like anthologies. They are great for traveling on airplanes (you can always read the start of a story and if you don’t like it, you can move on). This time, I was up in the North Carolina mountains, a reading vacation. Yes, I looked down at clouds at time, but no airplanes, but reading is always fun.
But this anthology was almost a bit too much re-reading.
So that’s my bitch here – a number of these stories have appeared elsewhere. So bravo for those authors who are making more money for reposting, but as a reader, I’m tired of seeing the same stuff over and over. At first, I thought I’d read the entire anthology somewhere but no, new stories started appearing so I kept with it. I’m miffed about it but not pissed. But if you read collections, be warned.
The stories that I had and had not read before were pretty good. One or two of them were a little action-figurey in their pace. However, there were others that were quite good, which I’ll mention here:
Between Two Dragons – An admiral caught in the crossfire of a very Chinese universe seeks to forget the unforgettable.
Scales – How far should soldiers be desensitized to what they do? As we strip away the human parts and send them deeper into warring dimensions, what are we left with?
Golubash, or wine-blood-war-eulogy – There are thousands of stories of intergalactic conflict sparked by scare resources, swelling population and politics. But what about the war that comes from overtaxed wine makers? Can they really hold their own against the soda makers?
Mehra and Jiun – Earth girls might be easy, but what happens when one gets captured by an alien combatant whose ship is crippled and failing?
Her Husband’s Hands – This was a strange one. A soldier’s wife receives her husband’s hands (all that was left of him after a ferocious combat). They contain computer memories of his personality, so they can type to her and touch her and finger-walk about. At first, I’ll admit I was about to move on but I’m glad I stuck with it. I gotta hand it to the author… oh… ugh.
Palace Resolution – What happens when high officials in a peaceful government for a fragile asteroid city square off? Threats are made. Missiles are tracking in. The streets run with blood. Which official will blink first?
The Long Chase – What happens when your side loses the war in our Solar System and you are driven off? With a single aggressor (stronger than you) in pursuit across endless space? You can’t slow down, it will catch you. And so you run, faster and faster…
Carthago Delenda Est – At first I couldn’t make out what this was about. Just before I moved on, I realized that it was a story about a number of races who are waiting for the eventual arrival of an older, wiser race. The story looks at how they hover in space, passing the long years and fussing amongst themselves. Actually, it ended very bittersweet, a very nice read (once I kinda sorta understood it).
The Political Officer – Very cold-war-ish. A sorta-soviet space ship is on a rather grim mission, and the political officer has to play the angles to survive and succeed. If you’ve ever read (or watched) one of those stories about leaky Russian reactors, this one will curl your hair (before it falls out). Yow!
These are just some of the stories in this collection. The others I’d read before (and felt a little cheated at seeing them again) or perhaps they weren’t that good. I’m not going to rate them all – just including a selection of what I felt were the best and most interesting. You’ll have to decide for yourself what you prefer. Anyway, yes, I’d give this one a hesitant thumbs up. Could have been better, but the new stories included were worth a read.