Readers of this blog are all aware that I’m a writer, and that I do a lot of science fiction. One of the places I’ve sold a few stories to was the Visions series edited by Carrol Fix. I was in Visions III and Visions VI. The first contributor’s copy I read in this one was Visions III, and it impressed me very much. The theme there was “Inside the Kuiper Belt”, and the stories hit the same sweet spot as The Expanse.
It certainly holds a large number of well-written stories which are worth reading for themselves, so most people who pick it up will enjoy it. What I didn’t like quite as much was that the very wide way the theme, Universe, was interpreted by both authors and editor.
I would have expected this one’s tales to be set on a broad scale, well above the galaxy level with, possibly a wink to multiverse existences.
And yes, some of the stories do this, and do it well (my own story in the collection, “Burstchasers” was written specifically with this scale in mind – you can judge for yourself whether it’s any good or not). But too many of them are set on generic planets that could be a few dozen light years away, with no need at all to have been placed in an antho subtitled “Universe”.
That’s a nit, though, and one most readers won’t be bothered by.
As I said above, the stories are good, which is what matters. Most memorable, and one I think did a fantastic job at interpreting the theme was “Universal Hero” by Darrell Duckworth. It’s a bit whimsical, perhaps even naive, but well-thought-out and extremely interesting. I’ll remember that one for a long time.
Anyway, start at number one and read through this series. It’s fascinating to see the scope grow ever larger as it progresses–even though, the Universe seemed a tad too big for many authors.
Gustavo Bondoni is an award-winning Argentine author. His novel Siege takes place on a huge scale, albeit not quite on the Universe level. You can check it out here.