cover image The Planet on the Table

The Planet on the Table

Kim Stanley Robinson. Tor Books, $14.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-312-93595-5

In the past two years Robinson has published three well-received novels. This, his first collection of shorter work, is comprised of eight stories, including a World Fantasy Award winner and several Hugo and Nebula nominees. Robinson's strengths are a clean, clear style and a depth of characterization unusual for science fiction. Among the stories are ""The Lucky Strike,'' which tells about bombardier Frank January, who in an alternate World War II, refuses to drop the Hiroshima bomb, a gesture that lands him in front of a firing squad and eventually ignites a world-wide peace and disarmament movement. In the award-winning novelette, ``Black Air,'' a boy pressed into service on La Lavia, a galleon in the Spanish Armada, witnesses death in many forms when the Armada is smashed and La Lavia helplessly sails ever northward. The other tales here are similarly strong and imaginative. (July 1)