Mission Critical: Thoughts

I don't post about other books often, mostly because I fully appreciate that readers are a finnicky lot. You like what you like, and just because you like my books doesn't mean you'll like the books I choose to read. Go forth and make your own book choices!

But I'm going to mention the anthology I just finished, "MISSION CRITICAL," edited by Jonathan Strahan, for two reasons. One, I figure there's at least 1 or 2 stories in it that each of you will enjoy; two, a couple of the stories genuinely stoked my imagination.

The premise of the anthology is an exploration of what people will (or won't) do when everything goes wrong (in space), and their actions in the next seconds or minutes or hours will determine who lives and who dies.

I won't comment on the stories I didn't enjoy or were meh/forgettable, because, again, you may disagree. The ones I DID enjoy:

"The Empty Gun" by Yoon Ha Lee. It features an unlikable protagonist and a dark, doom-upon-the-world mood, yet it nonetheless struck a strong chord with me. While I've long been aware of Lee's acclaimed Machineries of Empire books, I've never read them - but when I finished this story I immediately went and purchased Ninefox Gambit.

"Something in the Air" by Carolyn Ives Gilman. This story takes a concept near and dear to my writer heart, our (limited) understanding of quantum indeterminacy and entanglement, and turns it right on its head. In the early pages I thought I saw clear as day where the story was going, and I was wrong. I do feel like it would work better as a novella, as the story was thin in several places, felt rushed and ultimately left so much on the table. But damn if it didn't get me thinking!

"Genesong" by Peter F. Hamilton. Everyone here knows I'm a Hamilton fan, but the interesting thing about this story is how un-Hamilton it is. He's known for his impressive worldbuilding and the epic scale of his stories - not for his stories' emotional depth or resonance. The technological premise did borrow a bit from his Edenists in The Night's Dawn trilogy, but the story was poignant and soulful, even downright heartbreaking. I know how tough it is to stray outside your writing comfort zone, so props to Mr. Hamilton.

"Lost in Splendor" by John Meaney. This one maybe wasn't as unique as the other three, but the GenGs reminded me a lot of the Prevos in Renegades, and Shep was a notably likeable protagonist. Also, silver spiders and golden monkeys....😵


Originally posted on Facebook.