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Elemental: The Tsunami Relief Anthology: Stories of Science Fiction and Fantasy Hardcover – May 16, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
This SF and fantasy anthology intended to raise money for the victims of the tsunami of 2004 opens with an introduction by Arthur C. Clarke, who lives on Sri Lanka, and ends with the editors' memories of listening to the disaster unfold on the news and the Web. In between are 23 above-par stories by such prominent writers as David Gerrold ("Report from the Near Future: Crystallization"), Larry Niven ("The Solipsist at Dinner"), Brian Aldiss ("Tiger in the Night") and David Drake ("The Day of Glory"). Both Adam Roberts ("And Tomorrow and") and Esther M. Friesner ("Abductio ad Absurdum") contribute humorous stories about how unexpected events that start off alarming end up innocuous or even amusing. In fact, the dominant theme of this volume is the variety of human reactions to the universe throwing spitballs. Perhaps we could hope for an equally readable effort to raise funds for New Orleans? (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia in December 2004 generated an unprecedented variety of fund-raising campaigns, none more remarkable than this anthology of original speculative fiction solicited from a high-powered assortment of authors. Sf legend Arthur C. Clarke, who remains a citizen of tsunami-damaged Sri Lanka, contributes the introduction, and only some of the ensuing selections take the tsunami as a contemplative starting point for disaster-driven themes. Other stories are based on themes ranging from alien abduction to the legend of King Arthur. In David Gerrold's sardonic tale, L.A.'s freeway system finally becomes so congested that all traffic in the L.A. basin freezes up in a chain reaction analogous to crystallization. Meanwhile, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson offer a new tale from the Dune universe. The entire collection constitutes thought-provoking entertainment for a good cause, with all publisher and author profits earmarked for the Save the Children Tsunami Relief Fund. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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Sherrilyn Kenyon contributes a well-written piece based in her Camelot world.
Scifi master Larry Niven writes a heartwarming story about the perception of reality.
Also of note, Michael Marshall Smith and Tim Lebbon....two Brits who write two moody, intruiging pieces that would do well as Lynch movies.
Overall, a great book. Goes for a nice charity. Check it out!
Another problem is a plethora of short stories from authors (mostly from fantasy but with a few from sci-fi) who have written books in series, in which worlds and plotlines are developed over many volumes. The short stories from these authors here tend to be based in those universes that have been fully fleshed out elsewhere, so these tales are lacking in effective introductions and give the impression of stories in progress. This damages the reader's interest in tales by Tim Lebbon, William C. Dietz, Martha Wells, David Drake, and several others (not to mention the leftover "Dune" tale by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson).
With those issues aside, the book is saved by many fascinating tales that serve as great introductions to authors who deserve to be discovered by fans, not just for their acts of charity here but also for the fascination of their work. Favorites include David Gerrold, Jacqueline Carey, Eric Nylund, Janny Wurts, Sharon Shinn, and Nina Kiriki Hoffman. Overall, this collection reaches the goals of most such volumes, in drawing attention to some deserving but lesser-known writers. And hopefully a difference has been made in the lives of those affected by the tsunami disaster. [~doomsdayer520~]
Fortunately, the anthology veers from this pattern with the very next story, the hillarious "And Tomorrow and" by Adam Roberts, a quite clever send-up of MacBeth. Another laugh out loud story comes later in the book, "The strange case of Jared Spoon, who went to pieces for love" by Stel Pavlou. The story of a man in love with a dangerously psychotic woman who is sending him body parts in the mail is about as perfect a comment on the human condition as any I've read.
My favorite story in the book has to be "In the Matter of Fallen Angels" by Jacqueline Carey. This tale of a small town's encounter with a divine visitor is haunting. It is funny, moving, and thought-provoking. At times, it reminds me of a Garrison Keilor Lake Woebegone tale in the affection for the quirky small town characters. But it transcends a Prairie Home Companion tale simply by dealing with such mind boggling subject matter--there is, after all, an angel trapped in the chickenwire box out back of the general store, and Carey's subtle approach to the situation made me feel a sense of wonder that only the best SF and fantasy stories can evoke.
A good cause, a good book, the best story you're likely to read all year. What are you waiting for?