- Stand Pat, Ruby Stone (Roger Zelany): a story of alien marriage. Interesting.
- Old Woman By The Road (Gregory Benford): not my favorite author (given he wrote the worst book in Asimov’s Foundation universe, which is a bit of an achievement given some of the others. This story isn’t terrible, it just doesn’t go anywhere. There is a single small plot element, which has been repeated in many other books (for example The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, which predates this story by 12 years).
- New Beginnings (Jerry Pournelle): a non-fiction column about design choices baked into our existing infrastructure which make it hard for it to be efficient, the failure to save for baby boomer retirement, and our need to be concerned about growing oil use and failure to find alternative energy sources like solar. The scary bit? This article from 1978 reads like it could have been written yesterday.
- Transition team (Charles Sheffield): are we suited to life on a space station? A good short story.
- Antimony (Spider Robinson): a pretty good cryonics story. Its a pity 1990 didn’t give me a personal flyer like he promised.
- Very Proper Charlies (Dean Ing): a novelette about terrorism, specifically how terrorists really need media coverage to progress their agendas. A little dated, but still a good read.
- Party Line (Clifford D. Simak): a longish story, this one didn’t really do much for me until about half way in. It got better though. What would aliens want from us if they met us?
- Assimilating Our Culture, That’s What They’re Doing (Larry Niven): short, and good.
- Science Fiction and Science, Part One (Poul Anderson): a bit dull to be honest.
Overall, this was an ok anthology, although not the best I’ve read. It also wasn’t themed, which I think is a weakness as an anthology. On the other hand, I would have been happy if I’d paid $1.95 USD for this as a magazine, especially given it only cost me $2 in the second hand store. The many, irrelevant, line drawings of naked women are a bit odd though. I guess that’s the 70s for you.
This is an anthology of Pern stories. It doesn’t really stand on its own though, you’re much better off having read the other Pern books first. The stories are:
- The Survey: P.E.R.N.: this story feels quite lazy. There are new characters, but they aren’t well introduced. They find the planet later called Pern, and explore it, but the story is entirely descriptive with no real plot to speak of. A story that’s only interesting if you’re obsessed with all things Pern. Its especially important that you’ve read Dragonsdawn before this story.
- The Dolphin’s Bell: this story recycles characters introduced in Dragonsdawn to tell another side of the evacuation from Landing story. Its an ok story, but its not ground breaking.
- The Fort of Red Hanrahan: covers the settlement of the second Hold on Pern. This story feels more like a real story, even if it is a bit shallow. Better than the previous two stories.
- The Second Weyr: this is more of a traditional dragon rider story, and quite good. It doesn’t feel as much like an afterthought as the other stories, and was a good read. The title is a bit of a fib, as this story explains the existence of the next three weyrs.
- Rescue Run: this was a good story too, covering why the settlers were never rescued.
Overall, I’d say this collecting was ok, but nothing particularly special.
This is a collection of William Gibson short stories. They’re gritty and real, and make more sense now that I’ve been to both the US and Japan. I read these stories as a kid and loved them, although their vision for the future isn’t a happy one. Its good to see I still like them as an adult. Stories in this collection:
- Johnny Mnemonic
- The Gernsback Continuum
- Fragments of a Hologram Rose
- The Belonging Kind
- Red Star, Winter Orbit
- New Rose Hotel
- The Winter Market
- Burning Chrome
[award: nominee nebula_short_story 1981 (Johnny Mnemonic); nominee nebula_novelette 1982 (Burning Chrome); nominee nebula_novelette 1985 (Dogfight); nominee nebula_novelette 1986 (The Winter Market)]
This is another Asimov short story collection. The following stories appear in the book, although I have already read a couple as part of either the Robot short stories or the Nightfall collection of short stories.
To be honest these stories aren’t Asimov’s strongest. They entertaining, but they’re not as amazing as some of his other stuff. I guess its hard to be a genius all the time.
The following stories appear in this collection:
[awards: nominee nebula_short_story 1965 (Founding Father)]
I was excited when I found Foundation’s Friends the other day, because I thought I’d read all the Foundation books and did not know that this one existed. It is an anthology which celebrates Asimov’s 50 years as a science fiction author, and each author takes their own approach to the Foundation universe.
The stories are:
- The Nonmetallic Isaac or It’s a Wonderful Life (Ben Bova): not really a short story, more of an inspection of the impact that Asimov’s non-fiction writing has had on the world.
- Strip-Runner (Pamela Sargent): set after The Naked Sun, a young female strip runner meets Elijah Bailey.
- The Asenion Solution (Robert Silverberg): a pretty standard science fiction short story.
- Murder in the Urth Degree (Edward Wellen): I haven’t read any of the Doctor Urth mysteries, so to be honest this story seemed pretty weird.
- Trantor Falls (Harry Turtledove): covers the fall and sack of Trantor at the end of the first Galactic Empire. This one is pretty good, and in keeping with the overall Foundation universe.
- Dilemma (Connie Willis): Asimov deals with some three law robots.
- Maureen Birnbaum After Dark (George Alec Effinger): I find Maureen’s character to be superficial and annoying. This story didn’t really do it for me.
- Balance (Mike Resnik): Susan Calvin wonders if robots are a better date than men.
- The Present Eternal (Barry N Malzberg): is it good to be able to see with 100% accuracy into the past? This story was a bit disjointed, and not the best in the book.
- PAPPI (Sheila Finch): a colleague of Susan Calvin brings home a robot companion for her son.
- The Reunion at the Mile-High (Frederik Pohl): what if a biological weapon had been pursued instead of a nuclear one at the end of world war 2? What if Isaac Asimov hadn’t been a science fiction author because he was drafted into the effort?
- Plato’s Cave (Poul Anderson): the robot debuggers Donovan and Powell return to help with a confused robot on Io. This story was pretty in keeping with the original Donovan and Powell stories, which was nice as those stories are classics.
- Foundation’s Conscience (George Zebrowski): a researcher looks for records of missing Seldon appearances.
- Carhunters of the Concrete Prairie (Robert Sheckley): this story was written by one of the guys who did the Bill the Galactic Hero spinoffs — specifically Bill the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Bottled Brains. This story seems to suffer from similar problems — as best as I can tell its trying to be funny, but it doesn’t do it very well.
- The Overheard Conversation (Edward D. Hoch): the Black Widowers meet for a dinner discussion. I haven’t read any other Black Widower stories, so I don’t have much of an opinion on this one, although it did seem like a pretty traditional pithy short story.
- Blot (Hal Clement): explorers on icy Miranda interact with some cubes of unknown origin that appear to be communicating with each other.
- The Fourth Law of Robotics (Harry Harrison): the Stainless Steel Rat meets Susan Calvin.
- The Originist (Orson Scott Card): a scientist trying to determine the origin of the human race in the declining days of the Galactic Empire interacts with Hari Seldon and his Foundations.
- A Word or Two from Janet (Janet Asimov): what is it like being married to Isaac Asimov?
- Fifty Years (Isaac Asimov): Asimov reflects on 50 years of writing.
Obviously, being an anthology, some of these stories are better than others. However, this is a good collection with only a couple of stories I didn’t really like. I’m glad I found it.
This bolo book is different from the previous ones, in that it heavily focuses on the humans side of the story, instead of the bolo’s inner monologue. I’ve seen reviews online that say this makes it a bad bolo book, but I think that’s unfair. The bolos are critical to the telling of this story, and you do hear from them. More than that, ultimately a point about the relationship between bolos and humans is being made that would be a lot harder to make if the story was told from the bolo side of the fence.
This was a good book and I enjoyed it.