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Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the…
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Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge

by Lou Anders (Editor)

Other authors: Paolo Bacigalupi (Contributor), Kage Baker (Contributor), Tony Ballantyne (Contributor), Stephen Baxter (Contributor), Elizabeth Bear (Contributor)17 more, Brenda Cooper (Contributor), A. M. Dellamonica (Contributor), Paul Di Filippo (Contributor), Robyn Hitchcock (Contributor), Nancy Kress (Contributor), Ken MacLeod (Contributor), Louise Marley (Contributor), Ian McDonald (Contributor), John Meaney (Contributor), Larry Niven (Contributor), Mike Resnick (Contributor), Justina Robson (Contributor), Pamela Sargent (Contributor), Mary A. Turzillo (Contributor), Robert Charles Wilson (Contributor), Gene Wolfe (Contributor), George Zebrowski (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Fast Forward (1)

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From the 1940s through the early 1980s, the anthology of original short stories served as the backbone of the science-fiction field, reaching its zenith in the 1970s with original anthology series such as Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions, Terry Carr's Universe, and Robert Silverberg's New Dimensions. Fresh ideas and new writers often emerged from these books, which were sold in bookstores and therefore able to reach mass audiences. Recently several new series – Polyphony, Adventure, and Leviathan to name a few – have premiered to revive the formerly moribund format. With Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction From the Cutting Edge, acclaimed editor Lou Anders joins the fray.

Behind the dazzling John Picacio cover, Fast Forward opens strongly with the Hugo-winning Robert Charles Wilson's "YFL-500," a tale of futuristic art and the dreams that fuel it. Several stories throughout equal the quality of the first. In "Aristotle OS," Tony Ballantyne presents an insightful glimpse into a world-changing operating system. Elizabeth Bear pens a unique take on alien invasion and childhood autoerotic asphyxiation with "The Something-Dreaming Game." "Jesus Christ, Reanimator" by Ken MacLeod, possibly the best short-story title of the decade, posits the inherent conflicts in the Second Coming.

In his introduction, Anders states that his goal is to emulate previous groundbreaking science-fiction-anthology series, most notably Fredrick Pohl's Star SF (six volumes from 1953 to 1959) and Damon Knight's Orbit (21 volumes, 1966-1980). If successive volumes equal the quality of this excellent debut, Fast Forward will go a long way in achieving Anders' hope and might even inspire a new generation.

(This review originally appeared in The Austin Chronicle, February 23, 2007.)
( )
  rickklaw | Oct 13, 2017 |
This is an anthology with a lot of big names, not based on a specific sub-genre or theme.

The book starts of okay, with some good (though not great) stories, but the quality then drops off a bit. Luckily it really picks up again towards the end, ending with the fantastic Wikiworld, the tone of which reminded me a lot of The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy.

Individual Story Ratings Below.

YFL-500 - Robert Charles Wilson (8)
The Girl Hero's Mirror Says He's Not the One - Justina Robson (5)
Small Offerings - Paolo Bacigalupi (7)
They Came From the Future - Robyn Hitchcock (7)
Plotters and Shooters - Kage Baker (5)
Aristotle OS - Tony Ballantyne (5)
The Something-Dreaming Game - Elizabeth Bear (5)
No More Stories - Stephen Baxter (6)
Time of the Snake - A.M. Dellamonica (7)
The Terror Bard - Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper (7)
P Dolce - Louise Marley (6)
Jesus Christ Reanimator - Ken MacLeod (4)
Solomon's Choice - Mike Resnick and Nancy Kress (6)
Sanjeev and Robotwallah - Ian McDonald (9)
A Smaller Government - Pamela Sargent (4)
Pride - Mary A. Turzillo (6)
I Caught Intelligence - Robyn Hitchcock (5)
Settlements - George Zebrowski (8)
The Hour of the Sheep - Gene Wolfe (7)
Sideways from Now - John Meaney (8)
Wikiworld - Paul Di Filippo (9) ( )
  igorken | Sep 7, 2012 |
Science fiction short stories from folks like Elizabeth Bear, Robert Charles Wilson, Paul di Filippo, Kage Baker, Mary Turzillo, Louise Marley, Justina Robson, Gene Wolfe, Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper amongst others, and edited by Lou Anders. Worth the cover price for the forward/introduction by Lou Anders alone, in which he discusses what makes science fiction great.

I loved the stories by Elizabeth Bear ('The Something Dreaming Game', which is both sweet and creepy as hell — especially with the tie between a game I used to play as a kid with autoerotic asphyxiation. We, uh never quite thought of the fainting game in those terms), Robert Charles Wilson ('YFL-500' is the first story in the collection, and tells the tale of an artist who cannot dream), and Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper ('The Terror Bard' -- seriously, how can you not like a story where the protagonist plots to crash Mercury into Venus. And this story has a nice poignant touch to it that lifts it above my usual pulp fiction of choice). I also really enjoyed Louise Marley's story, 'P Dolce', which musically melds together past and future. Other stories like 'Small Offerings', by Paolo Bacigalupi, left me feeling a bit sick and lot more thoughtful. It was certainly a...memorable tale.

Stories which didn't resonate for me included Justina Robson's 'The Girl Hero's Mirror Says He's Not the One' and John Meaney's 'Sideways from Now', though in both cases, I think the fault lies with me as the reader, rather than with the stories in question. They also highlight the joy of reading a well-rounded short story collection -- even if one or two stories don't appeal, there's a good chance that something further down the line will catch your fancy.

I highly recommend this collection to anyone who likes science fiction. ( )
  iamza | Mar 5, 2008 |
Time for the stats: I enjoyed 14/21 stories in this, with Wilson’s, Bacigalupi’s, Bear’s, Marley’s, and the Resnick/Kress piece being my personal faves for their “wow” factor. I recognized some of the stories in this anthology were not to my particular SF taste (and some I wished were written differently), but most of these pieces had good/fun premises and it was nice to see a variety of stories in this anthology.

I’d definitely recommend this anthology to anyone reading (or writing) science fiction, and I’m not just saying that because I got the ARC: I think I’ll pick up the actual copy myself, when it comes out. Some of these stories really blew me away, and while I would’ve bought the anthology solely for Bacigalupi’s work, I wouldn’t have minded paying for the rest of it either, if that makes sense. In other words, there’s something in here for everyone, and there’s some really, really good stories here.

Also, an interesting stat that some of you won’t care about: 9/21 stories are penned by women (though two of those nine are co-written by men). The reason this stat jumps out at me is the fact that I’ve heard several women complain about how when you pick up an anthology of SF stories, there are few to no women featured. It’s something I’ve noticed myself, so a big shout-out to Lou Anders for both sampling a variety of SF and not limiting anthology slots to the male population of the SF community.

For a story-by-story review, which may or may not include spoilers, just go here: http://calico-reaction.livejournal.com/30192.html ( )
  devilwrites | Jun 6, 2007 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anders, LouEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacigalupi, PaoloContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baker, KageContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ballantyne, TonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baxter, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bear, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cooper, BrendaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dellamonica, A. M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Di Filippo, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hitchcock, RobynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kress, NancyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
MacLeod, KenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marley, LouiseContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McDonald, IanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Meaney, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Niven, LarryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Resnick, MikeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robson, JustinaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sargent, PamelaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Turzillo, Mary A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wilson, Robert CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wolfe, GeneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zebrowski, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Picacio, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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