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Worlds Enough & Time: Five Tales of…
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Worlds Enough & Time: Five Tales of Speculative Fiction (original 2002; edition 2002)

by Dan Simmons (Author)

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440944,140 (3.66)8
An extraordinary artist with few rivals in his chosen arena, Dan Simmons possesses a restless talent that continually presses boundaries while tantalizing the mind and touching the soul. Now he offers us a superb quintet of novellas -- five dazzling masterworks of speculative fiction, including "Orphans of the Helix," his award-winning return to the Hyperion Universe -- that demonstrates the unique mastery, breathtaking invention, and flawless craftsmanship of one of contemporary fiction's true greats. Human colonists seeking something other than godhood encounter their long-lost "cousins"...and an ancient scourge. A devastated man in suicide's embrace is caught up in a bizarre cat-and-mouse game with a young woman possessing a world-ending power. The distant descendants of a once-oppressed people learn a chilling lesson about the persistence of the past. A terrifying ascent up the frigid, snow-swept slopes of K2 shatters preconceptions and reveals the true natures of four climbers, one of whom is not human. At the intersection of a grand past and a threadbare present, an aging American in Russia confronts his own mortality as he glimpses a wondrous future.… (more)
Member:pbeagan
Title:Worlds Enough & Time: Five Tales of Speculative Fiction
Authors:Dan Simmons (Author)
Info:Harper Voyager (2002), 272 pages
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Worlds Enough and Time by Dan Simmons (2002)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Pretty solid collection of five novellas, four of which had been previously published.

The best is the opener, "Looking for Kelly Dahl," in which an alcoholic ex-teacher, on the verge of suicide, is visited by one of his former, troubled students. Beautiful and moving.

"Orphans of the Helix" is set within the author's [b:Hyperion|77566|Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1)|Dan Simmons|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1332885131s/77566.jpg|1383900] universe. A generation ship encounters an alien distress signal, but heeding it may be more complicated than it appears. The main story can be understood without having read the associated volumes, though the final scene is a head-scratcher. This story actually began as a potential Star Trek episode. (It's easy to see how it would have translated.)

In "The Ninth of Av," a future civilization prepares for transition to a posthuman state. It speculates that even in the year 3000, Jews will still be victims of ethnic cleansing, but it is vague about it. I have no idea what the Scott expedition had to do with any of it.

"On K2 with Kanakaredes" has a trio of mountain climbers accompanying an alien (whose race has settled on Earth) up that most dangerous of mountains, in exchange for a trip to an even more glorious challenge.

In "The End of Gravity," a writer travels to Russia to learn about its space program and makes a personal connection with a female would-be cosmonaut frustrated by her culture's gender biases. Another touching and poetic story.

Worth reading for the first and last pieces, especially. ( )
  chaosfox | Feb 22, 2019 |
A collection of 5 "long short-stories" by Simmons, with introductions by the author.

* "Looking for Kelly Dahl"
I'd read this one before, I think in a "Year's Best SF" collection for 1996.
It's a surreal but memorable story of a burned-out, alcoholic teacher, who's emotionally suffering from the death of his son and his subsequent divorce. In an all-too-real dreamworld(?), he's being hunted down by Kelly Dahl, a former student whom, he believes, he failed to help - he didn't see the clues that she came from an abusive home situation. Through violence and anger, is there a hope of redemption?

* "Orphans of the Helix"
Inspired by Simmons' being asked to write an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, but set in his world of Hyperion/Endymion. It does have a very Star-Trek-like plot. A far-voyaging colony ship intercepts a distress call, far from human space. The locals have settled on a giant tree-helix around their sun - which was already there when they arrived. Their problem? Every 57 years a giant harvester-ship arrives, and munches up part of their settlements. They ask the well-armed colony ship to destroy this destructive threat. But ethical issues come into play - does the harvester belong to anyone? Does another civilisation depend on it for their survival? Only days remain before the next disaster strikes... Although it sounds simple, the background of the story is complex and rich, informed by Simmons' previous world-building.

* "The Ninth of Av"
This is a weird story. In the intro, Simmons complains that most people don't like it and/or don't "get it." Sadly, I might have to go down as on of those people. In 3001, humans are nearly extinct, wiped out by a disease. A seemingly benevolent race of aliens has helped the remnants of humanity (who are all descended from ethnic Jews) survive, giving them extended life spans - but they are infertile. The aliens have also given humanity teleportation ("faxing"). But the day of the Final Fax is approaching. The aliens have told humans that they are going put them "on hold" for 10,000 years, while they renovate the earth. But are they really planning to bring humans back? Or is it a mysterious plot to wipe out the Jews once and for all?

* "On K2 with Kanakaredes"
Mantis-like aliens have sent a delegation to Earth. But they live quietly in the Antarctic, and communication is virtually nil. When a young alien pulls some strings to be allowed to join a trio of human climbers who are planning an expedition to the famously treacherous mountain peak known as K2, the State Department looks on it as an unprecedented chance to find out more about the race. But facing adversity and Nature together, a more significant event that the Secretary of State might have hoped for happens - from being ultimate strangers, the climbers, human and alien, truly become a team.

* "The End of Gravity"
Probably the weakest of these stories, but still an interesting piece. An aging writer, in ill-health, is sent to Russia to interview cosmonauts regarding the Russian space program. He meets a woman who's hit the "glass ceiling" in the program due to her gender, and some philosophical thoughts ensue. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
A great collection of fantasy, sci-fi and fiction. One of the better short story collections I've ever read. ( )
  Karlstar | May 12, 2015 |
Five long-form tales from Dan Simmons. Two revisit old territory: 'Orphans of the Helix' is set in the Hyperion universe and, more interestingly, 'The Ninth of Av' is a prequel or a proto-part of Olympos (my favourite work by Mr Simmons, and the best of these tales). Three are singletons, but not the worse for it. I enjoyed the mountain climbing tale 'On K2 with Kanakaredes', which was humorous and evocative and up there with the other works of the mountain-climbing SF-and-fantasy sub-genre including Fritz Leiber, E.R.Eddison and Kim Stanley Robinson. The other two tales, 'Looking for Kelly Dahl' and 'The End of Gravity' were competent but not the picks of the bunch. ( )
  questbird | Aug 21, 2014 |
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An extraordinary artist with few rivals in his chosen arena, Dan Simmons possesses a restless talent that continually presses boundaries while tantalizing the mind and touching the soul. Now he offers us a superb quintet of novellas -- five dazzling masterworks of speculative fiction, including "Orphans of the Helix," his award-winning return to the Hyperion Universe -- that demonstrates the unique mastery, breathtaking invention, and flawless craftsmanship of one of contemporary fiction's true greats. Human colonists seeking something other than godhood encounter their long-lost "cousins"...and an ancient scourge. A devastated man in suicide's embrace is caught up in a bizarre cat-and-mouse game with a young woman possessing a world-ending power. The distant descendants of a once-oppressed people learn a chilling lesson about the persistence of the past. A terrifying ascent up the frigid, snow-swept slopes of K2 shatters preconceptions and reveals the true natures of four climbers, one of whom is not human. At the intersection of a grand past and a threadbare present, an aging American in Russia confronts his own mortality as he glimpses a wondrous future.

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