cover image Crystal Nights and Other Stories

Crystal Nights and Other Stories

Greg Egan, . . Subterranean, $35 (310pp) ISBN 978-1-59606-240-5

Subterranean offers readers a representative sampling of Hugo winner Egan's distinctive hard SF, drawing from previously uncollected stories. Two of the nine stories are from the 1990s, two from the early 2000s and five postdating Egan's hiatus from writing while he campaigned for refugee human rights in Australia. Steadfastly reductionist, Egan nevertheless makes room for the moral implications of the treatment of refugees in “Lost Continent,” while “Crystal Nights” offers a pointed critique of technologists enthused by the idea of enslaved creations. Unfortunately, Egan can be heavy-handed at times, as in “Oracle,” where the character Jack serves as a straw-man version of C.S. Lewis. More conventional SF puzzle stories like “Hot Rock” and “Tap” and a forcefully worded introduction on the ethics of artificial intelligence round out the volume. (Sept.)