I checked this collection by Gardner Dozois out from the library (yes I still do that). Science fiction generally holds its own: 20 years later most of the stories in the collection read like they could have been written now. Here are my highlights (and I did not read all of the stories in the collection, and others fell into the “Ugh, what an awful story.” category.).
- Tony Daniel, A Dry, Quiet War. This was an exceptional story, I thought. A line I will remember for a long time: ‘”Don’t you worry, skyfaller,” he said, “I know exactly where I stand now.”‘ A bit heavy-handed on the long time frame angle (billions of years) and the reluctant duty of the soldier. But I fell for it. I loved this line too: “In that moment, I spread out, stretched a bit in ways that Bex could not see, but that Marek could…” I like how he used spread and stretched to try to convey the sense of the ability to “read/see” into multiple dimensions.
- Maureen McHugh, The Cost to Be Wise. Blogged about this when I read it, I really enjoyed the anthropological-style immersion.
- Gregory Feeley, The Weighing of Ayre. A very nice historical sci-fi story, wonderful evocation of Holland in the 17th century and the discovery and uses of the microscope.
- Michael Cassutt, The Longer Voyage. Very reminiscent of the sci-fi I read as a youth, about taking that voyage. I guess it is the opposite of Joyce’s Eveline?
- Nancy Kress, Flowers of Aulit Prison. I really liked the story, even though there were seeming oddities in internal consistency. I looked her up, but maybe it was a tawdry covers of her novels, or the plodding plot summaries of Wikipedia, but they did not seem as interesting. I’ll try something else of hers, just in case.
- Gregory Benford, Immersion. A decent read, but the whole psycho-history trope, endlessly looped back to, was a bit risible to a social scientist like me. And pretty stale for sci-fi I would think.