Ratiocination's Reviews > The Mammoth Book of Extreme Science Fiction

The Mammoth Book of Extreme Science Fiction by Mike Ashley
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's review
Jun 13, 08

bookshelves: anthologies-collections, science-fiction
Read in June, 2008

A good anthology all told, though the format is a little misleading. A high proportion of the stories are only a few years older than the book. I haven't been all that up on new SF recently, so they were new to me, and generally pretty good... but not really a thorough overview of extreme-concept science fiction as a whole. Some might also have benefited from not being read so close together, given similarities in premise. It's hard to read a third or fourth nanotech immortality story with quite the same eye.

The older stories in the anthology seem to be chosen at least partly for obscurity. I can understand not wanting to reprint, say, "The Final Question" or "All You Zombies" again, or not wanting to tread too closely on the heels of Dangerous Visions, but I still feel like there's probably better stuff out there that would have fit the concept of the anthology without being well-known standards. In particular I didn't think the Clifford Simak and Theodore Sturgeon stories showed either author in top form, which is a shame, because they're both less well known than they deserve.

Still, even second-string Simak and Sturgeon is still pretty good, and an anthology this size with only one story I'd read before is a pretty good deal. Most of my concerns are about the book as a whole rather than the individual stories (although I didn't think much of the last one, so the book ended on something of a weak note.) Possibly The Fairly Large Book of Cutting-Edge Science Fiction and The Fairly Large Book of Conceptually Extreme Science Fiction would have been sounder undertakings, but overall an enjoyable read even so.
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