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Engineering Infinity
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change
Price:$7.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on August 30, 2016
A very solid sci-fi anthology to pass some time. I will say that the authors whose names got me to buy this book (Watts and Stross and Reed) had good entries but they were NOT the best stories in the collection. The lesser known authors really shine here.
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on April 18, 2011
This is an odd little collection of fifteen science fiction stories. For one thing, the table of contents is on the last page. I have no idea why. I also can't see what the theme of the collection might be. The editor, Jonathan Strahan, outlines the history of science fiction from Hugo Gernsback to the present. The field has matured beyond the restrictions of early hard science fiction and become something wider, richer, and apparently harder to define.

What about the stories? "[S]ome of the stories are classic hard SF, some are not. [I]t is part of the ongoing discussion about what science fiction is in the 21st century." Since the stories are not related in any systematic way, perhaps the collection is a celebration of diversity. I am never sure what people mean by that, either. Ah, well. The stories are all pretty good, each in its own way. Four stood out for me:

Hannu Rajaniemi's "The Server and the Dragon" has no human characters. But it is rich with motives and emotions that humans have no trouble understanding. From two, one.

Robert Reed's "Mantis" is two stories, edited. A man and a woman exercise and watch another man and woman meet on the street outside. Between the two couples a high tech window subtly alters what they see of each other. Oh, and there's a bug.

In Gwyneth Jones' "The Ki-anna" a fraternal twin investigates his sister's death on a war-torn planet. An accident or a murder or the self-sacrifice of a seasoned anthropologist?

In John Barnes' "The Birds and the Bees and the Gasoline Trees" the growth of a huge undersea structure is investigated by a nearly-indestructible genetically engineered woman who has been recalled to Earth from the environment she was designed for. She works with her ex-husband and his new wife.

I recommend the collection for its interesting and dissimilar stories. Don't invest a lot of time trying to figure out how the stories are related or what this means for the future of science fiction. Just read and enjoy.
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on January 4, 2018
Not so much. Lengthy into's to each author seems to get in the way of the story telling.
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on January 7, 2017
If you are a Science Fiction magazine reader you will have read some of these stories before. But I feel it's worth the price for the ones I hadn't seen. High quality writing by known authors. I like the book and intend to buy the others in the series.
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on September 22, 2017
A nice look from a number of perspectives.
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on February 11, 2013
The cover illustration looks like a Giger alien from a distance and the Amazon blurb notes that "hard science-fiction [is] where a sense of discovery is." So since I like hard sci-fi, I figured I would shell out the cash. I probably should have read the "Look Inside" page, because the more detailed forward by Jonathan Strahan highlights the 'hard' bit and then basically cops out of delivering it with "some of the stories are classic hard SF, some are not."

With that in mind, Peter Watts kicks off with "Malak", a hard SF story that I enjoyed, so that was good. Then you launch into Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "Watching the Music Dance" which was definitely soft, being a social engineering piece, well done in its own way, but really, not even close to the note that this is in memory of Charles N. Brown and Robert A. Heinlein, "two giants of our field". The third short was "Laika's Ghost" by Karl Schroeder which was at least on the firm side.

And so it went on, a mixed bag of hard, soft and firm across the 14 shorts that make up the anthology.

Ultimately, for a guy who really does drift to the hard side (no sniggers from the bleachers, please) "Engineering Infinity" did not deliver the goods. I don't really know who to recommend it to, but I guess if you have eclectic SF tastes and like short stories, then it would be OK, though at $6.99 you're probably better spending your dollars on the many excellent hard SF novels that the Kindle shop offers (and mostly for about half that price).
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on September 10, 2011
Overall, this collection was disappointing. There are a few real clunkers, and many stories just don't live up to the ideas behind them; or at least deserved better endings. A few stood out as pretty good. None of them blew my mind, that's for sure.
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on May 14, 2016
Great SF anthology!
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on December 14, 2013
Wonderful collection of hard science fiction. Reed has put together masters of their craft and taken us all along for the ride!
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on July 10, 2016
Great!
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