by Alastair Reynolds
Review by Steve Sawicki
NESFA Press Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781886778900
Date: 16 February 2010 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Alastair Reynolds has been writing for just a bit over twenty years. In that time he has produced a large number of short stories. What he is best known for though is the large concept; the ability to present a broad and different idea while moving characters through the spartan structure of short fiction. This collection contains the full range of Reynolds writing, from "Nunivak Snowflakes", his first published story to a pair of stories that were just published last year. There are fifteen stories in all along with an introduction by Stephen Baxter. What Reynolds seems most adept at is surrounding an individual with mystery and then following their choices to often unusual conclusions. There's plenty of that here for sure.
The difficulty with short fiction, of course, is that it is published in a number of different places so unless you subscribe to all of the different magazines (and not all short fiction appears in magazines) you're pretty much left out. Sure, there are the occasional anthologies but they are much fewer and farther between then they used to be. And single author collections are rarer still. It's great that we have NESFA Press to stubbornly keep publishing year in and year out. In this case, as in many others, the book commemorates Reynolds stint as a guest of honor at Boskone, the regional Boston science fiction convention held each year in February. (This is also a place to get NESFA books).
What more needs to be said about a NESFA book. The package is simply wonderful, acid free paper, wonderful cover, fantastic contents, and it all contributes to the next book in the pipeline.
This particular book is available in a signed and numbered edition of 1000. It's a beautiful book and you'd be hard pressed to find writing that is more engaging, especially if you are a fan of space opera or big concept short fiction.
Thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommended.