Engineering Infinity
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Engineering Infinity

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  309 ratings  ·  36 reviews
The universe shifts and changes: suddenly you understand, you get it, and are filled with wonder. That moment of understanding drives the greatest science-fiction stories and lies at the heart of Engineering Infinity. Whether it’s coming up hard against the speed of light – and, with it, the enormity of the universe – realising that terraforming a distant world is harder a...more
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published (first published December 28th 2010)
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Tudor Ciocarlie
Good anthology. Great stories by Stephen Baxter, Hannu Rajaniemi, Peter Watts, Charles Stross and David Moles.
I couldn't decide between 2 and 3 stars, but overall I just wasn't impressed with this anthology. Only 4 or the 14 stories do I consider really good, including: The Invasion of Venus by Stephen Baxter, Bit Rot by Charles Stross, Mantis by Robert Reed, and The Birds and the Bees and the Gasoline Trees by John Barnes. The other stories were either not SF (i.e. speculative, fantasy, etc.), poorly written, boring, or all of the above.
Hovering between one and two stars, but I think the gems just about redeem the dross.

Not that there are many gems in here. The opener, though, is brilliant - Peter Watts' Malak explores what happens when a killing drone is required to evaluate collateral damage before making a strike - and slowly begins to question, begins to feel guilt. Beautiful prose style, brilliant at getting inside the mind of the machine and seeing things in variables and correlations - and a brilliant twist at the end. I...more
Paige Ellen Stone
I love anthologies, short story collections, whatever you might call them. You don't feel any press to finish it. You can pick it up, read a story, then put it down, only to pick it up later when the mood strikes. Jonathan Strahan has edited many collections and has won many awards for doing so.
This is a great collection, some authors known to me, some not. That is part of the joy an anthology brings. The reader gets a taste of an author or two or more with whom s/he is familiar but also gets t...more
Tim Williams
I give this a three as a neutral kind of rating. Some people may like these and the writing is technically fine BUT...

Here is the thing - I don't particularly get into these types of stories. Even the ones that other readers said were the best didn't do much for me. When the author takes a mechanical device or some other non-human and starts trying to make the story POV'd with it - I find that boring for the most part. I've read it too many times. Sometimes an author can come up with something n...more
This is a collection of short stories (mostly) with the theme of "hard SF", although this is never really defined (a point that the editor notes in the introduction) and some of the stories definitely stray outside this sub-genre. There were more hits than misses in the collection, but it's the misses that stand out for me, possibly because there was a string of them in quick succession in the middle of the book. There was Kathleen Ann Goonan's Creatures With Wings (a small Buddhist community is...more

I found this one to be a bit patchy. There were some stories in it that I really enjoyed, but just as many that didn't really grab me.

It's billed as hard science fiction, but Strahan notes in the introduction that the anthology "moved away from pure hard SF to something a little broader." I actually think this is perhaps its biggest weakness. It isn't laser-focussed, so I couldn't really read it as a bunch of different...more
An interesting variety of stories built around a theme of basically some chunk of gee-whiz technology. Interestingly, two of the tales involve Buddhism, although rather peripherally in one case. There's also a very tasty Charles Stross follow-up to Saturn's Children, and in the final story, John Barnes uses an idea that I recognized immediately from Larry Niven's Known Space. John C. Wright's contribution makes me think the man is incapable of writing actual dialog. It didn't hurt his "Awake in...more
Overall I liked it; as with any short story collection, some are hit and some are miss. Science Fiction writing has swung from bright-shiny adventures to seeing how characters in a SF setting deal with the circumstances they are in. These stories fall, for the most part, into the latter category - there is still plenty of hard science to be hard, though.
My favorite stories:
Peter Watts’ Malak - a military strike drone's reaction to a new conscience program.

Charles Stross' Bit Rot - android-like p...more
Interesting mix of what I would generally consider 'hard science fiction' short stories. As with any compilation - there are some really good ones and some that I couldn't get into.

Some that were rather intriguing...

The Server and The Dragon - a different take on a 'computer virus.'
Watching the Music Dance - a look at the potential for psychological addiction to technology
The Invasion of Venus - it's not all about humanity
The Ki-anna - not quite sure how to summarize that one...
The Birds and the...more
Derek Tan
Pretty good, I loved almost all the short stories here, except a few but 1-2 miss among a series of well written, innovative or mind boggling stories is good.

Noted favorites in no order:-

The server and the dragon (An interesting view of interstellar routers)
Bit rot (Chilling as usual, Charles)
Judgement Eve (For a techno future, has a very a biblical feel)
Malak (A drone AI, which you can help but root for)
Laika’s Ghost (Difficult to make sense until the end, but even then it is hard to explain, k...more
John Maxwell
This is the third anthology I've ever read, all of which have been from this author. Although I have read many hard sci-fi novels before, this anthology exposed me to some amazing and unique perspectives. Some were hilariously witty, others immensely contemplative. A couple of them put me in a future that sounded familiar and ancient, at the same time. Quite a rollercoaster. Strahan has done a very good job. By all means, take the opportunity to jaunt through this transect of possibilities.
Katharine is a judge for the Aurealis Awards. This review is the personal opinion of Katharine herself, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging coordinator or the Aurealis Awards management team.

To be safe, I won't be recording my review here until after the AA are over.

There were a few stories that were interesting here - more so than a few other anthologies I've read lately - but as a whole, quite boring
This book bills itself as a collection of hard science fiction stories. Now, any collection is bound to be a little uneven. But some of the stories in here were in no way, shape, or fashion "hard" SF. And they weren't that good, either. But others particularly the first 2 and the last 1, had me thinking, "Yes! This is the stuff I fell in love with as a kid." So if you pick this book up, just know that you are in for some very disparate experiences.
A great anthology showing that "hard" science fiction can also have a heart. The engineering in the title represents more tthan FTL drives, time machines, and SETI radio dishes. Fine pieces by Benford, Barnes, McDevit, and others all dedicated to Robert Heinlein who would appreciated the technology hand-in-hand with the humanity.

You won't need to engineer an infinity to read this collection, but the stories will stay with you for a long, long time.
Some of the short stories in this collection were very technically complicated, so I only enjoyed a few of them, generally they were not of the dystopian variety of sci-fi (thank goodness) but the technological developments/concepts were a little hard to grasp in places, a good read but not ultimately really that enjoyable. I think I will go back to Ursula LeGuin and the more fantasy fiction type of sci fi stuff.
Starts incredibly strongly and finishes well, with some damn good stories in between. Obviously, it's the nature of a collection such as this that not all of the stories will work for everyone - but this is simply a question of personal taste.

For anyone who enjoys hard sf, or is interested in the genre, this collection is well worth reading.
Nice anthology, introduced me to a few readers I hadn't come across before...
Solid anthology. One or two of the stories stand out for being wonderfully lyrical (Judgment Eve, John C. Wright) or offering clever twists on plausible scenarios (Malak, Peter Watts), and there were one or two awful ones, but the majority is basic, work-a-day sci-fi. A decent read, but nothing earth shattering.
The great thing about collections of stories by a ton of authors is that I always find new people to look into. Not all of the stories were great, but some of them were, and there were a few by authors I've read before as well.
A mix of stories. Some are better than others, but all of them are good. The Invasion of Venus and Malak are the two standouts for me, by virtue of approaching life through a non-human perspective.
Excellent. All different, all good. Jonathan Strahan is a great editor - his story choices never fail to pleasantly surprise.
"Bit Rot" was disturbing, but I would still recommend that short story and I don't often say that about disturbing stories.
Louise Armstrong
Good read, good mix, general views of future - nothing stood out individually, but all were readable.
Rohit Ramesh
really really good. I've gone out and bought books from the authors of three of the stories in here.
I started reading this yesterday. Almost every story I read in this collection so far has been awesome!
Very good selection of stories. If you like what you find in Asimov's Science fiction you'll enjoy this.
Dries Harnie
Despite not every story being "hard science-fiction" still a very good and inspiring read.
I enjoyed Engineering infinity and will look out for more works by Jonathan Strahan
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Charles David George "Charlie" Stross is a writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His works range from science fiction and Lovecraftian horror to fantasy.

Stross is sometimes regarded as being part of a new generation of British science fiction writers who specialise in hard science fiction and space opera. His contemporaries include Alastair Reynolds, Ken MacLeod, Liz Williams and Richard Morgan.

More about Charles Stross...
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