|“Modern humans live, in effect, on the shores of two seas: the galaxy and the future. Science fiction writers spin stories about those two seas…”
Those words by Tom Purdom are quoted in the introduction by Michael Swanwick and they well describe the twelve stories in this anthology. Every story was first published in Asimovs Magazine which is one of the top three in the genre. All are relatively recent; the oldest, Sepoy, in 1992 and most recent, Bonding with Morry in 2012.
Tom Purdom was first published in 1957. It shows in his work that he brings a lifetime of experience both as a person and as a writer.
Every one of the twelve stories is a carefully constructed gem (if you’ll pardon a mixed metaphor) that works on many levels. Each one is a good, solid story that contains a shrewd look at people and their relationships with each other, with society and with our possible futures. That is, each can be enjoyed for the plot alone and also for the ideas.
For example, Haggle Chips is an exciting account of a hostage struggling to escape captivity but along the way it explores the society and why he’s held captive plus the nature of human relationships. All this in 43 pages!
Each story also has a blurb by the author explaining his purpose in writing it.
I had read many of these when they were published so it has been a rare pleasure to revisit them again and to discover the ones new to me. ~~ Marian Powell