Author: (Ed) Ian Whates
Publisher: Solaris Books
Page count: 325pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
With an introduction and edited by Ian Whates, Solaris Rising is an anthology of SF stories by familiar and recognised names from the genre such as Ian McDonald, Stephen Baxter, Peter F Hamilton (yes, it is short!), Lavie Tidhar, Jaine Fenn . . . Need I go on? If you don’t know these names, odds are you are not a prolific reader of contemporary SF. So, if you are new to SF, be assured, these authors are among the best in the genre.
In his introduction, Whates describes it as a “piquant tasting platter of SF”, and it is an accurate description, as the stories are generally un-themed, linked only by the exploration of SF tropes. Each story is preceded by an author bio, which makes for interesting reading.
There is a certain skill required to create short stories; to develop character, story and theme in a finite number of words. There are a number of superior pieces of SF in this collection, starting with McDonald’s A Smart Well- Mannered Uprising of the Dead, in which he creates a way of virtually storing the deceased, as McDonald puts it “Facebook for the Dead”. Ken Macleod manages to evoke a sense of wonder and nostalgia in ‘The Best SF of the Year Three’, whilst Tricia Sullivan’s story is intriguing, engaging yet confusing in a good way. Baxter’s ‘Rock Day’ and Paul di Filippo’s ‘Sweet Spot’ are stand out stories, as is Fenn’s contribution. For me though, it is Adam Roberts’ ‘Shall I Tell You the Problem with Time Travel?’, which I remember most; a real ‘chicken and egg’ time travel tale. Ian Watson’s conspiracy tale is great fun, and Richard Salter’s ‘Yestermorrow’ is a mind boggling wibbly wobbly timey wimey story that stands put highest of all.
In short, there are the odd couple of stories that fall flat, but on the whole this is a must buy anthology for SF fans, with some great stories.
Be ready; you are in for a treat. Check it out at Solaris Rising: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction.