cover image North of Infinity: Futurity Visions

North of Infinity: Futurity Visions

Edo Van Belkom, Robert J. Sawyer, Colleen Anderson. Mosaic Press (NY), $14.95 (200pp) ISBN 978-0-88962-634-8

The 12 authors--all Canadian--whose work is represented in this collection try to predict humanity's future and examine what it is that makes us human. For the most part, their visions are original, but none will make readers look up from the page in wonder. Some of the writing is transparent, some of it clever. Many of the stories stop just short of a solid ending. Themes include desolation and hope for recovering the lost soul of humanity. In ""All My Family"" by Colleen Anderson, a small band of survivors tries to live humanely in an inhumane world at war with an emotionless alien race. Another theme is that of acceptance. In ""Roots of the Soul"" by Dale L. Sproule, a bioengineered forest holds records of humanity from the pre-apocalyptic Earth and finally accepts human connections again. In Ray Deonandan's ""The Reef,"" an alien planet becomes a part of the people who colonize it. ""Where the Heart Is"" by Robert J. Sawyer, in which most of humanity has been downloaded into a computer network, suggests that the existence of the species does not rely on corporeal human beings. ""Roadkill"" by Edo van Belkom shows that the scum of the human race will live on even when the world has been turned upside down by a plague that creates zombies. Most of the tales are engrossing enough, but the collection's main strength, such as it is, is the snapshot it provides of the current state of Canadian SF. (Sept.)