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Far Horizons:: All New Tales From The Greatest Worlds Of Science Fiction Hardcover – May 1, 1999

4.0 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Far Horizons is the science fiction equivalent of Robert Silverberg's bestselling fantasy anthology Legends. For both books, Silverberg invited some of the most renowned authors in the field to write a new story based on their most popular series or settings. For instance, the first story in Far Horizons is Ursula K. Le Guin's "Old Music and the Slave Women," which takes place in the same Hainish universe as her famous novels The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed. Dan Simmons wrote a piece set in the realm of Hyperion, Anne McCaffrey turned in a Helva story from the world of The Ship Who Sang, and so on.

Like Legends, the list of writers in Far Horizons reads like a Who's Who of the genre: Le Guin, Joe Haldeman, Orson Scott Card, David Brin, Simmons, Nancy Kress, Frederik Pohl, Gregory Benford, McCaffrey and Greg Bear, as well as Silverberg himself. And like Legends, the authors take a page or two to introduce their stories so that newcomers won't be totally lost. The average story in Far Horizons is, as you might expect, a significant cut above the average SF story, although this anthology is not quite as successful as its predecessor. Authors like Le Guin and Simmons have come up with some first-rate stuff, but Card and McCaffrey have produced stories that are mediocre at best. Overall, though, the book has far more ups than downs, and serious readers won't want to miss this one. Those new to the world of SF will also find Far Horizons an invaluable reference when they're looking for good authors to read. --Craig E. Engler

From Publishers Weekly

Silverberg (The Alien Years) now does for SF what his recent anthology Legends did for fantasy, collecting new tales by a number of the world's greatest SF writers set in the universes of their best-known series. Some entriesAsuch as Ursula K. Le Guin's "Old Music and the Slave Women," from her Ekumen series; Dan Simmons's "Orphans of the Helix," a further tale of the Hyperion Cantos; and Greg Bear's "The Way of All Ghosts," set in his Thistledown universeAstand more or less independent of what has preceded them. OthersAsuch as Joe Haldeman's "A Separate War," set in the future of The Forever War, or Orson Scott Card's "Investment Counselor," which relates an episode in the early life of Ender WigginAare essentially engaging footnotes, filling in worthwhile bits of information that never made it into previous novels. Still others, David Brin's "Temptation," for example, from his Uplift series, continue an author's on-going stories beyond the reach of the major works. Also included are a new tale by Nancy Kress, set in the world of the Sleepless; an interesting addition to Frederik Pohl's Tales of the Heechee; an early episode in Gregory Benford's Galactic Centers series; a new story by Silverberg himself, set in the alternate universe of Roma Eterna; and the first solo tale of the Ship Who Sang that Anne McCaffrey has written in years. All the stories are, at a minimum, very good, and several are outstanding. The Le Guin and Simmons contributions are particularly worthy of award consideration. This is an important anthology that should appeal to all serious readers of SF.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: All New Tales From The Greatest Worlds Of Science Fiction
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; 1st edition (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380976307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380976300
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,445,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard R. Horton on August 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Robert Silverberg returns with a new anthology, similar in form to 1998's well-received Legends. While the previous book featured eleven stories by well-known fantasy writers, working in their famous "worlds", this volume features eleven stories by well-known science fiction writers, again working in their famous "worlds".
I have some mild misgivings about the concept behind these books, really just a personal thing. I tend to think that we do well to encourage writers to branch out in new directions, to invent new universes. A book like this guarantees that the writers will be rehashing somewhat familiar territory. I also like to see anthologies feature a mix of established talent and new writers: partly because I'm interested in seeing what new voices have to say, and partly because I think it helps new writers to have venues in which to publish their work which will be promoted, as it were, by the presence of big names alongside them. But I emphasize that these are quibbles, and that despite all that a book like this is an attractive package, and that most of the series involved have plenty of room for interest further explorations.
That said, I was mildly disappointed by the final results. Most of the stories are pretty good, but not a one of them quite bowled me over, though the Simmons and Le Guin pieces came close. Dan Simmons' entry, "Orphans of the Helix", is set in the universe of his Hyperion Cantos. Some centuries following the events of that series, a "spinship" carrying frozen colonists looking for a new world to settle detects a distress signal. A few of them are wakened, and they deal with a desperate problem involving an ancient colony of "Ousters" (space adapted humans) and some unusual aliens.
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Format: Hardcover
I was so excited to find another story in Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos. It was great. While it does not directly tie in characters from the earlier books, it was nice to be in Hyperion universe once again. The rest of the book is a treasure of original stories by some of my favorite authors in their best series like Card and Brin. I may even pick up a few of the authors that I have yet to read that are featured in this book.
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By DWM on August 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
I agree with the other reviewers- very uneven.
My summary for what its worth:

Old Music and the Slave Women- 3.5 of 5. Well written but not particularly compelling.
A Separate War- 3 of 5. Mildly amusing but that's it. I didn't particularly like the book either. Writing and themes seemed dated and juvenile.
Investment Counselor- 3 of 5. Ender books were better- this one is only mildly amusing.
Temptation- 3 of 5.0. Series was in general better. Nothing special.
Getting to know the Dragon- 2.5 of 5. Nothing special. Don't know the series.
The Hyperion Cantos- 3 of 5. Series much better.
Sleeping Dogs- 4 of 5. Very well done, very well written. Have not read the series- but will now.
The Boy Who Would Live Forever- 2 of 5. Juvenile writing and not a very compelling story. Never read the series.
The Hunger for the Infinite- 4.5 of 5. Not sure why but I really liked this. I only read the first two books in the series and found them exasperating- the writing and themes alternately impressive and mediocre. The short story format eliminated the uneven writing I found in his books.
The Ship That Returned- 2 of 5. Painful. I wish the ship would stay away.
The Way of All Ghosts- 4.5 of 5. Another one that I liked. Creative and bizarre. I will have to read the series.

Bottom line, I seemed to like the gloomy stories the most. However, since the stories are varied in style and themes I believe most people will find at least a couple of stories they liked.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A collection of the biggest names in contemparory science fiction return to their most famous creations for another fling. Rob Silverberg, himself a big name science fiction writer, follows up Legends, a collection of new stories in classic fantasy worlds with this impressive editorial effort in his own field. A must-read if only because of the scope and ambition of the project, the stories themselves are mostly of a higher than average standard, although none of them break much new ground in their respective worlds, many of them serving as postscripts, parallel visions, or the tying up of loose ends. Some of them come perilously close to what the industry calls "infodump", elaborating on the peripheral world-building information inherent but not explicit in the original works, but generally stay on the right side of tasteful. Only on very rare occasions do the stories disappoint significantly, for various reasons, most prominantly the departure of style or mood from the classic which first birthed the world. Introductions to the worlds and other background info at the start of every story by their respective authors, in themselves worth the price of admission, is a great initiative giving the reader an insight into the workings of the creative mind and other interesting behind-the-scene tidbits. All in all an impressive effort, definitely worth a look.
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