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Edited by Kevin J. Anderson and John McFetridge. ECW (PGW/Legato, U.S. dist.; Jaguar Book Group, Canadian dist.), $16.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-77041-292-7

The music of legendary Canadian prog rock troupe Rush is heavily influenced by science fiction and fantasy, so this anthology of short fiction "loosely based [on], thematically linked [to], or directly inspired [by]" by their songs is not as outlandish as it might appear. Befitting the muse, most of the tales amassed by editors/authors Anderson and McFetridge fall within the realm of speculative fiction; David Farland's "Players" and Tim Lasiuta's "Hollywood Dreams of Death" eschew the fantastical, but are (perhaps ironically) the weakest pieces. Greg van Eekhout's geekily wonderful "On the Fringes of the Fractal" is a standout, a dystopian take on a suburb where two friends and their genetically-modified Dalmatian, Miss Spotty Pants, seek to reclaim their individuality. Michael Z. Williamson's "The Digital Kid" and Brad R. Torgerson's "Spirits with Visions" are loving tributes to scientific passion and curiosity, while McFetridge's own "Random Access Memory" is a Philip K. Dick%E2%80%93ian consideration of memory versus reality. Although it's a shame the lyrics that inspired each story weren't included. , this fine collection should have appeal beyond Rush fans. (Apr.)