Sunday, December 4, 2016

Science Fiction by Scientists, edited by Michael Brotherton

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(Hard SF) Stories written by current or former scientists on topics that involve their actual expertise, each with a technical afterword. (70,895 words; Time: 3h:56m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

"Science Fiction by Scientists," edited by Michael Brotherton, published on by .

Some Excellent Hard SF, but . . .

As you'd expect, when scientists write Science Fiction, they nail the science part. As you might also expect, in many cases they flub the story-telling part. As a result, this anthology has the most unbalanced distribution of ratings of anything we've ever reviewed. We recommend three stories, which is double the average, but we recommend against eight, which is three times the average. Since the bad stories are so bad, we recommend against this volume as a whole, but the three recommended stories are good enough that it's almost worth the price for them alone.

The intermediate stories (three stars) are frustrating in that many of them seem to be great beginnings to longer stories, but then they just end abruptly.

Specially Recommended

Down and Out, by Ken Wharton introduces a relatable non-human protagonist on a very alien world. Their science has shown them that their world is a sphere, with ice at the bottom and rock at the top. Everyone is curious what might be "outside," and blasting through the rock up top is the obvious thing to do, but Ogby's calculations tell her that something very strange happens if you dig far enough into the ice.

Also Recommended

In Turing de Force, by Edward M. Lerner, two alien AIs from a whole AI civilization are attracted to Earth by the radio emissions and are shocked to find intelligent protoplasmic life. Or is it intelligent? They devise a test to try and find out for sure.

Neural Alchemist, by Tedd Roberts, deals with a university professor who unexpectedly becomes a zombie and who decides to do research on his condition, despite the discomfort this causes to his friends, colleagues, and students.

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1 comment (may contain spoilers):

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