cover image Mammoth Book of Modern Science Fiction: Short Novels of the 1980s

Mammoth Book of Modern Science Fiction: Short Novels of the 1980s

Jon E. Lewis. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $9.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-88184-959-2

With its 10 entries, this volume gathers enough authorial star power to keep readers dazzled. As with the best science fiction, the stories gathered here illuminate not only the world of tomorrow, but more importantly, the depths of the human soul. Among the outstanding stories is James Tiptree, Jr.'s tale of Earth in a distant future where sexuality has been forgotten. People surrender their physical being to go ``on the river,'' a kind of interstellar organic mainframe. Despite their desire to return to the old ways--hunt food, raise their own children--the last couple on Earth fall under the river's spell. Through their resistance Tiptree seems to say that humanity will always endure, even if reduced to an electronic impulse. Walter Jon Williams delves into the passions of scientific research and love, in a story in which a scientist becomes the subject in someone else's experiment. Anthony loves Philana, even when he discovers that she's controlled by a Kyklops, an alien who is curious about sex. Should Anthony allow his jealousy and anger to rip Philana apart? When he turns for help to the huge undersea Dwellers that he has been studying, the answer that surfaces is both elegant and surprising. Also contributing to this volume are Robert Silverberg, Kim Stanley Robinson and Poul Anderson. (July)