cover image The Other Half of the Sky

The Other Half of the Sky

Edited by Athena Andreadis and Kay T. Holt. Candlemark & Gleam, $24.95 (460p) ISBN 978-1-936460-44-1

Despite the efforts of numerous authors, publishers, and readers over the past several decades, SF remains a male-focused genre, with female authors too often overlooked by reviews and awards and female characters relegated to the status of support staff and victims. Rather than choosing between cursing the darkness and lighting a candle, Andreadis and Holt opt to do both, framing a collection of 16 woman-centric space opera stories with Andreadis’s understandably irritable introduction. The editors promise far more than they can deliver, with duds such as Jack McDevitt’s “Cathedral,” a clichéd paean to space exploration advocacy through fraud, but these are more than balanced by stories of genuine interest: Alexander Jablokov’s “Bad Day on Boscobel,” a tale of asteroidal intrigue; C.W. Johnson’s “Exit, Interrupted,” an account of cosmologically convoluted class warfare; and Martha Wells’s “Mimesis,” a first-contact story set against a voracious ecological backdrop. Space opera aficionados of all persuasions will enjoy these and the other stronger inclusions. (Apr.)