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Something exciting has been happening in modern SF. After decades of confusion, many of the field's best writers have been returning to the subgenre called, roughly, "hard SF"-science fiction focused on science and technology, often with strong adventure plots. Now, World Fantasy Award-winning editors David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer present an immense, authoritative anthology that maps the development and modern-day resurgence of this form, argues for its special virtues and present preeminence-and ...
Something exciting has been happening in modern SF. After decades of confusion, many of the field's best writers have been returning to the subgenre called, roughly, "hard SF"-science fiction focused on science and technology, often with strong adventure plots. Now, World Fantasy Award-winning editors David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer present an immense, authoritative anthology that maps the development and modern-day resurgence of this form, argues for its special virtues and present preeminence-and entertains us with some spectacular storytelling along the way.
Included are major stories by contemporary and classic names such as Poul Anderson, Stephen Baxter, Gregory Benford, Ben Bova, David Brin, Arthur C. Clarke, Hal Clement, Greg Egan, Joe Haldeman, Nancy Kress, Paul McAuley, Frederik Pohl, Alastair Reynolds, Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert J. Sawyer, Karl Schroeder, Charles Sheffield, Brian Stableford, Allen Steele, Bruce Sterling, Michael Swanwick, and Vernor Vinge.
The Hard SF Renaissance will be an anthology that SF readers return to for years to come.
Introduction: New People, New Places, New Politics
Paul McAuley: Gene Wars
Greg Egan: Wang's Carpets
Poul Anderson: Genesis
Kim Stanley Robinson: Arthur Sternbach Brings the Curveball to Mars
Stephen Baxter: On the Orion Line
Nancy Kress: Beggars in Spain
Gregory Benford: Matter's End
Arthur C. Clarke: The Hammer of God
James Patrick Kelly: Think Like a Dinosaur
Ben Bova: Mount Olympus
Robert Reed: Marrow
Joan Slonczewski: Microbe
Charles Sheffield: The Lady Vanishes
Bruce Sterling: Bicycle Repairman
David Brin: An Ever-Reddening Glow
Kim Stanley Robinson: Sexual Dimorphism
G. David Nordley: Into the Miranda Rift
Robert J. Sawyer: The Shoulders of Giants
Geoffrey A. Landis: A Walk in the Sun
Joe Haldeman: For White Hilll
Brian Stableford: A Career in Sexual Chemistry
Paul McAuley: Reef
Hal Clement: Exchange Rate
Greg Egan: Reasons to Be Cheerful
Michael Swanwick: Griffin's Egg
Alastair Reynolds: Great Wall of Mars
Peter Watts: A Niche
Stephen Baxter: Gossamer
James P. Hogan: Madam Butterfly
Ted Chiang: Understand
Karl Schroeder: 0Halo
David Langford: Different Kinds of Darkness
Vernor Vinge: Fast Times at Fairmont High
David Brin: Reality Check
Paul Levinson: The Mendelian Lamp Case
Sarah Zettel: Kinds of Strangers
Allan Steele: The Good Rat
Michael Flynn: Built Upon the Sands of Time
Bruce Sterling: Taklamakan
Frederick Pohl: Hatching the Phoenix
Gregory Benford: Immersion
Posted May 22, 2007
It can be difficult to evaluate a collection of short stories from a variety of authors. Assuming an interest in the genre, most readers will like some stories, dislike others, and perhaps find many unremarkable. Such is the case with David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer's collection 'The Hard SF Renaissance,' a 960-page selection of work by some of the genre's most noted authors, including Arthur C. Clarke, Frederik Pohl, Ben Bova, Kim Stanley Robinson, Bruce Sterling, etc. 'Hard SF' is loosely defined by the editors and authors as somewhat-plausible speculative-fiction rooted in science-fact. Whether each of these offerings meet that definition is questionable, and it was certainly obvious to me that some authors are included primarily because they are personal favorites of the editors, and not because of their purported contributions to the genre. While I did enjoy some of the stories (most notably 'Hatching the Phoenix' by Pohl, set in his Heechee universe), many of the others were lifeless and drab, due perhaps to many authors' over-reliance on 'science' instead of 'fiction.' Indeed, many authors were so eager to reveal their scientific prophesies that they neglected all other elements of a good short story (plot, characters, etc.) except in the barest form. Not all stories fall into this trap -- Nancy Kress' Beggars in Spain emerges as the strongest contender in the story-telling vein, which is unfortunately in short supply elsewhere in the collection. This collection may be of use to those who want to read a small sample of work from various authors to determine which might pique their interest further, but I am unable to heartily recommend it to the casual reader because too many of the entries are merely humdrum.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 24, 2012
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Posted February 6, 2013
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