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The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Vol. 3 Mass Market Paperback – February 24, 2009

2.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Solaris Book of New Science Fiction (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris (February 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184416599X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844165995
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 3.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,070,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
A mismatch anthology with only a few standouts, several lukewarm pieces, and a few real duds. Also, though I didn't factor it in the review, the pagination was a bit screwy--especially toward the second end of the book--so that page numbers didn't match-up with the table of contents. Overall grade: B-

"Rescue Mission" by Jack Skillingstead. Sentient biosphere drugs astronaut. Rescue follows. That's pretty much it. D

"The Fixation" by Alastair Reynolds. I'm becoming a fan of his. The Antikythera Mechanism and the many worlds hypothesis. B+

"Artifacts" by Stephen Baxter. Another brilliant piece from this "hard science" fiction writer. What I like about him is that he often infuses his stories with the human element, making them much more than just an extrapolation of a neat scientific idea into story form. Often sad and melancholy (as this is) but always great. A

"Necroflux Day" by John Meaney. A science fantasy piece about the strange power source of a civilization. B

"Providence" by Paul DiFilippo. Sentient robots talking like twelve-year-olds after us fleshy "carnals" have been destroyed and the robots get "high" off of vinyl records. And what an anti-climatic ending. Give me a break! C-

"Carnival Nights" by Warren Hammond. Police procedural/crime noir set in the far future. What happens when you augment someone too much? B

"The Assistant" by Ian Whates. Somewhat like "The Fixation" in that it uses alternate realities to do stuff in this reality. This time it's nano-engineered bugs. B

"Glitch" by Scott Edelman. The glitch is that some robots believe in mythical creatures called "humans.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
George Mann's Solaris anthology series is one of several recent attempts to revive market for original, unthemed anthologies. I don't know about the quality of the other series or even the first volume of this one, but, based on this installment, I hope Mann's series continues. None of the stories are bad or boring. All, with one possible exception, are truly science fiction, and three stories are noteworthy.

Extrapolate the instant feedback of popularity polls, add "sensate matter" which can be reprogrammed to assume any configuration, and you have the sport of "competitive urban planning" which is the subject of Paul Di Filippo's humorous "iCity". The hero of Kay Kenyon's "The Space Crawl Blues" is facing, like many a science fiction protagonist before him, technological obsolescence. Personal teleportation is on the brink of rendering starship pilots like him unnecessary. Teleportation converts the body to mere information, but whom do you trust to edit that information and based on what criteria?

Chris Roberson's "Line of Dichotomy" is part of his alternate history imagining the past and present dominated by the empires of Mexica and the Middle Kingdom. Here their struggle comes to Fire Star, our Mars. It's a classic story of a group desperately fleeing pursuit across hostile terrain. The unresolved ending tries too hard for something else, but, apart from that, the story was enjoyable. Robert Reed's "Fifty Dinosaurs" really only has three dinosaurs, some giant microbes, and one human. Their response to their peculiar origin has a charming, surreal quality to it.

Many of these stories mix humor and action. More on the humor side are two installments in Neal Asher's Mason's Rats series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The third and final in this artistically, if perhaps not commerically, successful series doesn't disappoint. There are no truly bad stories, just a few that didn't do much for me. Most I found good and one truly memorable. Mann lives up to his writ of widely varied stories that diverge from near future dystopianism.

Curiously, many of the stories seem twinned, thematically or in images or feel, with other stories. The "gothic suspense" of John Meaney's "Necroflux Day" with its story of family secrets in a world where fuel and information are stored in bones is also conveyed, better, in the gothic "A Soul Stitched in Iron" by Tim Akers. The latter story has an aristocrat, fallen on hard times, tracking down a putative murderer that's upsetting a crime lord's plans. That murderer happens to be an old friend of the protagonist, and the killer's motives involve subterranean secrets that underlie the status of a noveau riche clan. Meaney's story didn't do much for me. Akers interests me enough to that I'm going to seek out his Heart of Veridon set in the same city.

Alastair Reynolds' "The Fixation" and Paul Cornell's "One of Our Bastards Is Missing" are both, loosely defined, alternate history. Reynolds' story has a scientist restoring the Mechanism, very much like our Antikythera Mechanism - an ancient clockwork computer. In her world, while the Romans found no practical use for the Mechanism, the Persians did and founded the predominant power of the world. However, other universes are also interested in their versions of the Mechanism and prepared to vampirically leach its information structure from other universes to facilitate a complete restoration.
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