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The Good New Stuff: Adventure in SF in the Grand Tradition [Paperback]

Gardner Dozois
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 15 1999
Once the mainstay of science fiction, adventure stories fell out of favor during the 1960s and early 1970s. But in recent years, science fiction writers have spun out galaxy-spanning adventures as imaginative and wonderful as any of yesteryear's tales. Renowned editor Gardner Dozois assembles seventeen such escapades here, with stories from today's and tomorrow's finest writers, including:

Stephen Baxter, Tony Daniel, R. Garcia y Robertson, Peter F. Hamilton, Janet Kagan, George R. R. Martin, Paul J. McAuley, Maureen F. McHugh. G. David Nordley, Robert Reed, Mary Rosenblum, Bruce Sterling, Michael Swanwick, George Turner, John Varley, Vernor Vinge, Walter Jon Williams

These stories brim with the exciting thrills our universe offers us-- alien landscapes, unimagined realms, life unlike any we have known before, and that mysterious realm known as the human soul. The Good New Stuff shows that they really do still write 'em like that!

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From Amazon

This is the second of two companion anthologies that chronicle the history of the SF adventure story. With this book, editor Gardner Dozois is attempting to disprove the old adage that "they don't write 'em like that anymore." Which, of course, they do, as writers like Peter F. Hamilton, Michael Swanwick, George Turner, and John Varley amply demonstrate in these pages. The selections here date from 1977 to 1998, although Dozois has limited himself by omitting subgenres such as cyberpunk, military SF, and even hard SF. While this makes the The Good New Stuff somewhat dubious as a historical overview of the adventure SF field, it allows Dozois to uncover some real gems that might otherwise have gone overlooked, including a couple of stories first published in the Brit-lit SF magazine Interzone. It's safe to say that in the hands of authors like Robert Reed, Walter Jon Williams, and Stephen Baxter, the grand tradition of SF is alive and well. --Craig E. Engler

From Kirkus Reviews

Companion volume to The Good Old Stuff (p. 1339), that being a selection of golden oldie adventure stories/space operas from the 1940s through the 1960s. Here, Dozois rounds up yarns in a similar mold from the 1970s on up. Some are already famous or familiar: Bruce Sterling's splendid Shaper/Mechanist yarn, ``Swarm''; Walter Jon Williams's wrenching perversion of religion, ``Prayers on the Wind''; and George R.R. Martin's science fiction Inquisition, ``The Way of Cross and Dragon.'' Maureen F. McH ugh's ``The Missionary's Child'' is set on same world as her recent novel, Mission Child (p. 1421). Most of the other yarns are top-notch too; it's not quality that's at issue here. One problem is a change of style in SF: virtually none of these tales wou ld qualify as space opera or even adventure. Mostly they're too complex to be easily categorized. Another quibble involves the volume's breakdown by decade. Of the seventeen yarns here, two derive from the 1970s, four from the 1980s, with a disproportiona te eleven from the 1990s, these latter no more ``adventurous'' than the others. Splendid yarns, but still, while Dozois's desire to wrap things up in a neat package is understandable, his rather specious justifications grate nonetheless. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
John Varley appeared on the SF scene in 1974, and by the end of 1976-in what was a meteoric rise to prominence even for a field known for meteoric rises-he was already being recognized as one of the hottest new writers of the seventies. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars About as good as the run-of-the-mill old stuff May 28 2000
Format:Paperback
... fun escapist reading for a lazy Sunday. The collection is dominated by feel-good stories whose ideas and plot twists are familiar, often predictable.
Buoyed by a few charismatic selections (like Janet Kagan's "The Return of the Kangaroo Rex") which make up for their shortcomings by going at a good healthy clip and keeping the laughs coming in. William Jon Williams' "Prayers on the Wind" and George Turner's "Flowering Mandrake" offer moderately interesting twists on the tradition of the theocratic and the First Contact story respectively. I had been particularly interested in reading Vernor Vinge's novella "The Blabber," but it goes like the literary equivalent of a clip show: if you've already read "A Fire Upon the Deep" it's all too obvious, and if you haven't the story will probably seem pointless.)

For more consistently innovative picks but a bit more of a tendency toward name-brand authors, check out James Gunn's "Road to SF" series.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book! July 15 1999
Format:Paperback
I started this book convinced that I don't really care for the adventure story/space opera genre of science fiction. Now, I strongly believe that ANYBODY interested in science fiction should read this book. Almost everyone of these stories pulled me into a world of wonder, adventure, and suspense. I had a great time.
Gardner Dozois's short essays for each story, with a short biography and book/story list for each author, are not to be missed, either. Now, I have a great listing of books that I can't wait to explore, to Amazon's benefit and the further depletion of my wallet.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book! July 15 1999
By Stanley S. Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I started this book convinced that I don't really care for the adventure story/space opera genre of science fiction. Now, I strongly believe that ANYBODY interested in science fiction should read this book. Almost everyone of these stories pulled me into a world of wonder, adventure, and suspense. I had a great time.
Gardner Dozois's short essays for each story, with a short biography and book/story list for each author, are not to be missed, either. Now, I have a great listing of books that I can't wait to explore, to Amazon's benefit and the further depletion of my wallet.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars About as good as the run-of-the-mill old stuff May 28 2000
By Mock Duck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
... fun escapist reading for a lazy Sunday. The collection is dominated by feel-good stories whose ideas and plot twists are familiar, often predictable.
Buoyed by a few charismatic selections (like Janet Kagan's "The Return of the Kangaroo Rex") which make up for their shortcomings by going at a good healthy clip and keeping the laughs coming in. William Jon Williams' "Prayers on the Wind" and George Turner's "Flowering Mandrake" offer moderately interesting twists on the tradition of the theocratic and the First Contact story respectively. I had been particularly interested in reading Vernor Vinge's novella "The Blabber," but it goes like the literary equivalent of a clip show: if you've already read "A Fire Upon the Deep" it's all too obvious, and if you haven't the story will probably seem pointless.)

For more consistently innovative picks but a bit more of a tendency toward name-brand authors, check out James Gunn's "Road to SF" series.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader April 16 2008
By Blue Tyson - Published on Amazon.com
This is closing on the perfect anthology. The Good New Stuff averages 4.06, The Good Old Stuff 4.03. The former, however, doesn't contain the introductory and recommended reading material to the same degree as the latter, perhaps assuming you will be interested in both? Anyway, you will be if you like this book. I'd be happily still reading either if they were three times and long, and the editor said he had plenty more to choose from.

Dozois moves on from the up to the seventies of the earlier volume, beginning with a late seventies Varley story, a few from the eighties, and the majority from the nineties.

From 1999, maybe by the teens we will see The Good New Stuff 2, given it would be over ten years old then, although there's been originals like The New Space Opera, etc., produced, as well.

There are also supposed to be some Space Opera reprint anthologies from Rich Horton's publisher, for those interested in this sort of book with new work. Those books have been coming longer than xmas though, twice, even, I think, so have the unfortunately distinctly insubstantial smell of v@p0rware. So, will have to settle for these and The Space Opera Renaissance in the meantime if looking for other work, conveniently packaged.

Back to this volume though. There is quite a lot of space opera material here, of course, but some other stories of strange colonies - Janet Kagan, for instance, or baroque cultures in the case of Swanwick.

Yet another book that shows Dozois is the editor who chooses the stories I like the most, in general, even if only by a small margin.

Good New Stuff : Goodbye Robinson Crusoe - John Varley
Good New Stuff : The Way of Cross and Dragon - George R. R. Martin
Good New Stuff : Swarm - Bruce Sterling
Good New Stuff : The Blind Minotaur - Michael Swanwick
Good New Stuff : The Blabber - Vernor Vinge
Good New Stuff : The Return of the Kangaroo Rex - Janet Kagan
Good New Stuff : Prayers on the Wind - Walter Jon Williams
Good New Stuff : The Missionary's Child - Maureen F. McHugh
Good New Stuff : Poles Apart - G. David Nordley
Good New Stuff : Guest of Honor - Robert Reed
Good New Stuff : Flowering Mandrake - George Turner
Good New Stuff : Cilia-of-Gold - Stephen Baxter
Good New Stuff : Gone to Glory - R. Garcia y Robertson
Good New Stuff : A Dry Quiet War - Tony Daniel
Good New Stuff : All Tomorrow's Parties - Paul J. McAuley
Good New Stuff : Escape Route - Peter F. Hamilton
Good New Stuff : The Eye of G0d - Mary Rosenblum
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader April 16 2008
By Blue Tyson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is closing on the perfect anthology. The Good New Stuff averages 4.06, The Good Old Stuff 4.03. The former, however, doesn't contain the introductory and recommended reading material to the same degree as the latter, perhaps assuming you will be interested in both? Anyway, you will be if you like this book. I'd be happily still reading either if they were three times and long, and the editor said he had plenty more to choose from.

Dozois moves on from the up to the seventies of the earlier volume, beginning with a late seventies Varley story, a few from the eighties, and the majority from the nineties.

From 1999, maybe by the teens we will see The Good New Stuff 2, given it would be over ten years old then, although there's been originals like The New Space Opera, etc., produced, as well.

There are also supposed to be some Space Opera reprint anthologies from Rich Horton's publisher, for those interested in this sort of book with new work. Those books have been coming longer than xmas though, twice, even, I think, so have the unfortunately distinctly insubstantial smell of vaporware. So, will have to settle for these and The Space Opera Renaissance in the meantime if looking for other work, conveniently packaged.

Back to this volume though. There is quite a lot of space opera material here, of course, but some other stories of strange colonies - Janet Kagan, for instance, or baroque cultures in the case of Swanwick.

Yet another book that shows Dozois is the editor who chooses the stories I like the most, in general, even if only by a small margin.

Good New Stuff : Goodbye Robinson Crusoe - John Varley
Good New Stuff : The Way of Cross and Dragon - George R. R. Martin
Good New Stuff : Swarm - Bruce Sterling
Good New Stuff : The Blind Minotaur - Michael Swanwick
Good New Stuff : The Blabber - Vernor Vinge
Good New Stuff : The Return of the Kangaroo Rex - Janet Kagan
Good New Stuff : Prayers on the Wind - Walter Jon Williams
Good New Stuff : The Missionary's Child - Maureen F. McHugh
Good New Stuff : Poles Apart - G. David Nordley
Good New Stuff : Guest of Honor - Robert Reed
Good New Stuff : Flowering Mandrake - George Turner
Good New Stuff : Cilia-of-Gold - Stephen Baxter
Good New Stuff : Gone to Glory - R. Garcia y Robertson
Good New Stuff : A Dry Quiet War - Tony Daniel
Good New Stuff : All Tomorrow's Parties - Paul J. McAuley
Good New Stuff : Escape Route - Peter F. Hamilton
Good New Stuff : The Eye of G0d - Mary Rosenblum

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