Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities, edited by Ed Finn and Joey Eschrich

Find this book
(SF Exploration) Stories on the theme of planetary exploration in the near future. (52,377 words; Time: 2h:54m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," edited by Ed Finn and Joey Eschrich, published on by .

Planetary Exploration on a Shoestring

These seven stories look at futures where humanity does serious work in space within the next fifty years or so. In every case, this means making clever use of minimal resources.

Funded by the Center for Science and the Imagination (CSI) at Arizona State University, this volume (Like Hieroglyph before it) is meant “to encourage more creative and ambitious thinking about the future.” It is offered to the public free of charge.

Although there are only seven original SF stories here, there are twelve thoughtful non-fiction essays plus two strong introductions (read Jim Bell’s intro after reading the stories; it contains spoilers). The essays add a lot of value to the stories, so if you’re interested in practical ideas about exploring the solar system in the near future, don’t skip them.

Sort-of Optimistic

Although CSI says they want optimistic views of the future, only three of the stories envision a future that’s better than today’s world, and one is actually a dystopia.

Of the seven stories, we recommend one and recommend against one, which is exactly the distribution we expect to see, hence we called the anthology average overall.


Death on Mars, by Madeline Ashby, introduces us to a crew of four women on Phobos who are remotely running a construction operation to build habitats on the surface for the first Mars mission. They’re a very tight team and not at all prepared to handle a death.

Other Reviews: Search Web
Ed Finn Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB
Joey Eschrich Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

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5 & 4 Stories: 1;  Estimated Time: 27m (8K words)
Recommended By Stories: 2;  Estimated Time: 47m (14K words)
Total Stories: 7;  Estimated Time: 2h:54m (52K words)
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Rating: 5 -> Hugo-worthy

Rating: 4 -> Recommended

(SF Adventure) Four women staffing an advance base on Phobos get a male visitor who brings them some bad news.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [4]  Recommended By: RSR:4 GDozois:5

Rating: 3 -> Average

(SF Adventure) Meek dreams of visiting a luxury space station, but a black teen living in poverty hasn’t got much chance of that—until a science contest offers him the chance of a free trip to it.
(SF Exploration) Sina works with AI nanobots in space, processing small asteroids into raw materials. She likes the AI and considers him her friend—which means she’s not watching as closely as she’s supposed to be.
(Near-Future SF) Lots of Earth people are earning money operating drones on Mars to construct habitats for colonists—assuming someone can get around the fact that it’s illegal to own land up there.
(Hard SF) Ryan’s the only person on a prospecting mission to an asteroid, so when he gets knocked loose, there’s no one he can call for help.
(Hard SF) In the early 2030s, Sergei works for Uber collecting trash in low-Earth orbit. He’s surprised when Uber’s boss comes up and has a special mission for him.
Other Reviews  RSR Mini-Review [3]  Recommended By: GDozois:5

Rating: 2 -> Not Recommended

(SF Exploration) Four college friends collaborated on a probe to an extrasolar planet. Now they’re struggling to make sense of what the probe is telling them and wondering if they need new definitions for life and even for science itself.

Rating: 1 -> Needs Improvement

Rating: Not Rated

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