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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Space Stations is an anthology of 14 original short stories about -- you guessed it! -- space stations, the habitats that will some day be our stepping stones to the stars. Featured authors include Timothy Zahn, Alan Dean Foster, Julie E. Czerneda, and Gregory Benford.
Two selections of note have similar settings: the moons of Mars. Robert J. Sawyer's "Mikeys" is about two B-team astronauts (nicknamed Mikeys after Apollo 11's command-module pilot, Mike Collins, the astronaut who stayed in orbit while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon) who are stationed on Deimos while the A-team astronauts get to make the historic first walk on the red planet. But while the Mikeys are setting up the station on the tiny satellite, they find something that will chisel their names in the history books forever! Eric Kotani's "Orbital Base Fear" revolves around a race to see who can walk on Mars first -- the USA-led spaceship or the European consortium ship. The American ship, which has a substantial lead, plans to land on Phobos, set up a station, and then send a shuttle down. The European ship is going straight in -- never mind the massive sandstorm.
What makes this collection remarkable is that while the stories have a hard science fiction underpinning (nuclear fusion–powered spaceships, ancient alien technology, quantum geometries, event horizons, and wormholes), the stories are powered by strong, memorable human characters. Surprisingly compelling, wide ranging, and highly entertaining, Space Stations is everything a good anthology should be. Paul Goat Allen