cover image Women of Futures Past: Classic Stories

Women of Futures Past: Classic Stories

Edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Baen, $16 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-4767-8161-7

Veteran editor Rusch assembles a wholly engaging and varied anthology of speculative tales covering the depth of the genre and spanning its history. Rusch’s enthusiasm for speculative fiction and deep knowledge of the genre’s history shines through the opening essay and the introduction paired with each story. But the tales themselves are the true stars: smart, beautiful, gracefully aged, and still challenging, each builds on the others in the collection. Particular standouts are Lois McMaster Bujold’s “Aftermaths,” which follows a small crew sent to retrieve bodies after a battle and delicately tracks a young officer’s growing respect for the job; Leigh Brackett’s “The Last Days of Shandakor,” a rich recovery from the pulp era, in which an Earth anthropologist witnesses the final end of an ancient Martian race and comes to respect the alien only too late; and Pat Cadigan’s “Angel,” the edgy and sensitive story of a friendship between an outcast human and an angel cast out from its world and banished to Earth. This anthology is modern and fresh enough to be valued by readers with contemporary tastes, and wealthy in the charm and tropes that draw fans of the classics. (Sept.)