Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Twelve Tomorrows 5, edited by Wade Roush

★★★☆☆ Average

(Hard SF) A hard-sf anthology, aimed at reembodying “the best aspects of the hard-SF craft in the mode of Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke without bringing back its worst.” Plausible, hopeful stories with diverse characters. (82,995 words; Time: 4h:36m)

"Twelve Tomorrows 5," edited by Wade Roush, published on by .

Review: 2018.625 (A Word for Authors)

Reasonably Hard SF

Although the anthology is supposed to be all hard SF, I only rated 60% of the stories that way. In my definition, a hard SF story is one where the details of science and/or technology are part of the plot. 

As far as ratings go, I recommended 3 out of 10 (average would be 1.6) but recommended against 3 out of 10 (average would be 2), so I rated the anthology average overall. 

The stories cover a very broad range of technologies, so it's hard to characterize it narrowly. All but two are near-future, as we'd expect with hard SF, and half of them have software/AI themes.

As far as the anthology's goal of depicting diverse characters, 80% of the protagonists are female, 30% are people of color, 10% are LGBT, and 10% aren't human at all.

Formatting Problems on Kindle Devices

The formatting on the Kindle is terrible. Every time the font changes to italics, the two words are run together. Just as bad, the distinction between paragraph breaks and scene breaks has been lost making many stories very confusing because it’s hard to tell that the point of view has changed.


In "Byzantine Empathy," by Ken Liu, we meet two very different women who are trying to help desperate, needy people around the world, but they fight each other because one is drive by reason and the other by empathy.

Specially Recommended

"Escape From Caring Seasons," by Sarah Pinsker, tells us how a care facility for the elderly started taking advantage of its residents and how one feisty woman managed to get away to get help.

"Different Seas," by Alastair Reynolds, takes us to a future where a big solar storm takes out the high-tech controls on a one-person clipper ship. The occupant needs to fix it before it hits something, and she gets help from an unlikely source.

Other Reviews: Search Web, GoodReads.com
Wade Roush Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

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