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InterGalactic Medicine Show: Big Book of SF Novelettes (InterGalactic Medicine Show Big Books) (Volume 1)
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About the Author
Orson Scott Card, the author of the New York Times bestseller Ender's Game, has won several Hugo and Nebula awards for his works of speculative fiction. His 'Ender' novels are widely read by adults and younger readers and are increasingly used in schools. Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy, American frontier fantasy, biblical novels, poetry, plays, and scripts. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his family.
Edmund Schubert is the author of over thirty-five short stories and one novel, Dreaming Creek. He has held a variety of editorial positions and currently serves as editor of Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
Top customer reviews
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My problem is with the text formatting, thus only four stars. This seems to be a problem with all of the Big Book of.... ebooks I have purchased. Every few pages the top line or two (sometimes even three) is missing, replaced by blank space. In order to read the missing text I need to exit the ebook (but not the reader) and reopen it. I am using the Android Kindle reader app on several different platforms, and I get the same behaviour with all of them.
“Sojourn for Ephah” – Religion and science clash in a far future when a monk rescues an alien with celestial powers. Very philosophical and memorable, although the ending did not ‘wow’ me.
“Brutal Interlude” – Depiction of a near-future society obsessed with reality television, violent rock music, and celebrity culture. Somewhat entertaining at first, but it runs too long and begins to sound like it was written by someone’s stuffy grandparent.
“Under the Shield” – An alternate universe in which Nikola Tesla invents the first weapon of mass destruction, the Bolshevik Revolution never occurs, and a World War breaks out between America and Czarist Russia. Thought-provoking, with a nice little mystery story embedded.
“Hologram Bride” – A young woman’s only chance to escape a dying Earth is a forced-match marriage with an alien. At first, the aliens seemed just essentially green-skinned humans with similar societies, customs, and biology as us. Stick with it, however, and different sexual nuances eventually become apparent. Still, the story reaches no farther than to be a thinly veiled narrative about overcoming prejudice. It could have benefited from more vigorous world-building.
“The Curse of Sally Tincakes” – A young hover-bike racer wants to become the first female to win the Armstrong Cup on the moon. There is not much science fiction in this simple story, other than the lunar setting, but the author gains a lot of mileage through effective character relationships.
“The Absence of Stars” – The strongest story in the book, and the closest to “hard” sci-fi. Pluto disappears as a result of a collision with a black hole the size of a basketball.
“Making Ender Smart” – Orson Scott Card narrates his insightful essay about how to make fictional characters seem smart. Includes a discussion about how Card drew leadership principles from his own life experience.
“Mazer in Prison” – A ‘must read’ for fans of the Ender series. Occurs between the 2nd and 3rd Formic Wars.
“When I Kissed the Learned Astronomer” – A light and fluffy cross between romantic comedy and first contact story.
“Body Language” – One of the strongest stories in the collection. Explores the impact artificial intelligence could have on performance art and law enforcement, plus it’s an effective thriller as well.
“Tabloid Reporter to the Stars” – I have read this story twice in other places, and I never liked it, but it improves thanks to strong audio narration.
“On Horizon’s Shores” – A challenging story operating on several levels. Two married xeno-biologists encounter an alien race so different from humans that they must actually change their bodies on a molecular level in order to find understanding. Against the backdrop of these biological changes, one xeno-biologist realizes his wife has changed emotionally as well, and their marriage may be over. This story is frustrating because so many questions go unanswered, but of course that is ultimately the whole theme—relationships are deep and changing and unknowable.
Sojourn for Ephah will stay with me for a long time, I thought it was a brilliant story, good character(s) and twist. I also enjoyed Brutal Interlude, the dark overtone of the story, but I didn't much like or believe the conclusion, I just couldn't identify with the character. The Absence of Stars was another good one for me although the physics of it all got a bit too weird at one point.
I also want to mention two others: When I Kissed the Learned Astronomer (which I actually enjoyed) and Tabloid Reporter to the Stars, both of which seemed a bit childish in my opinion. The first one is more of a high school love story, it's cute and fuzzy but I liked it. The second one just went all out 'Murika (maybe I'm exaggerating but it's such an American thing) towards the end and ruined a good build up. I would have loved the story if the twist would have been better thought out.
Overall some good stories, some which will stick with me for a long time, some which are just filler material in my opinion. I would recommend this collection if you are NOT a subscriber to IGMS (in which case you already own the best stories). Otherwise I don't think it's worth the bother.
Please be aware that the general overtone is religious in nature and if you have strong religious opinions you might be offended by some of the stories. To me this was actually a nice touch but many might not think this way.
P.S. If you like to see a writer's thought process and want to learn something along the lines of character development it's also nice to read Making Ender Smart.