cover image Synergy: New Science Fiction

Synergy: New Science Fiction

. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $8.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-15-687701-5

This second volume demonstrates that Zebrowski's original anthology series continues to establish its credentials slowly and quietly. If the editor's call-to-arms introduction asks more than this sampling can deliver, his points about the dilemma of SF as a genre are well taken. James Morrow's clever ""Diary of a Mad Deity'' describes a multiple personality so extreme that the teeming other selves form families and then countries, fighting out their differences within one body. ``French Scenes'' by Howard Waldrop takes a leaf from classic avant-garde cinema to consider new films made with deceased actors, computer-animated from their old movies. The centerpiece of the issue is the late James Tiptree Jr.'s (in 1987 she committed suicide after killing her aged husband in a suicide pact) mordant response to the Peggy Sue Got Married type of time-travel films that suggest life is precious and we learn from our experiences. Not so here. Cold, ambitious Diane Fortnum only seems to be content with her reduced lot in a post-Crash world. When the high-school student spends a month seeing her own circumstances at age 50, she takes drastic action. Even better is Marc Laidlaw and Rudy Rucker's wacky, inventive ``Probability Pipeline,'' in which a drugged-out surfer builds a board that creates the waves and realizes wishes. Robert Frazier offers an example of the innovative art form, SF poetry, and Andrew Joron ponders this newest genre in an essay. (April)