The Winds of Marble Arch – Connie Willis

A collection of stories from Connie Willis. I’ve been reading Connie Willis for over twenty years now, in a somewhat haphazard way. I’ve come away with an impression of low-key, well-written work that doesn’t particularly stand out. When I saw this collection, I took the opportunity to add Willis to my ebook collection and revisit some old stories. I’m sorry to say that the passage of time hasn’t given me cause to change my opinion.…

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Edges – Ursula K. Le Guin & Virginia Kidd

A baker’s dozen of speculative fiction stories. A while back, someone commented on a review of M. J. Engh’s Arslan, and mentioned that her finest work was difficult to find – a novella that had only seen print in an anthology called Edges. I’m a fan of Engh, but didn’t recall the novella. I did recall, however that I had Edges somewhere in my library. I dug up my unusually battered copy and gave it…

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Deep Future – Eric Brown

A collection of speculative fiction stories, including some related to the Kethani universe. I first encountered Eric Brown via his novel Helix, which I thought was interesting in a Ringworld or Jack McDevitt kind of way – an intriguing alien artifact explored – while remaining lightish adventure. I picked up several of Brown’s other books to find them quite different – understated speculation in a vaguely Richard Cowperish style, but without the same depth. Then…

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Wonders of the Invisible World – Patricia A. McKillip

A collection of short stories, often with a more real-world feel than McKillip’s usual. “This is not at all what I expected the unexpected to be like.” I don’t like everything Patricia McKillip has ever written. I was straight out bored by The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and didn’t care much for her Moon Flash or Cygnet duologies. But I’ve loved pretty much everything else she’s written. I was taken aback recently to encounter someone…

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Out of Here – Patty Jansen

A collection of fantasy and science fiction stories with a slight tilt towards Australia. There were a variety of interesting ideas here, from enchanted highways to novel dead-end careers. The stories tend, on average, toward the pessimistic, but there are upbeat tales as well – mostly in the form of light gags. Unfortunately, the prose in which the stories and ideas are presented, is often not up to the task. That’s not to say the…

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Carbide Tipped Pens – Ben Bova & Eric Choi

A collection of stories focused on new hard science fiction. I like to believe that I used to be a scientist, and I do retain a faint memory of that period, along with some leftover jargon. When I started to read science fiction, hard SF was a key part of it, and no doubt bolstered my feeling that this was serious stuff, not just escapism. Along, probably, with everyone else, I’ve noted a decline in…

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