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Stranded [Paperback]

Anne Bishop , Anthony Francis , James Alan Gardner

Price: CDN$ 14.37 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Aug. 1 2012
Three Great Authors-Three Great Science Fiction Stories

A Strand In the Web

New York Times Bestselling Fantasy Author Anne Bishop makes her U.S. debut in Science Fiction with this engaging futuristic novella. The Restorers travel the universe fulfilling a purpose handed down through the generations. They live and die aboard city-ships, never knowing the worlds they create and save. What begins as a disastrous training exercise in creating and balancing ecosystems becomes an unexpected fight for survival. The only hope may be the secret project of an untried Restorer team.

A Host Of Leeches

Award winning author James Alan Gardner pens a wonderfully imaginative tale in which a young woman wakes to find herself the sole human on an orbiting, mechanical space station. To find a way home, she must navigate the dangerous politics of war between opposing robot leaders.


Popular urban fantasy writer Anthony Francis (Dakota Frost, Skindancer series) explores a clash of ethics and survival when a young, genetically engineered centauress from the ultra-advanced Alliance lays claim to a rare, strategic garden planet, only to find herself captured by a band of rag-tag Frontier refugees who've crashed their vintage ship on her unexpectedly hostile world.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (Aug. 1 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611941660
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611941661
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,242,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three flawed stories share a common theme Aug. 27 2012
By TChris - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Stranded brings together three lengthy science fiction stories, two written for this volume, that share the titular theme: stories about being stranded. Each is preceded by a short introduction written by the story's author.

Alyssa Magord, the victim of an alien plague, wakes up alone -- alone except for a hybrid computer/dolphin that shares her blood and a variety of weaponized robots. She soon realizes she's in quarantine ... the kind of quarantine from which it may be impossible to return. While this is a promising premise, the story descends into silliness as the robots squabble with each other. The story isn't quite funny enough to succeed as laugh-out-loud comedy, although I assume that was the author's intent. It has its moments, and the ultimate resolution is moderately clever. I would give James Alan Gardner's "A Host of Leeches" 3 1/2 stars.

Willow lives on city-ship that travels around the galaxy. The crew's mission (which carries quasi-religious overtones) is the restoration of devastated worlds (sort of like playing SimPlanet). Although she is merely a student, Willow mysteriously becomes responsible for restoring an entire island. Apart from an unfortunate bit of silliness involving unicorns, the story becomes interesting when it focuses on the restoration work, the careful balancing of plants and birds and bees, predators and prey. On the other hand, Willow's triumphant development as a character and the story's conclusion are predictable and dull. I would give Anne Bishop's "A Strand in the Web" 3 stars.

For no apparent reason, the girls are at war with the boys in a ship that is falling apart, and it's up to a "Halfway Boy" named Sirius to save them all. Now, with the ship in distress, they must land on an uncharted planet. Add an elf-monkey child (seriously?) and a centaur (seriously?) who carries a staff that lets her "skip from world to world" (seriously?) and you've got what amounts to a fantasy married to cheesy science fiction. The story reads like it was written in the Flash Gordon era (the nastiest weapon the humans can muster is a "blaster"). The writing style is cliché-dependent and overwrought, relying too amply on exclamation points!!! to signal conflict and create drama. The plot is preachy (and rather stale in its condemnation of patriarchy and homophobia), often more soap opera than space opera, but the last third of the story introduces some interesting concepts. Anthony Francis wrote "Stranded." I would give it 2 1/2 stars.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sci-Fi Dec 26 2012
By Mary E. Young - Published on
This book features three novellas centered in a sci-fi universe, all connected with the theme of Stranded. Bishop's book has "Restorers" living on space ships. Their entire purpose is to create balanced and self-sustaining ecosystems on planets that they will never experience. Gardner's book begins with a girl who finds herself waking up on a space station full of robots. Francis' book begins with a genetically engineered centauress who is captured by a group of refugees.

I highly enjoyed Bishop and Gardner's stories. I found Francis' tale a bit harder to get into. Overall, this collection features some fascinating work. I would love to read a series set in Bishop's world (of course she is my favorite author). I think sci-fi fans will highly enjoy this book and its interesting ideas.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a mish-mash held together by a strand Nov. 24 2012
By Kathy Davie - Published on
An anthology of three short stories for young adults revolving around a theme of being stranded.

The Stories
James Alan Gardner's "A Host of Leeches" is an odd mix of science fiction, paranoia, and the cartoonish. I definitely could see a Saturday morning cartoon based on this, although the audience is more likely to be conspiracy theorists.

Alyssa is the lucky one, the one experimented upon in a secret space station where plague victims were sent. She's also the unlucky one as she seems to be the only living being in the entire complex. Until she can find Balla, her Dolphin aut. Then it's two against the, well, world?

Good point. People thinking up all the bad things they'd do to others and automatically assuming that's what their enemies are planning to do to them. Doesn't say much about us. Or them.

This story feels as though it could be a prequel for a series. I want to give it a "3" because it's just too juvenile in how Gardner writes the story, but it rates a "4" for its ingenuity. Which means a "3.5" in the ratings.

Anne Bishop's "A Strand in the Web" is a sad look at what our future could be if we don't pay attention and care for the environment in which we currently live.

"It also showed that there was no room for ego in the work we were choosing to do." I also like Bishop's message that we are only one strand in the web of our world.

This is definitely a "5", and I'd love to read future stories about this new effort at building a world. Bishop delivers her environmental message consistently and well. I did love the obvious connection between the comment on ego and Dermi and Fallah's stupid reasons. Bishop wrote a great story without being condescending or cartoonish.

Anthony Francis' "Stranded" is a gender-divided Lord of the Flies with teenaged idiots. Ego- and hormone-driven nitwits who finally have to work together or die.

They and Serendipity Saint George collide when their ship crashes and she's just claimed the moon where they crashed. The crew is still fighting amongst themselves and Serendipity has her knowledge of history and the success/failure rate of human colonies, centuries of centaur philosophy and her grandmother's training.

Francis certainly has an imagination and he's certainly creative which rates it a "4"; however, I give it a "3" because I think he handled it clumsily at the start nor does he deliver his message very well. So, another "3.5".

The Title
The title is the theme for these three stories: Stranded. Whether its in fear, absolution, or a desire to prove oneself.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Huh? April 20 2014
By Michael W Riley - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hard to believe Anne Bishop would allow her work to be associated with anything so ridiculously simplistic, poorly developed, and inconsistent as Anthony Francis's "Stranded".
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more YA than I was expecting Aug. 11 2013
By Audrey - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this collection of short stories mainly for "A Strand in the Web" by Anne Bishop. There are also two other stories "Host of Leeches" by James Alan Gardner and "Stranded" by Anthony Francis. All of the stories were at least acceptable, some more than others. But what I didn't pick up from reading the publisher's summary is that they are also YA. Which is not, in and of itself, a major objection. But I would have liked to know ahead of time what I was getting.

"A Strand in the Web" was worth the purchase price of the book. This is a well thought out, compelling story with a strong environmental theme. What happens when a planet get a second chance - a chance to recover from massive ecological damage? A ship full of space travelers who are attempting to atone for environmental sins on another world in the distant past have one last chance to get it right. This is a powerful thought-providing work. Well written and complete in itself. Highly recommended.

"Host of Leeches" is written in a rather simplistic style. A 16 year old girl is infected with an illness of extraterrestrial origins while on Earth. She wakes up on an orbital space station populated by retired military robots, some of which are deceitful and power-hungry and other that are fond of humans. Very YA feel to the entire thing.

I took a strong dislike to "Stranded." Mainly as a result of scenes with a male teenaged bully physically abusing the young girls who had the misfortune to find themselves in his power. I don't find that type of behavior entertaining. I slogged through and eventually finished the story. Space travelers crash land after their ship malfunctions. Young female centaur trying to find herself in compensation for an overachieving grandmother discovers the wrecked ship and steps in. The story is somewhat open-ended and feels like is might be lifted from part of a series.

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