Monday, October 24, 2016

Now We Are Ten, edited by Ian Whates

Find this book
(10th Anniversary Anthology) A collection of stories exploring the number 10. (77,129 words; Time: 4h:17m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆, Average

"Now We Are Ten," edited by Ian Whates, published on by .

No Coherent Theme

The trouble with organizing an anthology around the number 10 is that you end up with no coherent theme. Out of these 16 stories, 9 are SF, 3 are fantasy, 2 are horror, 1 is an allegory, and 1 isn't SFF at all. One story was only ten words long. 

Normally, out of 16 stories, we'd recommend against 3, but here we recommend against 7. Normally we'd recommend about 3, and that is correct. So the upshot is that there are about as many really good stories as you'd expect, but there are surpisingly many bad ones.

Specially Recommended

The Final Path, by Genevieve Cogman, introduces us to a teenager who buries herself in video games to forget about the way the outside world is falling apart. But there's something creepy about the game she likes the best.


Dress Rehearsal, by Adrian Tchaikovsky. A group of travelling players puts on performances for people in different places in different versions of reality. Their leader seems to be running away from something though.

The Tenth Man, by Bryony Pearce. A young gradute student seeks answers from a professor for his dissertation on multiple worlds. Trouble is, the professor is in an insane asylum after killing the partners he worked with on the same topic in the past.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites,

5 & 4 Stories: 3;  Estimated Time: 48m (15K words)
Recommended By Stories: 5;  Estimated Time: 1h:43m (31K words)
Total Stories: 16;  Estimated Time: 4h:17m (77K words)
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Rating: 5 -> Hugo-worthy

The Final Path by Genevieve Cogman  Time: 10m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(Horror) Ignoring how the adult world is falling apart, teenage Annie tries to lose herself in a new video game.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [5]  Recommended By: RSR:5

Rating: 4 -> Recommended

Dress Rehearsal by Adrian Tchaikovsky  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(Fantasy) Dr. Kampfe's group of travelling players visits Sevengraves, a place so poor that every performance feels like charity.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4 RHorton:5
The Tenth Man by Bryony Pearce  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(SF Horror) Professor Macguire's work on multiple universes drove him insane, but Dean hopes to learn enough from him to finish his dissertation.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4 RHorton:5

Rating: 3 -> Average

Front Row Seat to the End of the World by E.J. Swift  Time: 22m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(Apocalypse) With just ten days to go before Earth is destroyed by an asteroid, Nell wraps up loose ends, one of which is the daughter she abandoned.
How to Grow Silence from Seed by Tricia Sullivan  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(Slipstream) Injala's work is transforming her into something her boyfriend can no longer recognize.
Liberty Bird by Jaine Fenn  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(SF Sports) Before he has to accept adult responsibilities, Kheo wants to win the Flamestar Challenge race one more time.
Pyramid by Nancy Kress  Time: 06m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(Allegory) Young people enter the pyramid on the first floor, but although the parties are great, they aspire to ascend.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: RHorton:4
Ten Days by Nina Allan  Time: 48m (Novelette)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(Time Travel) Dora will do anything to prove that a woman's 1928 execution for murder was a mistake.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: RHorton:5
Ten Love Songs to Change the World by Peter F. Hamilton  Time: 22m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(Time Travel) The narrator wants to use her ability to change the past to make a better world. Even though it's against the rules.

Rating: 2 -> Not Recommended

Rare As A Harpy's Tear by Neil Williamson  Time: 03m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(Fantasy) The narrator and his/her partner stuggle to escape the Djinn Lord's palace.
Utopia +10 by J.A. Christy1  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(SF) While his kids play VR games in a still-green Earth, the narrator and his friend wonder if it's still possible to catch and eat fish.
Women's Christmas by Ian McDonald  Time: 07m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(SF) Five Irish sisters enjoy a celebration using money their aunt sends them from the moon.
Zanzara Island by Rachel Armstrong  Time: 11m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(Near-Future SF) Gabriella is a strange child, 13, but still talking to imaginary friends, asking strange questions, and is fascinated by Venice's big island of plastic garbage.

Rating: 1 -> Needs Improvement

Ten Sisters by Eric Brown  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(SF) After escaping the asylum, Anna seeks out the nine other Annas to get revenge on the original.

Rating: Not Rated

Licorice by Jack Skillingstead  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(Mainstream) Ethan knows he's one of the creators of the universe, but he takes these pills to feel more human.
The Time Travellers' Ball by Rose Biggin  Time: 00m (ShortStory)  IssueNow We Are Ten 2016
(Time Travel) Are you going to the Time-Traveller's Ball?

2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Finally got round to this one. I don't mind the rather scattered theme so much, I think it's resulted in an interesting mix.
    I broadly agree with your scoring here as well, although I may quibble with a few individual scores.

    1. Did you like the ten-word review for the ten-word story? :-)