Saturday, October 1, 2016

Galactic Games, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

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(SF Sports) Twenty stories of sport and contest in various settings--fron Earth to space, with competitors ranging from human to alien. (81,800 words; Time: 4h:32m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆, Average

"," edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt, published on by .

Winners and Losers

Of the fifteen original stories in this collection, we recommended five, which is twice as many as expected, given our year-to-date ratings. On the other hand, we recommended against seven, which is also about twice as much as usual.

Specially Recommended

Minor Hockey Gods Of Barstow Station, by Beth Cato, involves a human hockey team whose dreams of winning an interstellar competition fell apart with their financing, and who ended up stranded on an alien space station far from home. They missed the big games, but they get a chance to compete in an unexpected way. Strong writing, strong plot, strong characters, emotional payoff--gold medal for this one.

Also Recommended

Advantages, by Louise Marley. A baseline human has a hard time competing when the other contestants have been modified even to the extent of having extra arms and legs. Even winning a moral victory requires looking noble, not pitiful. But there's more to it than that.

For The Sake Of The Game, by Gray Rinehart, features a referee as protagonist, not a player. In this story, a fragile peace agreement requires that a sporting championship be held between Earth and the aliens we just finished fighting. If the games aren't held, the peace deal may unravel, and someone is trying to bump off the human referees.

Pompoms And Circumstance, by Esther M. Friesner, pits a teenage cheer-leading team against bloodthirsty aliens. One of the aliens wants to learn how to be a cheerleader, and humans aren't in a position to say no. "With great pompoms comes great responsibility." Funny and scary all at once.

With Fones, by Todd McCaffrey, makes a hero out of one of the staff members who helps organize the Earth team. Much of the fun in this humorous tale is in her reactions to the things that go wrong--especially when they seemed to be going right.

Other Reviews: Search Web,

5 & 4 Stories: 5;  Estimated Time: 1h:47m (32K words)
Recommended By Stories: 6;  Estimated Time: 2h:01m (36K words)
Total Stories: 15;  Estimated Time: 4h:32m (82K words)
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Rating: 5 -> Hugo-worthy

Minor Hockey Gods Of Barstow Station by Beth Cato  Time: 17m (ShortStory)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(Sports SF) Gloria and her friends play one last game of hocky before they leave the alien space station they've been stuck on ever since their dreams of interstellar competition collapsed.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [5]  Recommended By: RSR:5

Rating: 4 -> Recommended

Advantages by Louise Marley  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(Sports SF) At the 2144 Olympics, hosted by the thriving space colonies who survived Earth, Zory aims to win despite her lack of augments.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
For The Sake Of The Game by Gray Rinehart  Time: 21m (ShortStory)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(Sports SF) Pawl Maricelli, a referee in the althletic contest meant to strengthen the fragile peace between humans and Errellians, is threatened by those who don't want peace.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
Pompoms And Circumstance by Esther M. Friesner  Time: 23m (ShortStory)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(Sports SF Humor) KayT means to lead her girls to victory in the cheerleading event at the Galactic games, provided the Snargs don't eat them first.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4 RHorton:4
With Fones by Todd McCaffrey  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(SF Humor) If Liz can just get a few more species to participate, she can get bowling added as an event in the Intergalactic Games. It's a bad time to have fone problems.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4

Rating: 3 -> Average

Earth, Corner Pocket by Lezli Robyn  Time: 20m (ShortStory)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(SF) Ruby plays a high-stakes game of pool, with the future fate of Earth's oceans in the balance.
Mars Court Rules by Brad R. Torgersen  Time: 27m (Novelette)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(Sports SF) Back on Earth, JayDee was one of the best basketball players in his school, but Mars is a whole different ball game.
Petra And The Blue Goo by Kristine Kathryn Rusch  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(SF Humor) Petra is all that stands between the rare books in the library and the alien scavanger hunt that threatens to destroy them all.

Rating: 2 -> Not Recommended

Green Moss River by David Farland  Time: 21m (ShortStory)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(SF Sports) To earn the right to mate, Panapy females race against hunters from around the galaxy.
Last Shot, First Shot by Dean Wesley Smith  Time: 13m (ShortStory)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(Sports SF) Van Lifting is Earth's greatest golfer, but before he retires, he wants to win the Shepard Open on the moon--where the rules are very different.
Little Games by Mercedes Lackey  Time: 07m (ShortStory)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(Sports SF) Dimitrios is determined to compete in the Olympics, even if they don’t  seem as impressive since the Galactics came.
Regulations by Seanan McGuire  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(Sports SF) All across the solar system, women's roller derby is a big sport, but the injury rate is a bit too high.
Shooter Ready by Larry Correia  Time: 15m (ShortStory)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(Sports SF) Years ago, Scott used to be the best competition marksman. Machines and augmented humans far outclass him now, but a diehard fan has a proposal.
Stress Cracks by Anthony R. Cardno  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(Sports SF) Cyndric hopes to win the mens downhill figure skating, and he wishes the media would focus on him not his family.
The Great Ignorant Race by Robert Reed  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueGalactic Games 2016
(Sports SF) The human team awakens naked, with no memories, but speaking a shared language, and ready to compete--at something.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [2]  Recommended By: RHorton:5

Rating: 1 -> Needs Improvement

Rating: Not Rated

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