Some writers don’t read contributor’s copies. Some even insist their agents send them cut sheets (just those pages in which their work appears). I suppose that if you’re an Asimov type, who published 250 books and countless articles and short stories, that makes a lot of sense.
I, on the other hand, read every contributor’s copy that I receive. However, they do go into my pile which–for reasons of sanity–is read in chronological order. That means that a book from 2017 might get reviewed in mid 2019… such as is the case with this post.
There’s a reason I preface my review that way, and that’s because today’s book is The Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Volume 2, edited by Robert N. Stephenson. Fans of my fiction will be aware that I’ve already been published in volumes 3 and 4 of this series and have sold a story to volume 5, so it might seem strange that I’m writing about the second volume. The above should clear that up.
Anyhow, what about the book?
After reading a lot of old automotive publications, it was a delight to get back to my favorite genres, and this book is a brilliant way to get a sprinkling of a little bit of everything. From well-known masters of the field like James Van Pelt–whose work I reviewed for SF Reader a few years back and who contributed an evocative tale for this antho–, to people I recognize from sharing many tables of contents with, to names that were new to me, this one gives a nice overview of what the genre can do. There’s definitely a bit of each genre, and also, the sub-genres that make the field so rich are well-displayed.
A veteran reader of the field can lose himself in this one and enjoy the take on each type, while a newcomer can actually use this book to understand what they like most about SFF and find more work along those lines. It’s a wonderful volume.
What I liked most was the book’s adventure story par excellence. “Mnemo’s Memory” by David Versace is a swashbuckling steampunk airship story of the kind they just don’t make any more… and it was utterly wonderful. Of course, I tend to like my adventure, and Versace got it exactly right in this one.
So, recommended for anyone interested in the genre, both newbies and long-time fans.
Gustavo Bondoni is a writer with over two hundred stories in print. He has a new collection coming out in August, but if you can’t wait that long, his short fiction has been collected in Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places and in Virtuoso and Other Stories.