Book Review 2007 #57: The New Space Opera

I haven’t read any anthologies for a bit, so I decided to delve into Jonathan Strahan’s anthology of original Space Opera stories.
The anthology was co-edited with Gardner Dozois.
Overall, while some stories worked better than others, overall I think its a strong collection.


18 Stories, 500 pages in a TPB. Lots here for everyone.
* Gwyneth Jones: “Saving Tiamaat”
Okay story centering around attempts by a interstellar government to solve a social problem on a new linked world.
* Ian McDonald: “Verthandi’s Ring”
Post humans in a long slow war. Again, ok.
* Robert Reed: “Hatch”
Set on the outside of his “Ship”, more of a tease than anything.
* Paul J. McAuley: “Winning Peace”
A possible old ancient artifact is a MacGuffin for the story of a post-war search
around a brown dwarf. Not bad.
* Greg Egan: “Glory”
Another strange Egan story involving the desire to learn a dead culture’s mathematics. Ok.
* Kage Baker: “Maelstrom”
Once again, I seem unable to “Get” Kage Baker. Pass.
* Peter F. Hamilton: “Blessed by an Angel”
Reminded me a bit of Stross’s Singularity Sky universe with a higher outside culture visiting a low tech planet. Not set in any of Hamilton’s other worlds, far as I could tell. Ok.
* Ken MacLeod: “Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?”
One of my favorites in the collection, with great dialogue between the pilot and the AI of his ship as they go to quell a rebellion.
* Tony Daniel: “The Valley of the Gardens”
I like Daniel’s stories. This one involves a war between different universes with different physical laws.
* James Patrick Kelly: “Dividing the Sustain”
Social intrigue on a long-trip ship to an agricultural world. Killer ending and reveal to a mystery running through the story.
* Alastair Reynolds: “Minla’s Flowers”
Reynolds again writes well in a story about a visitor to a world doomed to die when a piece of an interstellar network will go haywire and decimate the world’s sun. Lots of hammering of the law of unintended consequences. Good.

* Mary Rosenblum: “Splinters of Glass”

Survival story about mining on Europa.Reminded me of Ben Bova’s stories. Good.
* Stephen Baxter: “Remembrance”
Another story set in the Xeelee sequence, involving the question of how atrocities are remembered. Average.
* Robert Silverberg: “The Emperor and the Maula”
Not very “Newish” in its style. Still, if you are going to copy an old idea, copying Scheherazade is not a bad thing. Average to Good.
* Gregory Benford: “The Worm Turns”
I’ve been annoyed with Benford for awhile. This story about handling a wormhole was okay, though.
* Walter Jon Williams: “Send Them Flowers”
Worlds in multiple universes. A colorful pair of characters living by their wits. Lots of fun.
* Nancy Kress: “Art of War”
Killer story about a war with an alien race whose patterns of handling war are very different than Earth ideas. Art IS important. Good.
* Dan Simmons: “Muse of Fire”
Shakespeare meets alien oppressors who are modeled on Gnostic mythology. A story that praises the bard and does it well. One of my favorites.