In this collection of new, original stories, science fiction's most beloved writers (including Dan Simmons, Orson Scott Card, and Anne McCaffrey) once again revisit the remarkable worlds they created and made famous.
Like Legends, the list of writers in Far Horizons reads like a Who's Who of the genre: Le Guin, Joe Haldeman, Orson Scott Card, David Brin, Simmons, Nancy Kress, Frederik Pohl, Gregory Benford, McCaffrey and Greg Bear, as well as Silverberg himself. And like Legends, the authors take a page or two to introduce their stories so that newcomers won't be totally lost. The average story in Far Horizons is, as you might expect, a significant cut above the average SF story, although this anthology is not quite as successful as its predecessor. Authors like Le Guin and Simmons have come up with some first-rate stuff, but Card and McCaffrey have produced stories that are mediocre at best. Overall, though, the book has far more ups than downs, and serious readers won't want to miss this one. Those new to the world of SF will also find Far Horizons an invaluable reference when they're looking for good authors to read. --Craig E. Engler
I have some mild misgivings about the concept behind these books, really just a personal thing. I tend to think that we do well to encourage writers to branch out in new directions, to invent new universes. A book like this guarantees that the writers will be rehashing somewhat familiar territory. I also like to see anthologies feature a mix of established talent and new writers: partly because I'm interested in seeing what new voices have to say, and partly because I think it helps new writers to have venues in which to publish their work which will be promoted, as it were, by the presence of big names alongside them. But I emphasize that these are quibbles, and that despite all that a book like this is an attractive package, and that most of the series involved have plenty of room for interest further explorations.
That said, I was mildly disappointed by the final results. Most of the stories are pretty good, but not a one of them quite bowled me over, though the Simmons and Le Guin pieces came close. Dan Simmons' entry, "Orphans of the Helix", is set in the universe of his Hyperion Cantos. Some centuries following the events of that series, a "spinship" carrying frozen colonists looking for a new world to settle detects a distress signal. A few of them are wakened, and they deal with a desperate problem involving an ancient colony of "Ousters" (space adapted humans) and some unusual aliens. The plot is not the interesting part of this story: Simmons is having fun with a passel of big, "Space Opera", ideas. Simmons' reputation is as a somewhat "literary" writer, and I think this obscures his impressive Sfnal imagination at times. This story considers Ringworld-sized forests, some very odd humans indeed, some interesting political speculation, aliens living inside a sun, a really big, really scary spaceship, and several more sense-of-wonder inducing ideas. Le Guin's story, on the other hand, is much quieter in tone. It's another story set on Werel, the setting of her collection of linked novellas, Four Ways to Forgiveness. "Old Music and the Slave Women", like the previous Werel stories, treats of the revolution against the long-established slave-owning societies on Werel. The protagonist, called Old Music, is a Hainish diplomat, that is a representative of the interstellar organization called the Ekumen. As war rages, the Ekumen has been prevented from gaining information about conditions on Werel, and Old Music jumps at a chance to speak to the rebels. But he is betrayed, and ends up at a compound of slaveholding loyalists. As the war rages back and forth across this area, he learns at first hand a great deal about this culture. It's a fine story, and it fits in very well with the other stories in its series, so much so that I wouldn't be surprised to see Le Guin reissue her collection including this story: Five Ways to Forgiveness, anyone?
Many of the other stories are enjoyable but minor: in the nature of things they tend to be sidelights to the existing series of which they are parts. There are two outright stinkers, Orson Scott Card's wish-fulfillment story "Investment Counselor" about how Ender meets Jane (the latter character one of my least favorite characters ever), and Anne McCaffrey's awful "The Ship That Returned".
the stories were not so apealimg to me, since i haven't read most of this books, and the impression i got is that i didn't missed most of them.
anyway, it look likes a lot of effort was put in this book by the editor SILVEBERG, and his fellow writers, but the outcome is a litle dissapointing.