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Galactic Empires

by Neil Clarke (Editor)

Other authors: Neal Asher (Contributor), John Barnes (Contributor), Neal Berger (Contributor), Tobias S. Buckell (Contributor), Gwendolyn Clare (Contributor)19 more, Aliette de Bodard (Contributor), Greg Egan (Contributor), John G. Hemry (Contributor), Toni Justamante Jacobs (Cover artist), Ann Leckie (Contributor), Yoon Ha Lee (Contributor), Paul J. McAuley (Contributor), Ian McDonald (Contributor), Ruth Nestvold (Contributor), Naomi Novik (Contributor), Robert Reed (Contributor), Alastair Reynolds (Contributor), Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Contributor), Brandon Sanderson (Contributor), Ken Scholes (Contributor), Robert Silverberg (Contributor), Melinda Snodgrass (Contributor), Steve Rasnic Tem (Contributor), Robert Charles Wilson (Contributor)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
832238,045 (3.56)4
"Over all this anthology is mostly hits, remarkably few misses. Highly recommended."--N.K. Jemisin, New York Times Book Review Neil Clarke, publisher of the award-winning Clarkesworld magazine, presents a collection of thought-provoking and galaxy-spanning array of galactic short science fiction. From E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman, to George Lucas' Star Wars, the politics and process of Empire have been a major subject of science fiction's galaxy-spanning fictions. The idiom of the Galactic Empire allows science fiction writers to ask (and answer) questions that are shorn of contemporary political ideologies and allegiances. This simple narrative slight of hand allows readers and writers to see questions and answers from new and different perspectives. The stories in this book do just that. What social, political, and economic issues do the organizing structure of "empire" address? Often the size, shape, and fates of empires are determined not only by individuals, but by geography, natural forces, and technology. As the speed of travel and rates of effective communication increase, so too does the size and reach of an Imperial bureaucracy. Sic itur ad astra--"Thus one journeys to the stars." At the beginning of the twentieth century, writers such as Kipling and Twain were at the forefront of these kinds of narrative observations, but as the century drew to a close, it was writers like Iain M. Banks who helped make science fiction relevant. That tradition continues today, with award-winning writers like Ann Leckie, whose 2013 debut novel Ancillary Justice hinges upon questions of imperialism and empire. Here then is a diverse collection of stories that asks the questions that science fiction asks best. Empire: How? Why? And to what effect? Table of Contents: - "Winning Peace" by Paul J. McAuley - "Night's Slow Poison" by Ann Leckie - "All the Painted Stars" by Gwendolyn Clare - "Firstborn" by Brandon Sanderson - "Riding the Crocodile" by Greg Egan - "The Lost Princess Man" by John Barnes - "The Waiting Stars" by Aliette de Bodard - "Alien Archeology" by Neal Asher - "The Muse of Empires Lost" by Paul Berger - "Ghostweight" by Yoon Ha Lee - "A Cold Heart" by Tobias S. Buckell - "The Colonel Returns to the Stars" by Robert Silverberg - "The Impossibles" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch - "Utriusque Cosmi" by Robert Charles Wilson - "Section Seven" by John G. Hemry - "The Invisible Empire of Ascending Light" by Ken Scholes - "The Man with the Golden Balloon" by Robert Reed - "Looking Through Lace" by Ruth Nestvold - "A Letter from the Emperor" by Steve Rasnic Tem - "The Wayfarer's Advice" by Melinda M. Snodgrass - "Seven Years from Home" by Naomi Novik - "Verthandi's Ring" by Ian McDonald Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science fiction (space opera, time travel, hard SF, alien invasion, near-future dystopia), fantasy (grimdark, sword and sorcery, contemporary urban fantasy, steampunk, alternative history), and horror (zombies, vampires, and the occult and supernatural), and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller, a national bestseller, or a Hugo or Nebula award-winner, we are committed to publishing quality books from a diverse group of authors.… (more)



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This was a great collection of science fiction short stories with imperial themes. Some of the stories got political, focusing on the effects empires have on individual peoples and cultures, while others focused on other subjects which they simply overlaid on an imperial setting. My absolute favorite story in this collection was "Looking Through Lace" by Ruth Nestvold, which told the story of a team of linguists, sociologists, etc. studying a culture in which the men and women have separate languages. I particularly loved the way that it put into words the differences by which typical humans view femininity and masculinity; that actions which typically make people regard men as less masculine are viewed as beneath men and unimportant, while actions which typically make people regard women as less feminine are those which are often viewed as too difficult or important for women to manage.

Some of my other favorites from this anthology include:
All the Painted Stars by Gwendolyn Clare
The Impossibles by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Utriusque Cosmi by Robert Charles Wilson
The Man with the Golden Balloon by Robert Reed

The only major critique that I have of this anthology is that, due to the nature of the theme, several of these stories did have the same general feel to them and thus tended to run together in my mind after I finished the book. ( )
  NovelInsights | Sep 21, 2019 |
A big anthology themed around space empires.
Despite this specific theme the stories are diverse both in content, style and length. On the whole they are very good.

“Winning Peace” by Paul J. McAuley (*****)
“Night’s Slow Poison” by Ann Leckie (**) - Would probably rate higher had I read more about this universe.
“All the Painted Stars” by Gwendolyn Clare (*****)
“Firstborn” by Brandon Sanderson (*****)
“Riding the Crocodile” by Greg Egan (*****)
“The Lost Princess Man” by John Barnes (****)
“The Waiting Stars” by Aliette de Bodard (***)
“Alien Archeology” by Neal Asher (**)
“The Muse of Empires Lost” by Paul Berger (***)
“Ghostweight” by Yoon Ha Lee (**)
“A Cold Heart” by Tobias S. Buckell (***)
“The Colonel Returns to the Stars” by Robert Silverberg (*)
“The Impossibles” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (****)
“Utriusque Cosmi” by Robert Charles Wilson (****)
“Section Seven” by John G. Hemry (*)
“The Invisible Empire of Ascending Light” by Ken Scholes (***)
“The Man with the Golden Balloon” by Robert Reed (***)
“Looking Through Lace” by Ruth Nestvold (***)
“A Letter from the Emperor” by Steve Rasnic Tem (***)
“The Wayfarer’s Advice” by Melinda M. Snodgrass (****)
“Seven Years from Home” by Naomi Novik (****)
“Verthandi’s Ring” by Ian McDonald (**) ( )
  igorken | Nov 1, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clarke, NeilEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Asher, NealContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barnes, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berger, NealContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buckell, Tobias S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clare, GwendolynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Bodard, AlietteContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Egan, GregContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hemry, John G.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jacobs, Toni JustamanteCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leckie, AnnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, Yoon HaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McAuley, Paul J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McDonald, IanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nestvold, RuthContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Novik, NaomiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reed, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reynolds, AlastairContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rusch, Kristine KathrynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sanderson, BrandonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Scholes, KenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Silverberg, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snodgrass, MelindaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tem, Steve RasnicContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wilson, Robert CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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This is not the same as the Galactic Empires anthologies edited by Brian W. Aldiss, nor Gardner Dozois.
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