Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bridging Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan

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(Hard SF) Stories that look at super-engineering projects. (100,124 words; Time: 5h:33m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4 RSR-recommended stories + 2 others out of 15

Read other reviews of Bridging Infinity.
"Bridging Infinity," edited by Jonathan Strahan, published on by .

Infinity and Beyond

The theme of this latest installment of the Infinity series of anthologies is super-engineering projects. The authors definitely took this to heart, describing projects ranging from fighting sea-level rise by bringing up magma to make islands higher, to using black holes to send messages via gravity waves, to building a base on the surface of the sun. All stories are SF (some harder than others) and the scopes include everything from near-future on the surface of the Earth, to millions of years from now across the galaxy.

We recommend 4 stories, which is more than double the average for an anthology of this size (fifteen original stories), and we recommend against 4, which is about average. Most of the stories we recommend against let the grand project eclipse the plot and characters. People who just want to read clever accounts of how enormous projects might be accomplished and don't mind the lack of much of a human-scale story may enjoy some of those as well. 


The Mighty Slinger, by Karen Lord and Tobias S. Buckell, pits an old Calypso singer against a group of property developers who want to destroy everything on the Earth and start from scratch to make desirable properties for rich people from Mars and Venus. 

Mice Among Elephants, by Larry Niven and Gregory Benford, takes us to a distant star system where an unknown species of aliens are operating a transmitter that's telling everyone else in the galaxy that human beings are bad news. And we've never even met them.

Travelling into Nothing, by An Owomoyela, tells the story of a woman who escapes a death sentence in order to pilot a very unusual starship. But the starship doesn't work quite as she expected, and she ends up marooned in empty space, facing starvation if she can't figure it out.

Seven Birthdays, by Ken Liu, recounts a million years of human development, in powers of 7 of one woman's birthdays. A heartwarming story that mixes the intimately human with the incomprehensibly grand.

Other Reviews: Search Web,

5 & 4 Stories: 4;  Estimated Time: 1h:37m (29K words)
Recommended By Stories: 6;  Estimated Time: 2h:22m (43K words)
Total Stories: 15;  Estimated Time: 5h:33m (100K words)
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Rating: 5 -> Hugo-worthy

Rating: 4 -> Recommended

Mice Among Elephants by Larry Niven and Gregory Benford  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(Hard SF) Sunseeker decelerates into the Excelsius system to investigate a gravity-wave generator built by potentially hostile aliens.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
Seven Birthdays by Ken Liu  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(Far Future SF) Mia marks her birthdays as powers of 7, which gives her lots of time to work out her issues with her mother.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
The Mighty Slinger by Karen Lord and Tobias S. Buckell  Time: 32m (Novelette)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(Far-Future SF) Developers are planning to resurface the entire Earth to create properties for people from Mars and Venus. But can an old singer and his band rally the solar system against it?
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4
Travelling into Nothing by An Owomoyela  Time: 21m (ShortStory)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(Far-Future SF) Kiu Alee escapes a death sentence by agreeing to pilot a very special vehicle to a very xenophobic arcology in deep space.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4

Rating: 3 -> Average

Apache Charley and the Pentagons of Hex by Allen M. Steele  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(Far-Future SF) Humans were given just one "hex" on the Dyson structure, but "joyriders" like to break the rules and explore the place. Including the seven "hexagons" that only have five sides.
Induction by Thoraiya Dyer  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(Near-Future SF) Christian returns to Anguilla to say goodbye before an attempt to raise it covers the island with lava.
Ozymandias by Karin Lowachee  Time: 23m (ShortStory)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(SF) Luis signed up for a six-month solo tour of duty on an almost-complete space station. He should be alone, except for the AI, but he's sure he hears other people.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: RHorton:5
Parables of Infinity by Robert Reed  Time: 18m (ShortStory)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(Far-Future SF) An ancient robot tells a human how it helped build a planet-sized ship and what the consequences were.
Rager in Space by Charlie Jane Anders  Time: 21m (ShortStory)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(SF Humor) Sion and her best friend get invited on the first interstellar flight, which is odd, since they're teenagers, and that kind of technology doesn't really exist.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: RHorton:5
Six Degrees of Separation Freedom by Pat Cadigan  Time: 19m (ShortStory)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(Transhuman) Recruiting people to live in space is harder when they have to accept irreversable body modifications.
The City's Edge by Kristine Kathryn Rusch  Time: 21m (ShortStory)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(SF) Petras visits the ruins of the domed city where his wife died, determined to make sense of it.

Rating: 2 -> Not Recommended

Cold Comfort by Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty  Time: 26m (Novelette)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(Climate Change) Maggie has a plan to reverse climate change by capturing methane up in the arctic and selling the carbon.
Monuments by Pamela Sargent  Time: 16m (ShortStory)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(Climate Change) An AI tries to carry out the last wishes of the last human governors to bring back snow and ice.
Sixteen Questions for Kamala Chatterjee by Alastair Reynolds  Time: 14m (ShortStory)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(Far-Future SF) Kamala discovered an alien artifact inside the sun, and she spent her life finding a way to reach it.

Rating: 1 -> Needs Improvement

The Venus Generations by Stephen Baxter  Time: 24m (ShortStory)  IssueBridging Infinity 2016
(Terraforming) Cooling Venus down is only the first step.

Rating: Not Rated

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