Solaris Books, out April 11
Cue bragging; I, or rather Terror Tree, is quoted on the inside cover of this book. I said, and I do remember saying this, “This is a must buy anthology for SF fans. Be ready; you are in for a treat.” The first book was a truly great collection of SF. And you know what? Solaris Rising 2 has topped the first book!
Featuring a host of prolific SFF writers currently working in the genre, from a diverse range of genders and cultural backgrounds, this second volume (there is an earlier ebook Solaris Rising 1.5) starts with a bang and doesn’t let up. Of the nineteen stories, there was only one I couldn’t get on with, which is an amazing success rate as far as I’m concerned.
The collection starts with the story ‘Tom’ by award winning author Paul Cornell. In this story we encounter the amphibian alien race the Carviv, in a first encounter story with combines fear, love and a terrific sensuality. In Nancy Kress’ story ‘More’ a woman is released from prison having served fifteen years for terrorist actions in a world in which ‘the rich, secure behind the tech of the dome(s) will never have to be aware of the homeless poor again’. In James Lovegrove’s story, he interjects the narrative of a character, Martin’s Dad with the AI Network Johnny Nimbus, as a space ark is being prepared for a small percentage of humanity who will head into the stars and survive, whilst those remaining on earth will die. The interjections by Johnny are wonderfully ironic. In ‘Whatever Skin You Wear’ by Eugie Foster, we find a heartwarming tale of love offset by society’s obsession with beauty. ‘The Time Gun’ by Nick Harkaway is a great little time travel story. In Liz William’s poignant story of isolation and motherhood, ‘The Lighthouse’ the main protagonist discovers a secret about her home and origins that makes her question everything. Vandana Singh has written a beautiful piece that gives the reader a glimpse of a future India with a female protagonist who slowly learns the truth about her ‘job’ and employers.
If it’s even possible, there are two standout stories. These are ‘When Thomas Jefferson Dined Alone’ by Kristine Kathryn Rusch involving seances in the White House and Living History Scholars and ‘Manmade’ by Mercurio D Rivera, a superb tale about an AI converted to a human teenage boy who can’t cope with his humanity and longs to be an AI again.
So, if I haven’t already said this (oh wait, I have) this is a must must buy anthology for SF fans. Be ready; you are not just in for a treat; you are in for a veritable smorgasbord of SF. Dig right in!