Elizabeth Bear, . . Hadley Rille, $15.95 (316pp) ISBN 978-0-9825140-9-2
Hiding under dreadful cover art, this exceptional science fiction anthology from Reynolds, publisher of Hadley Rille, and short fiction author Adani explores first contact scenarios and interactions between human and alien cultures. Standout selections include K.D. Wentworth's “The Embians,” in which two postgraduate students researching alien communication stumble across a life-changing revelation; “One Awake in All the World” by Robert T. Jeschonek, an unlikely love story that pits two space-faring “exterminators” against a horde of nightmarish monstrosities; and Michael A. Burstein's sublimely moving “Hope,” about a time traveler who returns to a generation ship to warn his ancestors about their less-than-idyllic destination. The strengths of this 21-story anthology are its diversity, cerebral speculation, and stellar storytelling, which breathe new life into well-worn themes.
Reviewed on: 01/18/2010