Fountain of Age: Stories

Overview

Nine new stories from a long-time star of the science fiction field including the Hugo Award winner "The Erdmann Nexus" and Nebula Award winner "The Fountain of Age." These stories have been reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction, Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, and Best of the Web.

Kress unpacks the future the way DNA investigators unravelled the double helix: one gene at a time. In many of these stories gene sculpting is illegal yet commonplace and the ...

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Fountain of Age: Stories

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Overview

Nine new stories from a long-time star of the science fiction field including the Hugo Award winner "The Erdmann Nexus" and Nebula Award winner "The Fountain of Age." These stories have been reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction, Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, and Best of the Web.

Kress unpacks the future the way DNA investigators unravelled the double helix: one gene at a time. In many of these stories gene sculpting is illegal yet commonplace and the effects range between slow catastrophe (“End Game”), cosmic (“First Rites”), and tragic (“Safeguard”). Then there’s the morning when Rochester disappears and Jenny has to rely on “The Kindness of Strangers.” There’s Jill, who is kidnapped by aliens and trying to learn the “Laws of Survival.” And there’s Hope, whose Grandma is regretting the world built “By Fools Like Me.”

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Passions are magnified by age and the world only becomes more unpredictable in Kress’s new collection, anchored by the Nebula-winning title novella. The nine stories, published over the course of just two years, wrestle with themes of love, death, and transformation. A 90-year-old scientist shares a powerful and inexplicable experience with his fellow nursing home residents in “The Erdmann Nexus.” In “First Rites,” a neuroscientist tries to save and understand his cousin’s strange orphaned son. Relationships are complex and conflicted: in “Fountain of Age,” a crooked businessman is driven by his obsession with a woman whose genes hold the key to prolonged youth, and in “Safeguard” a woman raises four children who unknowingly carry a plague that could destroy the world. Kress’s depiction of science is much like her characters’ experiences with love: by turns glorious and terrible, and always a little disturbing, even in triumph. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“Quality oozes from every page. A master class in the art of short-story writing.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Passions are magnified by age and the world only becomes more unpredictable in Kress’s new collection, anchored by the Nebula-winning title novella. The nine stories, published over the course of just two years, wrestle with themes of love, death, and transformation. . . . Kress’s depiction of science is much like her characters’ experiences with love: by turns glorious and terrible, and always a little disturbing, even in triumph.” —Publishers Weekly

Praise for Nancy Kress’s previous books:

“Nancy Kress Has the true storyteller’s Gift–the ability to make her characters and what happens to them so vital that the reader’s heart aches.” —Stephen R. Donaldson

“Nancy Kress comprehends the grimy relationships among bioscience, technology, and politics; and soon we will too, if only enough of us read her. Too soon it cannot be.” —Gene Wolfe

“Nancy Kress has written a novel that graphically disects the roots of human violence while affirming the invincibility of the human spirit. An Alien Light is both provocative and insightful.” —Julian May

“Kress’s villains are not diabolical conspirators but willfully ignorant hypocrites, shortsighted and greedy dunderheads, the well-intentioned half-baked—in short, us. But we are also the heroes whose generosity, honesty and energy could turn our lemming tribe away from the polluted waters ahead.” —Washington Post

“The plotting is fast-paced, the characterization is good, and science explained in easily digestible portions.” —New Scientist

“The kind of thriller that continually makes you want to turn the pages faster than you can read them.” —SF Site

“That Kress remains a master is everywhere evident.” —Booklist

“The keeness of vision to. . . see the possibilities for the future very clearly, and they are both fascinating and frightening.” —San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle

Kirkus Reviews
Nine substantial stories, 2007-2009, from Kress (Crucible, 2004, etc.). Framing the collection are two award-winning long tales, both speaking to the trials and compensations of growing old. A magnificent yarn, "The Erdmann Nexus" won the Hugo award for best novella in 2009 and describes the emergence of a dangerously god-like collective intelligence among old folks--think experience, wisdom, memories--living in a retirement home. "Fountains of Age" captured the Nebula award for best novella of 2007: A fabulously wealthy retired gangster discovers that the woman with whom he had a brief, intense affair many years ago is the source of the longevity treatments available to those that can afford them, and becomes consumed with the desire to see her again. Kress' talent for dreaming up odd aliens reveals itself in "The Kindness of Strangers," where they wipe out every major city on Earth--for our own good, of course; and in "Laws of Survival," where aliens visiting a devastated Earth want their captives to train dogs to protect and serve them. Two tales concern genetic experiments on children. In "First Rites," these experiments produce an autistic child instead of the hoped-for transcendentally aware mind. And "Safeguard" describes the tragic results of a biological warfare project. Elsewhere, "By Fools Like Me" features a nightmarish post-apocalyptic future where anything that survives from the former age is evil. Persons considering using one of the new "focus" drugs might wish to read "End Game" first. And if you're thinking of taking up photography, ponder the strange results obtained in "Images of Anna." Quality oozes from every page. A master class in the art of short-story writing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931520454
  • Publisher: Small Beer Press
  • Publication date: 5/8/2012
  • Pages: 300
  • Sales rank: 1,176,680
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Kress is the author of thirty books, including four collections of short stories, and three books on writing. For sixteen years she was the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine. She is perhaps best known for the “Sleepless” trilogy that began with Beggars in Spain. Her work has won four Nebulas, two Hugos, a Sturgeon, and the John W. Campbell Award. Most recent books are a collection an SF novel, Steal Across the Sky; a YA fantasy written under the name Anna Kendall, Crossing Over; and a short novel of eco-terror, Before the Fall, During the Fall, After the Fall. Kress lives in Seattle with her husband, SF writer Jack Skillingstead, and Cosette, the world’s most spoiled toy poodle.

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