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Engineering Infinity by Jonathan Strahan

Engineering Infinity (2011)

by Jonathan Strahan (Editor)

Other authors: John Barnes (Contributor), Stephen Baxter (Contributor), Gregory Benford (Contributor), Damien Broderick (Contributor), Kathleen Ann Goonan (Contributor)11 more, Gwyneth Jones (Contributor), Barbara Lamar (Contributor), David Moles (Contributor), Hannu Rajaniemi (Contributor), Robert Reed (Contributor), Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Contributor), Karl Schroeder (Contributor), Jonathan Strahan (Introduction), Charles Stross (Contributor), Peter Watts (Contributor), John C. Wright (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Infinity Project (Book 1)

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2441269,321 (3.45)13
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    Dangerous Visions: 33 Original Stories by Harlan Ellison (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Both contain original stories showing the best work at the time...

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There are some good stories in here, and I only really disliked one, but there was too much testeria in the middle of the book. Along with the male gaze being strong in this one, though 2 of the 8 authors are women.
( )
  quondame | Dec 2, 2017 |
I think this started out to be a hard-science anthology, but that's not what it ended up as. These are some great writers, and the collection was mostly entertaining, but most of the stories are pretty experimental, in choice of narrator or style of prose, or are heavily mytho-poetic, and the science is there to support the Ideas about identity, time, or other Heavy Things. Probably worth a look if you like imaginative settings and plots, and have a high tolerance for postmodern fables. That said, a couple of the stories I particularly liked were David Moles,'A Soldier of the City', which reminded me of Zelazny's Lord of Light, with people living historic earth mythologies far in the future - I'd love to read a full length novel in this setting; and Gwyneth Jones, 'The Ki-Anna', which pushes the tropes of police procedurals into an extra-terrestrial context for a great short story. The last story, John Barnes, 'The Birds and the Bees and the Gasoline Trees', works on several interesting levels - the overall frame is hokey, but the characters are fascinating and would also support a longer novel. ( )
  bezoar44 | Jan 10, 2016 |
Very good to see some hard science fiction. Really enjoyed it. ( )
  jerhogan | Mar 10, 2015 |
2.Malak, Peter Watts - excellent
3.Watching the Music Dance,
Kristine Kathryn Rusch - good
4.Laika’s Ghost, Karl Schroeder - ok
5.The Invasion of Venus, Stephen Baxter - dull
6.The Server and the Dragon, Hannu Rajaniemi - excellent
7.Bit Rot, Charles Stross - good
8.Creatures with Wings, Kathleen Ann Goonan - poor
9.Walls of Flesh, Bars of Bone,
Damien Broderick & Barbara Lamar - good
10.Mantis, Robert Reed - ok
11.Judgement Eve, John C. Wright - poor
12.A Soldier of the City, David Moles - dull
13.Mercies, Gregory Benford - good
14.The Ki-anna, Gwyneth Jones - good
15.The Birds and the Bees and
the Gasoline Trees, John Barnes - good
( )
  SChant | Apr 26, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)

According to Strahan’s introduction this anthology is a collection of stories roughly categorisable as hard SF, adding the disclaimer that the term is now a slippery concept hence the stories are inevitably broader in scope than might once have been implied. Whatever his claim that they all invoke the sense of wonder, most exhibit a tendency to be didactic in their narrative styles.

The tone is set early with “Malak” by Peter Watts, the tale of an unmanned airborne war drone that learns from its experiences.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “Watching the Music Dance” deals with the effect of enhanced abilities for children on their dependency and psychological development.

The ghosts of the Soviet space programme are being made real in “Laika’s Ghost” by Karl Schroeder, mainly set in the former cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Stephen Baxter’s “The Invasion of Venus” is peculiar in that everything that happens, including the disappearance of the planet Neptune, occurs off stage. Apt, in that humans, and Earth, are of no consequence to the eponymous invaders.

Hannu Rajaniemi’s “The Server and the Dragon” has an intergalactic AI on some inscrutable purpose creating a baby universe as its plaything before being suborned and consumed by a message packet it receives. Extremely dry in the telling, a knowledge of quantum physics and cosmology might be advantageous here.

Charles Stross’s “Bit Rot”is a generation starship type story where the ship is “manned” by cyborgs who are suffering the deleterious aftermath of a gamma and cosmic ray burst. Stross references Tom Godwin’s “The Cold Equations” but overall the story is more reminiscent of John Wyndham’s “Survival.”

In “Creatures with Wings” by Kathleen Ann Goonan the remnants of humanity eke out their lives in what could almost be a zoo which the protagonist leaves to achieve enlightenment. Though Goonan tries to finesse it the story has too large a disjunction when these survivors are taken from Earth by the creatures of wings of the title.

“Walls of Flesh, Bars of Bone” by Damien Broderick & Barbara Lamar is the story from which the collection’s title may have sprung. A man sees himself on a film shot in 1931. The story moves on swiftly to become a concoction of quantum entanglement, self-interference of particles, Bayesian probability, spatial displacements and time travel.

Robert Reed’s “Mantis” concerns the realness (or otherwise) of our experiences and how to tell whether or not we live in stories. The SF gloss involves two way CCTV type screens called infinity windows.

The title of John C Wright’s “Judgement Eve” evokes Edgar Pangborn but unfortunately Wright is no Pangborn. The story, involving angels and Last Judgement, aspires to the condition of myth or Biblicality. As a result the “characters” become cyphers, the prose overblown, the dialogue bombastic and syntactically archaic.

In “A Soldier of the City” by David Moles the eponymous soldier volunteers for the revenge attack on the habitat of the terrorists who attacked his city and killed the goddess whom he loved.

The somewhat loopy protagonist of “Mercies” by Gregory Benford, made rich by inventing a logic for constructing unbreakable codes, invests in and then uses quantum flux technology to “jogg” to nearby timelines in order to execute serial killers before they set out on their sprees; thus becoming himself the object of the same fascination.

In Gwyneth Jones’s ”The Ki-Anna” a man travels to a distant planet to discover the circumstances surrounding his sister’s death and encounters the obligatory strange and disturbing ritual practices.

John Barnes’s “The Birds and the Bees and the Gasoline Trees” features a humaniform who has swum Europa’s oceans and stridden the beds of Titan’s methane seas unravelling the unforeseen consequences of humans trying to offset climate deterioration by seeding Earth’s Southern Ocean with iron from meteorites.

Hard SF? Sense of wonder? In an uneven collection a few stories fail to hit these marks. Enough do, though.
added by jackdeighton | editInterzone 233, Jack Deighton

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Strahan, JonathanEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barnes, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baxter, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benford, GregoryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Broderick, DamienContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goonan, Kathleen AnnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, GwynethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lamar, BarbaraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moles, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rajaniemi, HannuContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reed, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rusch, Kristine KathrynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schroeder, KarlContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Strahan, JonathanIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stross, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Watts, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wright, John C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martiniere, StephanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This anthology was edited by Jonathan Strahan. Reed is the author of one of the stories included.
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Features a collection of science fiction stories that describe individuals who experience a pivotal moment of understanding about the mechanics of the universe.

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