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Far Horizons by Robert Silverberg

Far Horizons (1999)

by Robert Silverberg (Editor)

Other authors: Greg Bear (Contributor), Gregory Benford (Contributor), David Brin (Contributor), Orson Scott Card (Contributor), Joe Haldeman (Contributor)7 more, Nancy Kress (Contributor), Ursula K. Le Guin (Contributor), Anne McCaffrey (Contributor), Frederik Pohl (Contributor), Robert Silverberg (Contributor), Robert Silverberg (Introduction), Dan Simmons (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 7 mentions

English (3)  Spanish (1)  All languages (4)
Showing 3 of 3
*****"Old Music and the Slave Woman" - Ursula K. LeGuin.
Yes, I checked this book out from the library because I saw that it had a LeGuin story I hadn't read before! And yes, this alone was worth the price of admission. (Well, since it was from the library there wasn't a price, but, you know...)
Set in the world of the Ekumen. The egalitarian interplanetary alliance has come to this corner of the galaxy. Ideas of freedom have spread, causing riots and rebellion in a society based on racial slavery. An ambassador of the Ekumen is kidnapped by those who hope to use him as a political mouthpiece, and imprisoned.
A mere recital of the events of the tale can't come even close to LeGuin's succinct but thorough exploration of the evils of social injustice, tempered by the further evils that can happen when lofty ideals meet imperfect human reality. There's more here to think about than in a dozen angry political screeds, and much more of worth.

*** "A Separate War" - Joe Haldeman.
A story which fills in a 'gap' covering what happened to one of the main characters in 'The Forever War' when the two protagonists were separated. A heterosexual woman from our time period deals with losing her lover, is trained for officership in a space military, and comes to terms with living in a homosexual future. I didn't enjoy this as much as I remember liking 'Forever War,' but it was OK.

** "Investment Counselor" - Orson Scott Card.
This story introduces Ender Wiggin (of 'Ender's Game') to the AI, Jane. Ender has just turned 20 and must figure out how to deal with his huge and hugely complicated trust fund. Jane presents herself as a piece of accounting software. While 'Jane' is the star of the show, here (by far the most intriguing and likable character in the story), the piece doesn't answer enough questions about her to really stand on its own - it feels like a piece of deus ex machina. The custom of 'speaking for the dead' as described here, is unconvincing - a better job has been done elsewhere in Card's work.

** "Temptation" - David Brin.
I've read Brin's first 'Uplift' trilogy, but years ago. I remember thinking they were pretty all right, but haven't gotten around to the second trilogy. This short story set in that world, didn't really do it for me. It had a bit too much jammed into not enough pages, and the action and philosophy didn't quite mesh. Rather a lot of time is spent in setting up a reasonably interesting sci-fi scenario - and then it's sort of dropped: "Wait! Something new has come along! Now we are going to be faced with a philosophical dilemma having to do with the nature of reality and free will!" The terms in which the dilemma is discussed also seemed somewhat out of character for the individuals involved, as they'd been presented up until then. I also just didn't find his sentient dolphins to be very compelling characters.

** "Getting to Know the Dragon" - Robert Silverberg.
Since Silverberg's the editor, I guess he gets to put in whatever he wants! I haven't read any of Silverberg's other 'Roma Aeterna' alternate history stories, but I didn't find this one to be among his best work. Again, there are two parts to the story that don't really mesh that well. The main character, a scholar and 'Renaissance' man in a world dominated by the Roman emperor, has to deal with being co-opted into manic Imperial plans for grandiose architectural projects. The same character then reads a journal, recently unearthed from archives, telling the story of the hero Emperor Trajan's journey around the globe. Like Captain Cook or Columbus, his supposedly heroic journey was actually marked by cruelty and barbarism. The take away seems to be that a 'decadent' and peaceful society may be better than a supposedly 'progressive' one. I'm fine with that premise, but the story just didn't fully win me over.

*** "Orphans of the Helix" - Dan Simmons
For some reason, the introduction to/description of this story didn't really grab me - but I actually really liked the story itself. It effectively advertised Simmons' Hyperion books, which I haven't yet read - but definitely want to. A bit reminiscent of a Star Trek episode, this short story has the AIs of a colony ship wake some of the crew to deal with a problem they've encountered - a far-flung colony is being harassed by a seemingly automated alien 'harvester' ship. Very enjoyable.

*** "Sleeping Dogs" - Nancy Kress
Set in the world of her 'Sleepless' novels, this short story makes a bit of a side-note on how her theoretical new bio-technologies might affect the lower echelons of society. A 'trailer-trash' type family illegally purchases some genetically modified puppies. Tragedy - and revenge - ensues. Not bad, but it didn't fully transcend stereotypes.

*** "The Boy Who Would Live Forever" - Frederick Pohl
I believe this story was later expanded into a novel of the same name. It's part of the 'Heechee' saga, which, due to the silly name, I always feel ought to be absurd and comic, but is actually fairly earnest sci-fi. This is very much in the vein of 'classic sci-fi for boys.' A young man (and his buddy) are willing to stake everything on a gamble of a mission - setting out randomly in an alien ship and hoping to find something of monetary value. But what he finds exceeds his wildest dreams...

*** "The Ship that Returned" - Anne McCaffrey.
Really, more like 2.5. The brain-ship Helva (of 'The Ship Who Sang' series) is experiencing grief after the death of her elderly partner, but finds herself a mission and some coping strategies to help her deal with it. McCaffrey's very old-fashioned ideas regarding interpersonal relationships are very much on display here, but, as with most of her work, the writing style is breezily entertaining.

* "The Way of all the Ghosts" - Greg Bear
Maybe it was just my state of mind, but this story completely failed to keep my attention. I haven't read any of the associated material, so maybe that has something to do with it. The premise - a team of misfits sent to deal with some kind of problem involving a tube-shaped pocket universe and alternate timestreams - seemed much more interesting than the snoozy actuality.

2.7 rounds up to 3 - LeGuin rescued this book from being a 2. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Overall - I greatly enjoyed this collection.

I particularly liked that the stories were written from within already existing series' and it gave me a wonderful taste of a number of books and authors that I now wish too look up. It also showed me some that I expected to be a certain way that I am glad I now know otherwise ...
I highly recomend this anthology.

To do it justice, I intend on briefly touching on each story

"Old music and the Slave women"
Ursula K. Le Guin
from "The Ekumen" series
I have at times toyed with picking up one or the other of these books.
To be honest, now I am glad I didn't
Not because it appears to be poorly written, I did enjoy the short story and author's style. But I find the political intrigue type of story, just not really my taste.

"A Separate War"
Joe Haldeman
from the
"Forever War" series

This story intrigued me, Joe had a fascinating take on the reletivity effect on space travel, and a quite refreshing view on how cutures may change over hundreds or thousands of years, and what it may look like to mash them together in the same room. I definately will pick up the trilogy if I get the chance.

"Investment Councillor"
Orson Scott Card
from the "Ender" series
Who would have thought a story about a guy paying his taxes on arrival at a port could be so damn engaging?
Definatley a big thumbs up here
I have seen the Ender series in stores before but was not sure - now I am!!

David Brin
from "The Uplift Universe"

While well written and very engaging, The premise of the universe grates against me in a most umpleasant way. the assumption of a direction of evolution and that humans are 'more evolved' than other species on the planet is something I simply cannot and will not swallow, even for a sci-fi story

"Getting to know The Dragon"
Robert Silverberg
from "Roma Eterna" series

I was utterly intrigued by the concept of this series
While not set specificlaly in the future, it's an alternate history type story.
What if there was no Jesus of Nazareth?
What if the roman empire never fell?

While it seems quite political, I think this is a series that I would find great interest in. And as always, Robert Silverberg's writing is a delight to read.

"Orphans of the Helix"
Dan Simmons
from "The Hyperion Cantos"

I found this a fascinating story, and it definately engaged me to read the series.
A story rich in detail and revelation. Graphically portrays how simple commnication method missmatch could wipe out entire civilisations.

"The Boy Who Would Live Forever"
Frederik Pohl
from "Tales of the HeeChee"

Making a solid argument for gritty slum living in the space-faring future. While I found the short story entertaining. I'm really not certain if the series would fit my tastes. I'll wait on this one I think.

"A Hunger for the Infinite"
Gregory Bedford
from "The Galactic Centre Series"

A tale of self sacrifice set in brutal violence. And the machines cannot understand life.
An interesting tale well told. But not my taste.

"The Ship Who Returned"
Anne McCaffrey
from "The Ship Who Sang"

I remember reading The Ship Who Sang, I loved it, it got me started on Anne McCaffrey. The Ship Who Returned is a short story that takes place after these events - and is everything you have come to expect from Anne McCaffrey.
A definate must read.

"The Way of All Ghosts"
Greg Bear
from the Eon series

I remember having read and enjoyed Eon when I was much younger. The reading of this changed my view somewhat
I still want to re-purchase and re-read and read the rest, but there seems to be a lot of abstract ephemeral conceptual storyline that I can't seem to get a grip on. ( )
3 vote Tcubed | Oct 6, 2010 |
A wonderful collection of stories from superb writers. Well worth reading.
  Fledgist | Jul 18, 2007 |
Showing 3 of 3
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Silverberg, RobertEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bear, GregContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benford, GregoryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brin, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Card, Orson ScottContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Haldeman, JoeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kress, NancyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Le Guin, Ursula K.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McCaffrey, AnneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pohl, FrederikContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Silverberg, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Silverberg, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Simmons, DanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bridges, GregoryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380976307, Hardcover)

Far Horizons is the science fiction equivalent of Robert Silverberg's bestselling fantasy anthology Legends. For both books, Silverberg invited some of the most renowned authors in the field to write a new story based on their most popular series or settings. For instance, the first story in Far Horizons is Ursula K. Le Guin's "Old Music and the Slave Women," which takes place in the same Hainish universe as her famous novels The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed. Dan Simmons wrote a piece set in the realm of Hyperion, Anne McCaffrey turned in a Helva story from the world of The Ship Who Sang, and so on.

Like Legends, the list of writers in Far Horizons reads like a Who's Who of the genre: Le Guin, Joe Haldeman, Orson Scott Card, David Brin, Simmons, Nancy Kress, Frederik Pohl, Gregory Benford, McCaffrey and Greg Bear, as well as Silverberg himself. And like Legends, the authors take a page or two to introduce their stories so that newcomers won't be totally lost. The average story in Far Horizons is, as you might expect, a significant cut above the average SF story, although this anthology is not quite as successful as its predecessor. Authors like Le Guin and Simmons have come up with some first-rate stuff, but Card and McCaffrey have produced stories that are mediocre at best. Overall, though, the book has far more ups than downs, and serious readers won't want to miss this one. Those new to the world of SF will also find Far Horizons an invaluable reference when they're looking for good authors to read. --Craig E. Engler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:57 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An anthology of science fiction, updating famous stories. Included are updates of Robert Silverberg's alternate Roman empire, Anne McCaffrey's the sentient ship, Helva, and Nancy Kress' conflict between genetically engineered people.

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