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WesternSFA



Carbide Tipped Pens: Seventeen Tales of Hard Science Fiction
edited by Ben Bova and Eric Choi
Tor, $27.99, 400pp
Published: December 2014

Included here are stories from Ben Bova and Eric Choi, of course, as well as Doug Beason, Gregory Benford, Robert Reed, Aliette de Bodard, David DeGraff, Carl Frederick, Nancy Fulda, Jack McDevitt, Howard Hendrix, Liu Cixin (translated by Ken Liu), Daniel H. Wilson, Leah Peterson & Gabrielle Harbowy Kate Story, Dirk Strasser, and Jean-Louis Trudel. As the cover flap notes, these stories range “from ancient China to the outer reaches of the solar system” and cover “topics as diverse as space exploration, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, climate change, alternate history, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, interplanetary war, and even the future of baseball.”

I am not normally a fan of short stories but the majority of these both held my interest as well as making me want more. Perhaps my favorites were The Yoke of Inauspicious Stars by Kate Story which is basically Romeo and Juliet set on a mining colony. We know where we are going but it is satisfying nonetheless. And, for different reasons, Recollection by Nancy Fulda as a very thought-provoking look at  the problems of the first person cured of Alzheimer's. Not every story will be to everyone’s taste but if you enjoy hard science fiction then you will find the majority here to be worth the time. Recommended ~~ Stephanie L Bannon

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