jueves, 27 de noviembre de 2014

Solaris Rising 3, edited by Ian Whates, a review in 10 questions


(Disclaimer: English is my second language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.) 

It has been some time since I have written a review in the form of answers to a set of predefined questions. I quite like the format and I find it particularly fit for anthologies of short stories, so I have decided to use it to review Solaris Rising 3, edited by Ian Whates. Hope you enjoy it!

1) Which of the stories included in Solaris Rising 3 is your favorite?

I must confess that I don't exactly love any of the stories included in the book. The average quality is very good and there are quite a number that I really enjoyed, but, for several reasons, none of them stroke me as excellent. That said, my favorite stories are, probably, "Double Blind" by Tony Ballantyne and "The Mashup" by Sean Williams.

2) Which story did surprise you the most?

"Popular Images from the First Manned Mission to Enceladus", by Alex Dally MacFarlane, surprised me because of its unusual form (the story is told by means of posters used to advertise the mission of the title) and "The Mashup", by Sean Williams, because of its premise (more on this later).

3) What story would you like to see expanded into a novel?

Many of them. In fact, my main problem with the anthology is that I found many of the endings of the stories to be really, really abrupt. For instance, I think that "Double Blind", by Tony Ballantyne,"The Mashup" by Sean Williams, "The Frost on Jade Buds", by Aliette de Bodard and "Fift & Shira", by Benjamin Rosenbaum, to name a few, would have benefitted from being longer.  

4) Is any of the authors included in Solaris Rising 3 one of your personal favorites? What did you think of their stories?

Yes, in fact I became interested in Solaris Rising 3 as soon as I saw that it was going to include stories by Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Ken Liu and Aliette de Bodard, three of my favorite short-story writers. They always deliver, and this case was not exception. 

5) Have you discovered any new author in this anthology?

I really liked "A Taste for Murder", by Julie E. Czerneda, an author in which I've been interested for some time but whose work I had never read before. Also, as I mentioned above, I was very surprised by Alex Dally MacFarlane's story. And not exactly a new author to me (because I have read several of his stories in other books and magazines) but I was glad to find a story by Benjamin Rosembaum, whom I had, unforgivably, almost forgotten.  

6) Which of the stories has the more original premise?

The idea of the mysterious spheres in "The Mashup", by Sean Williams, was really, really interesting and original.  

7) In your opinion, which of the story is the hardest in terms of "hard science"? And the softest?

I wouldn't classify any of the stories included in Solaris Rising 3 exactly as hard SF, but one can argue that "Thing and Sick", by Adam Roberts, uses "hard philosophy". Conversely, several of the stories are quite "soft" in their use of science, for instance "The Sullen Engines", by George Zebrowski, and "The Science of Chance", by Nina Allan   

8) Do you think that there is any story that does not perfectly match the theme in the anthology?

Almost all the stories fit perfectly well, the theme of Solaris Rising 3 being the broad "science fiction". However, as I mentioned in the previous answer, "The Sullen Engines", by George Zebrowski, and "The Science of Chance", by Nina Allan, include so few "scientific" or "speculative" elements that they might even be considered to be outside the science fiction genre by some.

9) Is there any story in Solaris Rising 3 that you have not liked?

I confess that "Faith Without Teeth", by Ian Watson, and "The Sullen Engines", by George Zebrowski, were way too surreal for my taste.

10) How does Solaris Rising 3 compare to Solaris Rising 2?

I was not very satisfied with Solaris Rising 2 (which I reviewed in Spanish earlier this year) and I think that even if Solaris Rising 3 is far from being perfect, is a superior anthology in almost every regard.   

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