themes while managing to avoid the typical cliches.
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More About the Author

Christopher Ruz was born in Hong Kong, raised in Vienna, and is now settled in Melbourne, Australia. Although he graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Industrial Design, his first love has always been writing. He's been published by Weaponizer, Labyrinth Inhabitant's Magazine and Birdville Magazine, and has won both the first Ergofiction Search Term Challenge and the first Birdville Impromptu Award.

Ruz now writes full time, splitting his attentions between his Century of Sand fantasy epic, his horror serial Rust, and his spy thrillers, which are published under the pseudonym D.D. Marks. His next release will be the second season of his ongoing horror serial, Rust.

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