4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2012
The world or universe of "The Quiet War" literally cries for more exploration, stories, and books. It is the new frontier both physically and biologically, human expansion in the solar system, political struggle over resources and ethics, outcasts, prospectors, spies, soldiers, and much much more. Paul McAuley has created a setting that is truly inspiring and has potential beyond this collection and the two previously published novels. Other reviews have found the descriptions too technical and dry, but in my mind they are very poetic from a scientific perspective. There is no need to relate to human emotions on any level when you talk about the moon of a gas giant in the solar system. If the physical facts are not impressive and breathtaking enough then these stories are probably not for you. On the other hand, I have not been able to relate to any of the characters either in the novels nor in this collection. I follow them around, I know about their background, but they all miss something that can create a connection, something that makes me worry for them (or even hate them). The majority of the ideas are very inspiring too. But in the end the stories leave me a little indifferent. This may be on purpose, although I think that there could be a fair bit of improvement with some additional editing (also in the second half of this collection where typos are significantly increasing). Altogether, I would recommend Paul McAuley to anyone with even a slight interest in science fiction and not let the technical execution (in literary terms) weigh too much against it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2011
I love McAuley's Quiet War stories. The only problem with this collection is that it doesn't have all of them! Maybe he'll do another, and then an omnibus. :)
What is does have is a new story not available anywhere else in Karyl's War, a novella. And a very good one about what happens to one roaming man when Earth attacks the Saturn system and what he finds afterwards.
So, great book, great deal.
Stories From the Quiet War : Making History - Paul J. McAuley
Stories From the Quiet War : Incomers - Paul J. McAuley
Stories From the Quiet War : Second Skin - Paul J. McAuley
Stories From the Quiet War : Reef - Paul J. McAuley
Stories From the Quiet War : Karyl's War - Paul J. McAuley
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2013
Set against the period at the end of The Quiet War and afterwards, these five stories give more world building for Paul McAuley's idea of the future.
In Making History a professor of history tries to discover the truth about one of the rebel leaders from Paris, Dione. He finds himself mixed in with the post-war political and diplomatic events wracking Paris.
Incomers, my favorite story of the collection, takes place roughly 15 years after the events of The Quiet War. Following the lives of a teenager who is trying to find himself while doing the right thing, the story is set on Rhea and gives the reader a good glimpse into postwar life.
Second Skin. The story that reveals Avernus' fate. Isn't that already enough for you? No? Fine. You will get spies. Twists. And more.
Reef begins with an expedition sent to an object near/in the Kuiper Belt that has been overrun by organisms from an experiment begun thirty years ago. Probably the most "hard" science fiction of the stories, it still packs a wallop and the events of the story have huge ramifications for life across the Solar System and beyond.
Karyl's War. Where we learn the fate of Avernus' daughter. And where poor Karyl is caught up in a war not of his own choosing.
The collection is a fast and easy read. And a good midway point between The Quiet War and In The Mouth of the Whale.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2012
I read this collection after the wonderful In the Mouth of the Whale as I did not want to leave the superb universe of the author; for some of the stories here, it was the 4th time i read them, some third, some second time and only Karyl's War which is newly published (hint contains an Arab Spring reference) was for the first time; notable Quiet war stories missing are Dead men walking and The Gardens of Saturn which are also awesome and there are 2 or 3 others excellent ones missing (The Passenger, Assassination of Faustino Malarte...)
But still for a very low price, these 5 stories give a very good reading experience and I highly recommend them
Making History is the first QW story i read in the awesome PS anthology of 2000 and the one that hooked me on the milieu; this was the 4th or 5th read and the first narration of an aging history professor who is commissioned by the winning powers to write a biography of the most hated (or most heroic) leader of the Outers, the immediate post war desolation where the winners make the rules and the vanquished endure and a beautiful girl and a love stricken police commander and chief torturer were as fresh as on the first read
Incomers is a more recent story and is set after the war in a habitat less touched by it, though its reverberations and suspicions still go on; good stuff too but less memorable than most of the rest
Second Skin - one of several stories about the spies and saboteurs, the Earth Powers sent in the first wave of the war (before the conquest) and while Dead Men walking is the best such, this one is excellent too
Reef - Outers science and tech on display and sense of wonder and speculations about the future; this story fits best with In the Mouth of the Whale and is another excellent one
Karyl's War - the odyssey of an Outer outsider who wants only to be left in peace to live his nomadic life, but as those memorable words say: "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you". More great world building and action as well as a good cautionary tale for all seasons so to speak
Overall - if you have not read the author's wonderful series that starts with The Quiet War, try these stories and see if they hook you as Making History did 11 or so years ago for me...
on June 17, 2013
"Making History," the first story in this book, is alone worth the .99 price for this collection of short stories. The story is a pretty big spoiler for events in The Quiet War/Gardens of the Sun, but is a great stand-alone tale of an old history professor's efforts to chronicle the life of a leader of the resistance forces on Paris, Dione. The professor is smitten with a young, beautiful environmental engineer, who has also attracted the affection of Paris's deadly security chief, and takes risks for the women that eventually lead to tragedy, and discovery. This was a great story with multiple fully-developed characters and a great setting (the partially rebuilt city of Dione, with Saturn ever-present hanging in the sky beyond the diamond-paned main dome of the city). This story easily merits five stars.
"Incomers" is another great story. The tale of a teenager who has recently arrived on Rhea to live in its largest city with his parents, who are engineers, and his interaction with two other teenage "incomers" who desperately seek ways to avoid boredom while longing to return to Earth. After they decide to follow an old-time immigrant, believing he is a spy, our teenage protagonist learns an important lesson about the big impact that a few seconds and a chance encounter can have on your life. This was another great story with well-developed characters and a really cool setting.
"Second Skin" was a little too brutal for my taste, but entertaining enough. It is the story of a spy sent to a tiny moon of Neptune to bring Avernus (one of the main characters in the Quiet War/Gardens of the Sun) back to Earth. Of course, the spy is not all that he seems or even all that he believes he is. The first two stories are probably both 5-star worthy, but this one is only deserving of three stars. I'm not a fan of brutal violence, even when it isn't glorified or depicted solely for entertainment value.
"Reef" was a Hard SF exploration of a very large Kuiper Belt, comet-like object that had been overtaken by vacuum organisms. One group of scientists wants to explore all of the vacuum organisms, which appear to be evolving, all the way to the core of the fractured comment while another group wants to simply cash in on what they've already discovered to make sure that their venture makes money and they retain their reputation. It's scientist v. scientist in a battle for scientific exploration . . . a little cheesy, I thought.
"Karyl's War" was a great, moody story about the main character's struggle to stay out of the Quiet War, despite getting swept up in its aftermath. I enjoyed the scenes set in a space ship junk yard in orbit around Saturn as our protagonist strips a disabled shuttle of its valuable parts (all while a prisoner of war) and discovers a secret within one of the junk ships.
on May 20, 2012
Self contained enough for a new reader to understand the universe, and different enough both be novel and to allow the author to explore a variety of themes and ideas, but related enough to form a coherent whole.
on June 3, 2014
A great collection of stories that add depth and detail to the worlds and events chronicled in McAuley's The Quiet War and Gardens of the Sun. A definite must if you're a fan of those novels.
on March 15, 2013
I found each of the stories to be fascinating, but the digital version has many typos that made me wonder if I was reading an unfinished product.