Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Starry Rift Edited by Jonathan Strahan

Books Completed: 27
Completion Date: January 29, 2009
Pages: 530
Publication Date: April 22, 2008

Reason for Reading: Recommendation, Sci-Fi Experience
Truly successful science fiction does two things: it gives credible glimpses into the future while entertaining the reader. With this in mind, noted anthologist Jonathan Strahan-who is also the reviews editor of Locus magazine-asked sixteen of today's most inventive, compelling writers to look past the horizon of the present day. Neil Gaiman (Anansi Boys), Kelly Link (Magic for Beginners), Garth Nix (the Abhorsen Trilogy), Scott Westerfeld (Uglies; Pretties; Specials) and their colleagues have crafted a dazzling range of stories. Whether on spaceships, in suburbia, or in simulated gaming worlds, whether about cloning, battle tactics, or corporate politics, the stories of The Starry Rift will give every reader something to consider. This original anthology is crucial reading for those who want to see where the future-and the future of science fiction-is headed.
So, I am not exactly a person that reads a lot of short story collections. Once in a while they appear on my radar, though, and I feel I need to at least give them a try. The Starry Rift is a book that I have seen reviewed a few times lately, and I decided that it was worth giving a try. There are a lot of award-winning authors in this collection. Some, this is the first time I have read them, while others were authors that I have experienced before. There are sixteen stories in this book, and I think the easiest thing to do is to say something on each story individually. I actually liked all the stories in this book. Some were better than others, but there is not really any in here that I can say I hated and couldn't wait to see the end of. That says something about a collection.

Ass-Hat Magic Spider by Scott Westerfield - This is actually the story that inspired me to get this book. I had heard good things about it, and Carl recommended it to me. This really is a story about a girl that will do anything for a book. I think it is a story that many people can relate to, even if science-fiction is not their usual type of reading. It was also the first time I have read Scott Westerfield, but I have Uglies out from the library right now.

Cheats by Ann Halam - This is a story about a future where you can be inside video games. Instead of using a controller, like most video games today, you can get right inside and experience. The children in this book do not like the players that abuse the system, though, and are attempting to fix the problem.

Orange by Neil Gaiman - I have read Neil Gaiman before, but he is rather hit or miss with me. I have to say, though, I really liked the idea behind this story. You are only given the answers, so you have to figure out the questions yourself. It makes for an interesting story!

The Surfer by Kelly Link - This is the story of aliens. I have watched a lot of shows where aliens are a possibility, and I think I for the most part believe in extraterrestrials. This is a scary future, though. By the sounds of it, humans have become immune to most forms of medication, so a flu-epidemic is a scary thing. This is a group of people under quarrantine, and a man has a suitcase full of science-fiction books that he uses as a sort of library. I like the idea!

Repair Kit by Stephen Baxter - I liked this story, but I have to say... The ending hurt my head. I think I am a bit too practical with some things, and I couldn't wrap my head around how the repair kit worked. I am not going to say much more because I don't want to give anything away.

The Dismantled Invention of Fate by Jeffrey Ford - This story was actually a bit complex, but then it was about fate and fate is a bit complex. It doesn't really make a lot of sense at first, but when the ending is reached and everything is cleared up I was impressed by it.

Anda's Game by Cory Doctorow - Another story about video games. The author says in his note he is addressing how people are becoming desensitized to violence. That is something that is happening nowadays, to be truthful. The story is also about the new wave of harsh treatment in sweatshops in Mexico. It was an interesting idea.

Sundiver Day by Kathleen Ann Goonan - What if you could clone the person that you loved, would you? This story looks at the moral and emotional results of this option.

The Dust Assassin by Ian McDonald - This is a sad story, actually. I really felt bad for the main character by the end. There is some very cool technology available in this story!

The Star Surgeon's Apprentice by Alastair Reynolds - A story about pirates! I really don't read enough about pirates... It is also about some not so friendly cyborgs.

An Honest Day's Work by Margo Lanagan - Okay, I was wrong. I forgot I didn't really care for this story. I just found I couldn't get caught up in it, and I hardly even remember it, though it is has only been a couple days since I finished it.

Lost Continent by Greg Egan - My second Greg Egan short story. He is a pretty good short story writer, I must say. This is a story about the ability to travel to the future to escape from wars in the past. They think that life will be better for them there, but things don't always work out how you planned.

Incomers by Paul McAuley - This story might take place on a moon of Saturn, but it could just as easily be taking place on Earth. It is a story of how people are so interested in the modern world that they live in, but forget about the past that got them there. Other things happen, but I think that is an important message.

Post-Ironic Stress Syndrome by Tricia Sullivan - Another story about technological advances, but instead of a game, they are fighting for the world. It doesn't exactly turn out how they planned, though.

Infestation by Garth Nix - A vampire story! What's a short story collection without vampires. It gives a really interesting twist on the usual story, though.

Pinocchio by Walter Jon Williams - I was really interested to learn why this story had this name. It totally baffled me as the story started, but as I started to get into the story I couldn't help being really impressed by the relationship between the title and story.

And, that's the collection! I have another collection edited by Jonathan Strahan coming to me from Carl, so I will be interested to see if it is just as good!


  1. I just have to smile. I didn't care for An Honest Day's Work either. In fact, it is the only story I abandoned in the book.

  2. Oh, I remembered in your review that you abandoned a story, but I couldn't figure out which one without the book read. I meant to go back and see after I finished, but I forgot and now you answered!

  3. I'm glad that you enjoyed the collection, especially since short stories and sci fi aren't the things you are most often drawn to. I've read the first three and really enjoyed them. I need to get back into this soon before the library police come knocking on my door!!!

  4. Carl: It was good! I had to read it so I could return it to the library, too! I am trying not to have too many books out from the library at one time. :)

  5. Glad to hear you consider it a winner overall. One loser out of fifteen isn't too bad, huh? I've only read the first four so far, but have really enjoyed each of them!

  6. I didn't know there was a Garth Nix story in this book! I want it even more now. And I'm sorry to hear you didn't care for the Margo Lanagan story. I ordered her book Tender Morsels last week; hopefully that will be better. Well, it's a fairy tale retelling, and those hardly ever go wrong for me :P

  7. Debi: Yeah, it was good overall. I am glad I read it!

    Nymeth: I will curious to see that review! Fairy Tale retellings are always good...

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