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The Year's Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 3
Edited by Allan Kaster
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Infinivox  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781884612961
Date: 29 July 2011

Links: Publisher's Website / Show Official Info /

Great SF short stories in CD format. Fun to read and very diverse.

The Year's Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 3 is a diverse volume of short stories that cover a wide range of topics. This particular edition is in the CD version. I am relatively new to the SF genre and techno-SF is my favorite. Some stories are technical, but others include zombies and some are just plain weird. I will cover some of the basic plotlines of a few here in my review:

"Re-Crossing the Styx", by Ian R. MacLeod, takes place on a pleasure cruise where the passengers are Zombies. Here, organ replacement and joint replacement and brain reprogramming has become commonplace so people are virtually immortal. Unfortunately the skin cannot keep up and the people look awful and require a person to take care of them. A love story ensures between a crewmember and one of the zombie minders and the plot takes several twists and turns that I found very interesting and surprising.

"The Things", by Peter Watts, is just plain weird but as I was preparing my review, I read the description on the back of the CD case. It says that the story is a retelling of the 1982 SF movie The Thing, told from the perspective of the thing. With that information, I have a little more understanding of the story. I suspect a more-seasoned SF reader would have more understanding still.

"Alone", by Robert Reed, involves a being on a planet-sized spaceship that literally walks the surface for what seems like eternity. The being is very patient, and will wait thousands of years after something startles him, just to make sure everything settles down. The story eventually results in the being making contact with others, but it seems like it took a lot of reading (in this case listening) to get there. My impression is that the long duration of the story was to mimic the seemingly infinite wandering that the being performed. Otherwise I will have to say that the story dragged.

In "The Shipmaker", by Aliette de Bodard, the ship under construction actually has a brain or a mind. The mind is part flesh and part machine and is actually born like a human. The woman who carries the Mind arrives at the construction site and begins to deliver early, so the construction to finish the ship must speed up to meet the early arrival.

I enjoy reading the different stories and I recommend the collection. All the stories are wonderful and vary a great deal. Since I am relatively new to the SF genre, it is a great introduction to the various sub-genres. The CD format is great for reading as you drive the car and short stories are great for quick trips like driving to work or visiting friends across town. It is a great collection that hard-core SF fans and novices will both enjoy.

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