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The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction,…

The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Vol. 1

by George Mann (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction (1)

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181565,444 (3.52)4



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Showing 5 of 5
Several years ago, I read and enjoyed volume three of this series, so looping back to the beginning seemed warranted, although "new science fiction" hardly applies at this point. It's a decent anthology, though not as good as remember that later one being. Unfortunately, it doesn't start strong, as I found Jeffrey Thomas's "In His Sights" pretty difficult to get into, with lengthy exposition dumps starting right on the first page, but it eventually picked up for me with a fun time travel story in Peter F. Hamilton's "If At First..." and Stephen Baxter's apocalyptic "Last Contact."

"Cages" by Ian Watson, about aliens who introduce disabilities to the human race, was fascinating even if I didn't understand it and Mary A. Turzillo's "Zora and the Land Ethic Nomads" was a great, personal-level story set on Mars. Those four are seemingly it for strong stories, alas, though there are number of decent ones. Many of the middling ones run afoul of that old nemesis of science fiction: the writer who has an idea, but not a story. I wanted to love "The Bowlder Strain" by James Lovegrove (about a virus that removes your ability to swear) and "Personal Jesus" by Paul Di Filippo (about aliens who give everyone on Earth an iPod that lets them talk to God), but both had these amazing concepts wedded to insubstantial stories.

Special excoriation must be reserved for Mike Resnick & David Gerrold's "Jellyfish," about a Philip K. Dick/Kurt Vonnegut pastiche cleverly named "Dillon K. Filk" who... listen, I don't even know. It's the worst sort of metafiction: lazy, in-jokey, and knowing. I rarely hate stories as much as I hated this, but this was really a complete waste of every one of the 38 pages it was printed on. After ten pages have been wasted on basically nothing, then you get more and more expys of famous authors: "E. A. van der Vogel" (ugh), "Belevedere Atheling" (double ugh), "Robert Goldenboy" (really? are you even trying?), and then a whole page that just lists these I-am-sure-they-are-so-hilarious-to-Resnick-and-Gerrold-and-their-friends parody names of writer after writer after writer, culminating with "whatsisname, that sissy little creep who sold that stupid script to Star Truck while still in college, stealing the opportunity from a real science fiction writer." As if David Gerrold ever crossed the radar of Dick or Vonnegut; dream on, fanboy. It was at this point that I swore violently and went on to the next story, because life is too short. This story and Brian Aldiss's contribution ("The Four Ladies of the Apocalypse") make me think Mann was willing to take any old shit from famous writers to bolster his book.

Wow, I wasted a lot of words on it, but I seriously hated that story, and it remains my strongest emotional reaction to the book. Thankfully, I know the series will do better work later on.
  Stevil2001 | Apr 11, 2014 |

There were a couple of stories I liked here - Stephen Baxter's "Last Contact", and Keith Brooke's "The Accord" (which I note were also the two picked by Gardner Dozois for his annual collection) - many which didn't especially grab me, and one awful attempt to channel Kurt Vonnegut by Mike Resnick and David Gerrold. ( )
  nwhyte | Oct 7, 2012 |
Hopes were pinned on Windbag for two reasons. First, its symptoms were less startlingly dramatic than Bowdler''s, and nowhere near as unsettling. Second, by its very nature, Windbag instilled the avoidance of vulgarity. No-one who caught Windbag would resort to four-letter words, not while they were so enthusiastically utilizing fourteen-letter words. The full range of the English language was theirs to command, so what need was there to wallow amid the baser idioms when altogether more refined and elegant modes of expression were available? from "The Bowdler Strain".

My favourite stories were "Personal Jesus", the amusing tale of "The Bowdler Strain" and the poignant "Last Contact", but overall this was a very good selection of stories. ( )
  isabelx | Feb 20, 2011 |
If this is the future of science fiction, the genre is in real trouble. This collection contains several predictable stories and one self-parody by Resnick and Gerrold that is particularly painful. The only story that I really liked was midway through the book, If At First... by Peter Hamilton, a nice twist on time travel. There is an End of the World elegiac tale, Last Contact by Stephen Baxter and two tales of alien intervention, one horrific (Personal Jesus by Paul di Filippo) and one hopeful (The Farewell Party by Eric Brown). Unfortunately both of them were predictable from start to finish. From now on I will stick to the magazines. Yes, there are horrible stories in them, but every so often...a gem! ( )
  kd9 | Oct 17, 2007 |
The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction is a collection of sixteen short stories from the new Solaris book line whose parent company happens to be Black Library, whose parent company happens to be Games Workshop, the guys who do Warhammer and stuff. Anyway out of the sixteen stories, only six of the stories were my cup of tea – this being a British imprint and all. With Bowdler, Personal Jesus, and Jellyfish being my favorites. On another website that reviews sci-fi and fantasy, Jellyfish is trashed momentously. I happened to find this particular story the best of the bunch and will be looking for novels by both Mike Resnick and David Gerrold (the coauthors) in the very near future. Overall, a .375 average for a short story anthology is not bad. Not great but definitely a good start for this new imprint. ( )
  BruderBane | Jun 1, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mann, GeorgeEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baxter, StephenContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The eclectic stories and novelettes in this collection range from futuristic murder mysteries, to widescreen space opera, to tales of contact with alien beings.

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