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Mission: Tomorrow (BAEN) Paperback – November 3, 2015
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"This collection will appeal to a wide range of readers, who will appreciate the diversity of stories from such writers as Jack McDevitt, Alex Shvartsman, Brenda Cooper, Sarah A. Hoyt, Mike Resnick, and more. With the release of The Martian starring Matt Damon and the soon-to-be-televised series based on James S.A. Corey's "Expanse" space operas, this anthology serves as a solid introduction to a classic genre."--Library Journal
"These 19 often satirical, sometimes hopeful stories depict a variety of near futures...Editor Schmidt adds Grandmasters to a mix of newer and established names and balances the tragic with the humorous." -- Publisher's Weekly
"Mission: Tomorrow is an anthology that explicitly places itself near SF's core - straightforward stories set in the near future, most focusing on Solar System exploration - and it's quite successful, with a set of a consistently entertaining stories." -- Rich Horton, Locus
Mission: Tomorrow is a novel-length collection of short stories compiled by Bryan Thomas Schmidt, which center on the continuing theme of developments in space exploration. Toeing that interesting line where science fiction often becomes science fact, these nineteen very different but equally accomplished tales take the reader on a journey through a very realistic future where humans continue to explore and capitalize on space travel. Both global and political in its viewpoint, the anthology champions human endeavour, but looks at both the light and dark sides of a universe of possibilities. Schmidt's selection and editing of the collection allows the stories to flow in a linear progression, guiding the reader from the farthest stars to the strange terrain of planets beneath our feet.
I wish I had room to discuss all of the stories in this fine collection. Bryan Thomas Schmidt has done a superb job in selecting equally balanced tales from highly talented writers who really abide by the traditional rules of science fiction. I quite often felt as though I was reading Asimov whilst enjoying this immense volume, and can offer no greater compliment than that. For me, the standout story came from Jaleta Clegg - The Ultimate Space Race - in which the familiar demons of our 'reality' obsessed contemporary world extend out into space travel to create a massive commercial and social nightmare. I particularly enjoyed meeting so many interesting and original characters throughout Mission: Tomorrow, as well as exploring the human perspective of space through many different perspectives. Hard core science fiction fans must read this book. -- Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
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. As book editor he is the main editor for Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta's WordFire Press where 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. From December 2010 to June 2015, he hosted #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer's Chat) Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on Twitter as @SFFWRTCHT.
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All the stories are good, but a few stand out to this reader. Jack McDevitt's "Excalibur" is a terrific mystery with political overtones. Alex Shvartsman, in "The Race for Arcadia" , gave me goosebumps with its chilling tale of an approach to space travel I won't describe so as not to spoil it. I don't want to ruin your own chills! Aussie writer Lezli Robyn, in "A Walkabout Among the Stars", gives us a startling and alarming first contact tale.
"In Panic Town, on the Backward Moon," is an offering by Michael F. Flynn, a charmingly-written mystery in space, with good science fiction and a noir-style voice. Joleta Clegg gives us "The Ultimate Space Race", a nice change of pace from the hard-bitten sf style of most of the stories, and one that supports the suggestion of a number of these writers that there will be commercial aspects to the exploration of space--in her case, in the shape of a reality television show with lots and lots and lots of advertising.
SF stalwart Michael Capobianco, in "Airtight", does a fine job of illuminating privatized space exploration. James Gunn, in "The Rabbit Hole", describes a weird and wonderful trip down a wormhole, a rabbit hole in space leading to a bizarre Wonderland. Sarah A. Hoyt's story, "On Edge", is the tale of three young nerds competing for a corporate prize who cause a world of trouble with their efforts.
As a fan of character-driven fiction, two stories in this solid collection stand out for me: Jack Skillingstead's "Tribute" pursues the oft-visited them of privatized space exploration, but as I've always found with his work, the characters come alive, and the plot has a satisfying little revenge twist. The other story, Brenda Cooper's wonderful "Iron Pegasus" also features characters that come alive--but they're robots, charming beings struggling to find a way past the classic paradox of allowed robot behavior.
I received an advance copy of this collection, and I'm glad I did. Kudos to editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt for the variety and inclusiveness of this anthology. Highly recommended.