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I have a burning need to know stuff and I love asking awkward questions.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Just Finished Reading: Engineering Infinity edited by Jonathan Strahan

I love Hard SF – SF with a hard scientific or engineering edge. It can still have spaceships and aliens and even time-machines but everything must have a firm foundation in science. I’ve even read Hard SF with equations and detailed diagrams to add to the over all realism of the story.

But not to put off the more casual reader I can tell you that none of the 14 short stories in this particular volume have either equations or diagrams of any sort. What it does have are a wide variety of SF from the skies over a future battlefield where semi-intelligent craft battle it out against human ground targets and its ‘malfunctioning’ sister craft who have yet to attain full sentience (Malak by Peter Watts), an ‘upgraded’ child who cannot function in the world without her music (Watching the Music Dance by Kristine Kathryn Rusch), a group of dissident Soviet Communists using outdated atomic propulsion to launch themselves to a new life on Mars (Laika’s Ghost by Karl Schroeder), a ‘first contact’ situation that turns out to be something quite different a deeply disturbing (The Invasion of Venus by Stephen Baxter), the crew of a deep space probe blasted by high energy radiation trying to survive the degrading of all of their IT including that housed in their own brains (Bit Rot by Charles Stross) and a very strange story indeed where a collector of old movies is sent a film depicting himself decades before his was born and starring grandchildren he has yet to have (Walls of Flesh, Bars of Bone by Damien Broderick and Barbara Lamar).

As usual with collections of short stories the quality (or maybe just the appeal) varies. On the whole though this was a pretty good selection of modern SF across a whole spectrum of sub-genres. Definitely recommended for anyone with an interest in the more scientific end of the SF continuum.


Vancouver Voyeur said...

Sounds fascinating. I love most sci-fi but never have any time to read it.

CyberKitten said...

Then short stories are definitely for you!

Vancouver Voyeur said...

My iPad is full for the cruise, but if I get through it all I might pick this one up as well.

dbackdad said...

Though I have a quite a few anthologies, I don't often read the short story collections. I don't know why. I guess I just like being immersed in a longer story.

CK said, "I love Hard SF – SF with a hard scientific or engineering edge ... everything must have a firm foundation in science." -- Well said. Me to a "T". Hard SF is by far my favorite.