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Mission Critical

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  118 ratings  ·  28 reviews

Life is fragile. The difference between success and failure can come down to nothing – the thread of a screw, the flick of a switch – and when it goes wrong, you fix it. Or someone dies.

Mission Critical takes us from our world, across the Solar System, and out into deep space to tell the stories of people who had to do the impossible.

And do
Kindle Edition, 471 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Solaris
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  118 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read Jonathan Strahan’s latest anthology in kindle ebook format, because I appreciated his preceding “Infinity” series of anthologies, and this had a super-special sale price. He says in his forward that he was inspired by the film “The Martian” to put together an anthology of stories of a similar nature. The authors that participated, with all new stories, are mostly big names in hard-sf, as you can see from the list I’ve made below. The common theme is that most of the stories involve explor ...more
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Chance wouldn’t save them. If she left this to chance, they would die.”

The best SF anthology I’ve read in years. Most anthologies trade on famous names or unlikely “best of” claims; this one focuses on short stories and novelettes about what happens after a disaster. Admittedly inspired by Andy Weir’s The Martian. Nice cover art.

“It’s easy to make a ‘hard’ choice when the price is paid by someone else.”

No story rates less than three stars; a few are outstanding. “This is not the Way Home” harks
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last few Infinity anthologies by Strahan have largely been pretty bad, with very few decent stories or in fact, very few actual stories that are not snippets from larger works or skiffy travelogues disguised as short stories. This new venture of his, fortunately, breaks with this line. People tend to complain about anthologies being “hit and miss”, but this one was a pretty even run for me. None of the stories were “blow my mind” material, yet none fall below “entertaining and well-written” ...more
Johan Haneveld
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
9 I thoroughly enjoyed the previous collection by Jonathan Strahan that I read, and when I read that this one was based around accidents on missions, things going wrong and characters having to fix them in desperate situations, I was sold. The foreword tells the idea was born while watching the Martian, quoting the memorable words: 'I've got to science the shit out of this'. And if that is not the basis of a thrilling hard SF story then I don't know what is. Strahan found an interesting roster o ...more
G.S. Jennsen
An uneven anthology with several fascinating highlights

Anyone who reads short story anthologies know the quality of stories will be uneven. Further, different styles appeal to different readers. For me, the highlights of MISSION CRITICAL were:
- "The Empty Gun" by Yoon Ha Lee (which I enjoyed enough to go buy Ninefox Gambit)
- "Genesong" by Peter F. Hamilton (an emotional, poignant departure from Mr. Hamilton's usual style)
- "Something in the Air" by Carolyn Ives Gilman (a flawed but fascinating
As a rule, I really enjoy Strahan's anthologies, and this one intrigued me: the stories of when things go wrong. These are small stories and large, set in our near space and a very long way away - in time as well as space - and stories where not everything ends up well. You already know something is going to go wrong. 

I didn't love every story in the book; it's an anthology, so that's no surprise. To my own surprise I did not love the Greg Egan story that starts it: it was fine, but it didn't ha
(╯`▭´)╯︵ (dǝꓭ ƨ'ɒnɒ⅃) ǝɔnɒꓷ
To be honest, my overall enjoyment of these stories was more of a two star rating all around, because I was pretty bored for the most part. However, I will say I think this mainly had to do with the fact I don't read a lot of hard sci-fi. I like more speculative sci-fi (if that's a thing), something that's not too hard to jump in and understand the technology and concept. Despite this, I do want to get more into reading hard sci-fi, and I thought short stories were a good way to do this because ...more
Rob Caswell
Most anthologies are filled with “hits and misses”, but for a collection that a) had a cool theme, b) had an evocative title, and c) had a pretty kickass cover art, this one really failed to deliver – especially in the first half. The hits came in at the tail end via the works of Carolyn Ives Gilman, Allen Steele, Peter F, Hamilton, and Peter Watts. Overall it was a pretty unwhelming aggregate of work.
Lia Cooper
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
ive said it before, Jonathan Strahan puts together some of the best hard scifi anthologies out there and this one was a smash hit start to finish showcasing 15 stories by 15 extremely talented currently writing scifi authors.
Dec 01, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019, science-fiction, dnf
DNF I really only read this for Yooh Ha Lee's story ...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, sci-fi
Strahan is quickly becoming one of my favorite anthology editors; a man capable of assembling impressive contemporary talent. This collection is themed around emergency in space, in the Apollo 13 style "Failure is not an option" improvisations. It's an inspired prompt, one that allows a crew of genre masters to rapidly develop setting and character and throw them into the ringer. Special award to By The Warmth of Their Calculus by Tobias Brucknell for a resolutely analog spacefaring culture, and ...more
Dan Trefethen
The theme of this anthology of original stories is “life-threatening engineering problem in space”. (The editor admits he got the idea while watching “The Martian”). In that sense it's a throwback to the old SF stories that featured clever people coming up with a technical fix that saves themselves (or everybody else). However, these are top-notch writers who were invited to contribute, and the quality and complexity is very high. There are also some interesting twists that you probably wouldn't ...more
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent Jonathan Strahan edited collection with stand out stories by Peter Watts, Linda Nagata, and John Meaney.
Sara Hollingsworth
Interesting collection. I'm not a huge fan of short stories. I find it's just difficult to get into a short story. It's so compressed and contained that I just have no interest in the characters. That said, there was a few stories I particularly liked. Rescue Party by Aliette de Bodard was particularly interesting. Actually, some of the terms and the name seems oddly familiar. I get the feeling I may have read a short story by this author before.

I also quite enjoyed Devil in the Dust by Linda N
Jim Mann
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another very good anthology from Jonathan Strahan, this one features very good stories by Greg Feeley, Peter Hamilton, Aliette de Bodard, and others.

In Greg Feeley's "Hanging Gardens," Mars is being bombarded by comets as part of a terraforming project. Some worked live in shelters on the ground, while overhead, orbital cities -- the hanging gardens of the title -- house the ruling class. When a comet hits too close, a group of children escape in a pod. It's an exiting story of their trek, comb
Vladimir Ivanov
Очень люблю антологии НФ от Страхана, но эта попытка у него вышла откровенно неудачной. Заявленная тема ("в космосе что-то пошло не так, и простой инженер пытается спасти ситуацию") в половине рассказов вообще не соблюдена, зато практически всюду строго выдерживается тема "ГГ — женщина, желательно цветная". Такое ощущение, что предисловие здесь от одной антологии, а все остальное — от другой.

Впрочем, проблема не в феминистической подборке, а в том, что тексты просто слабые.

Гамильтон в очередной
Mackenzie Cole
This was almost a five-star book. But after an anthology full of stories where people pull together in moments of crisis and often put the collective good above personal comfort or safety, setting the most grim and cynical tale as the closer felt not only jarring but like a betrayal.

Normally a quibble over story order would barely be worth demoting a book by one star, much less two. The story in question is well-written, and if it had been somewhere in the middle, I think I would have barely not
Oct 08, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mission Critical is a selection of science fiction survival stories by a variety of authors. Right to the point, I found the stories to be uneven. There were a couple of stories I enjoyed, but there were the same number that caused me to glaze over. Perhaps I am not cut out for reading short stories. A mediocre three of five on Goodreads.
John Devenny
Like most themed anthologies this one is a mixed bag of stores ranging from poor to very good . The better stories seem to come in the second half of the book. Standouts for me were Yoon Ha Lee, Linda Nagata, Allen Steele and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
3 1/2 stars
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Exhibit N in "Strahan is the most underrated SFF short fiction editor out there." So many good entries. I knew I'd like the de Bodard and the Lee, and there was the Buckell and the Nagata, and my favorite story turned out to be the Watts. At this point, I'll buy most anything Strahan edits. ...more
Ian Wells
Oct 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Stories too short to be well formed

The short stories can raise interesting ideas but each is too short to develop the idea, leading to too many short cuts and lazy reveals.
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: y2019
Excellent collection of stories with only one (maybe two) clunkers. Strahan is fast becoming one of my favorite editors.

If you like high-tech Sci Fi drama, you'll enjoy this collection.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
(3.7 i snitt)
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“This Is Not The Way Home,” by Greg Egan: 7.75
- A workmanlike exercise in the mechanics of sf short fiction (the scenario windup, the emotional stakes, the follow through [with less interest than longer sf works would take in the Big Picture lying behind that scenario (ie what’s happening on earth)])—no less enjoyable for it, and only diminished when placed in the frame of other Egans, and the high-concept, tight-rope walk of deeply felt (often morally concerned) hard sf on display therein. It’s
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sci Fi shorts
Patrick Mézard
Could not get past the first two stories.
Dec 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Some great stories, some not so great. Mostly positive themes.
Paul Morisset
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shorts

‘This is Not The Way Home’ by Greg Egan - 5 stars.
‘Rescue Party’ by Aliette de Bodard - 4 stars.
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