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The Year's Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction by Various
Edited by Alan Kaster
Cover Artist: Maurizio Manzieri
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Infinivox Audio CD  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781884612855
Date: 21 July 2009 List Price $32.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction holds true to its title. It is a collection of short stories edited by Allan Kaster. Both science fiction die-hards and neophytes will enjoy the wide variety of short stories.

I am new to reading the science fiction genre, but I enjoyed reading The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction, edited by Allan Kaster. The stories range from tales of present day with new technologies, to future stories with alien creatures. I enjoyed them. They are a nice addition to the mystery genre that I normally read.

I will summarize three of my favorites.

    "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss", by Kij Johnson, is a story about a woman who acquires a monkey circus act. The monkeys perform various acts on stage and eventually all disappear at the end. It is light and pleasant. The owner finds true peace with herself through the monkeys.

    "The Art of Alchemy", by Ted Kosmatka, is a current-day story involving memory metals. As an engineer and pseudo-metallurgist, I think the story is great. Memory metals, or even memory materials, are able to bend and return to their previous shape. The story involves some intrigue, and the resolution is a do-good theme that helps the whole world.

    "The Ray-Gun: A Love Story", by James Alan Gardner, is the first story in the collection and caught my attention right away. A young boy finds a ray gun in the woods near his home that has powers to vaporize everything in its path. He realizes the power of the ray gun and keeps it a secret well into his adulthood. The point of the story will spoil the plot for the reader, so I will not divulge it. What impressed me is that the story is circular, everything ties together and the ending is a surprise.

I received the "book" from SFREVU as an audio CD set. Audio books are wonderful as "car books". I listen to them as I drive. I drive frequently from my home Norfolk, VA to Washington, DC. My normal three-hour trip goes by so quickly, that I barely realize that I am driving. Audio books also work for short drives around town. One of the advantages of short stories on CD over novels is that you can finish one on a quick trip back and forth to work.

I recommend the collection. Science fiction lovers will enjoy it because it covers a wide variety of plotlines. Ironically, newcomers to science fiction will love it because it allows you to sample the various styles and see which you like the best.

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