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Infinite Stars Hardcover – October 17, 2017
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"INFINITE STARS presents a neat mix of truly classic older Space Opera and brand-new stories, by writers both justly familiar and quite new to me, introducing the reader to some of the best ongoing Space Opera series." -- Rich Horton, Contributing Editor, Locus
"Infinite Stars is a strong celebration of the variety and power of the space opera subgenre, both in its history and its ongoing vitality" - Locus magazine
"celebrates the breadth and scope--and storytelling power--of space opera" - Barnes & Noble SFF blog
NEW starred review from Publisher's Weekly:
Space opera is celebrated in this capacious anthology with stories from a stellar lineup of its best contemporary practitioners. The 24 selections--which include classics from luminaries such as Robert Silverberg (who also contributes an informative historical introduction), Anne McCaffrey, Poul Anderson, and Cordwainer Smith, as well as 15 works original to this volume--illustrate the wide variety of themes that space opera can accommodate: galactic empire building across space and time in Leigh Brackett and Edmond Hamilton's "Stark and the Star Kings"; the peculiar lives of extraterrestrial fauna in Orson Scott Card's "Renegat" (a new episode in his long-running Ender saga); interstellar piracy in Elizabeth Moon's "All in a Day's Work"; cultural identity in Nnedi Okorafor's Hugo-winning "Binti"; and military adventures (a staple of the subgenre) in stories by Lois McMaster Bujold, David Drake, and Bennett R. Coles. Although these short stories don't always have the sweep and scope of novel-length works, the new episodes of several series...will make this book irresistible to space opera enthusiasts.
About the Author
Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an author and Hugo-nominated editor of adult and children's speculative fiction. His debut novel, The Worker Prince received Honorable Mention on Barnes & Noble Book Club's Year's Best Science Fiction Releases. His short stories have appeared in magazines, anthologies and online and include entries in The X-Files, Predator, and Decipher's WARS, amongst others. As book editor for Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta's WordFire Press he has edited books by such luminaries as Alan Dean Foster, Tracy Hickman, Frank Herbert, Mike Resnick, Jean Rabe and more. He was also the first editor on Andy Weir's bestseller The Martian. His anthologies as editor include Shattered Shields with co-editor Jennifer Brozek, Mission: Tomorrow, Galactic Games and Little Green Men--Attack! (forthcoming) all for Baen, Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6, Beyond The Sun and Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age. He is also coediting anthologies with Larry Correia and Jonathan Maberry set in their New York Times Bestselling Monster Hunter and Joe Ledger universes.
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This collection of short stories & novellas has fourteen new stories and ten reprints. Of these, 15 were written by some of my already most favorite authors and I was introduced to an additional 8 new favorites. (One author I had read previously and was good, just not quite my cup of tea.)
I read short fiction collections just for this purpose: discovery of new favorite authors. I checked out this 674-page anthology from my local public library. Again, this is one of the most important functions of the public library. Enabling discovery of new favorite authors.
I also dearly love to read books in series. Knowing this, the editor of this definitive anthology asked either for stories in an author's universe that were prequels [where you did NOT have to be familiar with the world because you were reading a story set BEFORE the first book] or stories that were the NEXT in that universe [where it helped if you had in fact read everything by this writer and were delighted to read the next story of a new protagonist introduced in the author's latest book].
I also had a really remarkable experience with LOVING every story until I got to page 382 [of this 674-page collection]. Then I had two stories in a row I wasn't sure I liked. Then picking back up at page 438 to the end I loved every story again.
I was particularly pleased to see A.C. Crispin's Starbridge series included AND I had not read the story in the collection. A.C. Crispin wrote two of my all-time favorite Star Trek novels: Sarek and Yesterday's Son [yes, both about Spock/his father].
I had managed to read the six books in the Starbridge series just by finding them in used bookstores. (I don't know that I found any at the public library.)
I loved Starbridge so much because it, like Star Trek, had a multispecies academy and then sent out multispecies crew on missions not unlike Star Trek missions. And the aliens were all created by Ms. Crispin and were all fascinatingly real [detailed backgrounds/cultures, etc.). At least one species was completely deaf and communicated in their own sign language in the books Silent Dances and Silent Songs.
And, again like Star Trek, Starbridge insisted on respect and equality for all beings/cultures, etc.
I had never come across an anthology which included Starbridge before.
I was excited to see that Binti by Nnedi Okorafor was included. I knew that this novella had won both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards in 2016 but I had never read it. After having the opportunity to read this novella, I totally agreed why it was the winner for that year. AND I have a hold now at the library on the next book in the series!
To sum up, I recommend that if you like space opera and/or military SF at all, don't walk but RUN to your nearest public library (or favorite bookstore) to pick up Infinite Stars: The Definitive Anthology of Space Opera and Military SF, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt!
1) Entertain me. EVERY story. When reading a print copy of an anthology, I like to be able to read one story and later--sometimes even months later--come back for another. Kindle anthologies are another story. I like to read those straight through. I know. It's weird.
2) Be a good conversation starter. Because I'm a book person and we're weird.
3) Have enough lure to bring me back to it time and time again.
I feel like Infinite Stars was fantastic. I normally do not read the print copies of anthologies all at once (see #1), but since this was an ARC for a review, I did. And it took me a while because the book itself is HUGE. Super thick. I won't get into how many pages because it may be different in the Kindle copies or final copies that went to print. But, it's seriously humongous. And well worth whatever you may pay for it because the stories are amazingly entertaining.
If you enjoy the space opera genre, you will find at least half of the stories to be wonderful and the other half to be riveting. There is something in there for everyone, though. Not just space opera or science fiction fans. I feel like the anthology would be a really cool book club choice, too.
Obviously, I give Infinite Stars my thumbs up and recommendation to just about anyone.
Must Read **** (recommend reading the series beforehand)
The Borders of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Wages of Honor by Catherine Asaro
Worth Reading ***
The Good Shepherd by William Dietz
Night Passage by Alastair Reynolds
Duel On Syrtis by Poul Anderson
The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey
Shore Patrol by Jack Campbell
Our Sacred Honor by David Weber
The Iron Star by Robert Silverberg
Imperium Imposter by Jody Lynn Nye
Cadet Cruise by David Drake
Reflex by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Read If You Must **
Renegat by Orson Card
The Game of Rat and Dragons by Cordwainer Smith
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Twenty Excellent Reasons by Bennett Coles
Last Day of Training by Dave Bara
Don't Bother *
All In A Day's Work by Elizabeth Moon
Stark and The Star Kings by Leigh Brackett and Edmond Hamilton
Region Five by Linda Nagata
Twilight World by A.C. Crispin
A Taste of Ashes by Charles Gannon
Which is fine, if you love the universe(s).
But if, like me, you are somewhat unfamiliar with all the authors, and you want to use these stories as a litmus test to see if you want to dive in to the universe(s) they've created ... then I'm afraid that what you read is going to compel you to move on.
In summary: for existing fans only.
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