Liviu's Reviews > The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume Three

The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume Three by George Mann
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's review
Jan 16, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2009_release_read, genre-sf, read_2009, shorts

Superb collection - the best of the series so far and one of the best sf collection ever

Rescue Mission by Jack Skilignstead **** 1/2

A pilot of a drop ship lands on a strange planet populated by sentient trees; he needs to recover his humanity with the help of his copilot to escape.
I liked the style and setting, a little bit more of background would have made this story perfect.

The Fixation by Alastair Reynolds ****

The story of two Iranian/Persian girls in parallel universes linked by a strange artifact.
Very dependable Reynolds and with a great ending, but a bit too short and predictable, without the sense of wonder of his best stories or the depth of the longer novellas dealing with a similar topic.

Artifacts by Stephen Baxter *****

On par and similarly thematically to Last Contact. Hard sf about the Multiverse, mind-boggling but humane at the same time. Highlight of the collection for pure hard sf by a master of such.

Necroflux Day by John Meaney *****

Return to Tristopolis in the Bone Song days but from the perspective of a young mixed blood student, his archivist widowed father and his Thanatos priest/teacher. All about the price of progress in Tristopolis. After I loved the Nulapeiron trilogy, I was so-so on Bone Song, but this story made me want to return to that universe and read Dark Blood the second novel set there. Highlight of the collection for world building.

Providence by Paul Di Filippo *****

In a post apocalypse Earth, sentient machines rule, but their civilization is declining. Huge motorized Reddy K. leaves his comfy East Village, Manahttan pad and his hobot girlfriend for a dangerous wilderness trip to Providence, RI where local ruler Big Tube unearthed an huge cache of spiral and has some for sale, spiral being an immensely addictive robot thingy - I will let you discover what spiral is by reading the story. Smart and funny though not quite a parody. Highlight of the anthology for humor.

Carnival Night by Warren Hammond ***

Not a fan of the KOP novels, this one moved along nicely for me. Set on Koba, it's about the murder of a rich do-gooder tourist investigated by a disgraced policeman. The heroes of KOP make an appearance too. Good atmosphere, predictable mystery.

The Assistant by Ian Whates ***

Assistant janitor is more than meets the eye. This one had an interesting premise but did not quite work for me.

Glitch by Scott Edelman **** 1/2

Prim S-Tr resists the attempts of her bonded partner X-ta to have "animal like" human intimacy. Then things go out of control. Interesting, funny and dark at the same time, the style was a bit flat but otherwise very good.

One of our Bastards is Missing by Paul Cornell ***** +

In a superb anthology this was my favorite. Major Hamilton of the British Empire, keeper of the balance in this future steampunk with miracles setting seethes as he watches Crown Princess Liz, his one time ladylove, getting married with a Swedish prince. But the naughty Kaiser has plans of his own for the wedding, so it's up to the Major to save the day. Superb adventure and I would love a novel in this setting. The story Catherine Drewe from Pyr's Fast Forward 2 which is freely available online is the first story with Hamilton and there he thwarts the Bear (Russian Empire) in nefarious doings on Mars. Highlight of the anthology for panache and just pure fun.

Woodpunk by Adam Roberts ***

Mutated sentient forest asks for its rights from humanity; woodpunk indeed.
The only minor disappointment of the anthology since I love Adam Roberts work, but this one just did not click with me. Moved along nicely though and well written so not a complete waste.

Mynia's Astral Angels by Jennifer Pelland *****

In a corporate dominated matriarchal universe, the Astral Angels, modified sexless human based sentient beings with no rights as a species because they cannot reproduce and once used to terraform planets are passe since robots are cheaper and more efficient these days, but a daughter of the clan-matriarch falls in love with them and needs to find a way to save them from corporate "cost-cutting". Semi-parody, but absolutely stunning prose, this was the first story I read by Ms. Pelland and I was so impressed that I immediately ordered her ss collection Unwelcome Bodies. Highlight of the anthology for style.

The Best Monkey by Daniel Abraham *****

Another superb story, this time about a mysterious corporation Fifth Layer which dominates quite a few branches of current tech with extraordinary inventions that are unorthodox and inelegant but work. There is talk of the Roswell theory, namely that Fifth Layer is a front for secretive aliens, so older investigative reporter Jimmy is put on the case by Herself the leader of a news organization since a senior executive of Fifth Layer was his girlfriend thirty years ago. Highlight of the anthology for idea based sf.

Long Stay by Ian Watson ***

Car "estates" and illicit parties in near future England. Well written but the subject left me cold.

A Soul Stitched to Iron by Tim Akers *****

Another fantasy like story in this sf anthology set in the city of Veridon place of Mr. Akers upcoming novel. A young dispossessed nobleman affiliated with organized crime has to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a former friend whose actions made the Council crack down on the underground. Superb world building and very good action, I am truly looking forward to the novel Heart of Veridon set for August 2009. Highlight of the anthology for storytelling.

iThink, therefore I am by Ken MacLeod ***

Future gadget iThink and human will. Short and somewhat funny, but not up to the rest of the anthology or to other author pieces like Wolf 351 in the New Space Opera anthology.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 15, 2009 – Finished Reading
January 16, 2009 – Shelved
January 16, 2009 – Shelved as: 2009_release_read
January 16, 2009 – Shelved as: genre-sf
January 16, 2009 – Shelved as: read_2009
January 16, 2009 – Shelved as: shorts

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