New Voices in Science Fiction by Mike Resnick (ed)
Daw / Penguin Putnam PPBK: ISBN 0756401682 PubDate: 12/01/03
Review by Ernest Lilley
320 pgs. List price $ 6.99
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Though I've given Resnick grief over a few of his recent anthologies, Women writing as Men, Men writing as Women, and what not (Aliens writing as Humans? Dogs writing as Cats?) he does have an eye for good writing, as witnesses this collection of Hugo, Aurora, Campbell and Dick award winning writers, all early in their careers, and all destined to leave their mark on the genre. This new wave is eclectic and witty, serious and silly, and whether they're on about the new space opera or modern fantasy, they all seem to be having fun doing it.
That being said, lets take a look at the kind of stories and the "new" authors he's selected. David Karr Brimley leads the collection with "The Black Bird" (2003), in which Sam Spade asks one too many questions, questions the Maltese Falcon is all too happy to answer. Call it a magical-realist-noir-detective piece. Tom Gerencer's story, "Intergalactic Refrigerator Repairmen Seldom Carry Cash" is a lighthearted piece in a classic-SF-absurdist sort of way. "Nucleon", by David Levine, is a heartwarming-retro-futurist-alternate-reality piece about junkyards, adn Ilove pieces about junkyards. Shane Tourtelotte's "Extended Family" is a straight-SF-cyberscience piece that bridges Chinese and new world cultures, as well as the living and the dead. Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross collaborated on "Flowers From Alice", a story about life spinning out of control on post-human wings. Hilary Moon Murphy comes up with a Bradburyesque story about magic, family weirdness, the girl next door and wishes that come with too high a price. "Four Eyes", by Tobias S. Buckell, is one of several contemporary-or nearly so-spirit-fantasy pieces which would have fit nicely into Nalo Hopkin's recent anthology Mojo Conjure Stories. And there are others.
It keeps on going like that. Wildly cross-fertilized stories by a crop of up-and coming stars. I love the stories, though the free ranging writing won't hold still long enough to tell you the lay of the land. There's certainly something for everyone in this excellent box of treats, but most likely you'll find a few that don't suit you taste. Even then, you won't turn your nose up at the quality of writing.
The only thing that I see as a genuine fault it that though the editor does give a brief description of hunting for the stories in amongst Campbell award shortlist, skulking around the Clarion workshop and chatting up Hugo nominees, we never learn anything about the individual authors. The stories have no forwards, no set up, and there are no suggestions as to where you can find more from the author. That work is left to the reader, but once you've found a new author you like, you'll be more than willing to undertake the task.