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Stranded [Paperback]

Anne Bishop , Anthony Francis , James Alan Gardner

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Book Description

Aug. 24 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: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (Aug. 24 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: #1,038,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  23 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.
3 of 3 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
4.0 out of 5 stars highly recommended as a collection Oct. 28 2012
By she treads softly - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Stranded by Anne Bishop, Anthony Francis, James Alan Gardner features three science fiction novellas that share "stranded" as a common theme.
All of the stories feature young protagonists so this collection could easily be classified as YA.

In "A Host Of Leeches" by James Alan Gardner Alyssa is a young woman who wakes up, alone, after suffering from some sort of plague. She discovers she has been left on a space station and that all the other infected humans on the station are frozen. The station was originally set up for human habitation but is now only inhabited by war robots, who have been decommissioned to the space station. Alyssa is unexpectedly thrust into a conflict between two opposing robot leaders. I enjoyed this story the most and would very highly recommend it.

In "A Strand In the Web" by Anne Bishop, Willow is a restorer in training on an aging ship. She is learning to create ecosystems with balance on planets across the solar system. Willow is assigned trees as her specialty in her training team. When two members of her team sabotage the groups efforts on their project, jeopardizing the future for everyone, Willow takes a daring leap of faith and applies to be the sole restorer of a nearby island. Surprisingly, she is granted permission to create a balanced ecosystem for the island and calls upon a classmate, Stev, to assist her. I enjoyed this heartfelt story with a hopeful ending. I also enjoyed this story a lot and would very highly recommend it.

"Stranded" by Anthony Francis involves a genetically engineered Centauress from the advanced Alliance, traveling to a planet she wants to colonize - and to escape her accomplished grandmother's sphere of influence. She arrives only to have a group of feral children, who have broken into bands of boys versus girls, crash their spaceship on "her" planet. A conflict erupts as a struggle for power plays out between all the juveniles. This was the least successful story in the collection for me, but I would still recommend it.

Verdict: highly recommended as a collection

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Belle Bridge Books and Netgalley for review purposes.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice collections of sf stories Oct. 18 2012
By Bookworm Dreams - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Stranded is an anthology containing three science fiction stories featuring young adult protagonists (16 years or so) who are stranded in space and placed in charge of their fate. Without condescending to the age group, we are given a moral message of right vs. wrong and how our actions influence not only our lives but the world around us too.

~ A Host Of Leeches ~
This story has a promising start. Alyssa wakes up after getting sick in an unknown hospital without memory how she got there. As she explores unknown space station populated with robots instead of people, we get to learn about what happened to her.
There are a lot of robots in this story: small, large, smart, slow, hostile, motherly, ... I am a fan of robots since R2D2 beeped those cute sentences from screen to me, so I enjoyed reading about them. Their antics and sometimes weird sense of logic always make me smile. My favorite was Og. He was the cutest of them all (ignore the fact that he is a giant doom machine).
James Alan Gardner did a great job writing this story. There are a lot of twists - some surprising and some not so surprising - but they make you read this story in a blink of an eye.

~ A Strand In the Web ~
Before this book, I only read books written by Anne Bishop. She and I have an ongoing love/hate relationship. I love her Black Jewels trilogy and hate her Ephemera series. So I did not know what to expect when I started reading her debut story to science fiction genre. Will I like it or not?
The answer is yes, this was a good story. We follow young Willow as she struggles with usual teenager problems: school assignments gone wrong, jealousy from class mates and project that is too complex for her to do it by herself. Also, we learn about scary (but possible?) future of Earth inhabitants if we do not take care about our planet better.

~ Stranded ~
This was the last story and for me the hardest to read. I was excited when I read the summary. How many science fiction stories are there that feature young genetically engineered centauress? But unfortunately Anthony Francis has a style of writing that I found very hard to read. There are so many unknown terms and invented words in his sentences, crammed and unfinished ideas and plot elements, that my brain simply could not process all that and enjoy in the same time. This feels more like a draft for a novel than a fully developed novella.
But if we disregard that, this story is very interesting and original and it discusses some very serious subjects like gender equality and homophobia.

I recommend this book to: fans of thought-provoking science fiction and young adults.

Disclaimer: I was given a free ebook by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. This text is also posted on Goodreads and my blog: [...] .

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