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Starred Review. The new space opera shares with the old the interstellar sweep of events and exotic locales, but Dozois and Strahan's all-original anthology shows how the genre's purveyors have updated it, with rigorous science, well-drawn characters and excellent writing. Many of the 18 stories play with the scope that characterizes classic space opera. In Greg Egan's Glory, creatures embody themselves as aliens to perform archeological research, only to get caught up in a struggle between two worlds. Robert Reed's Hatch, limited in locale to the hull of a giant ship, proves that the scope of the struggle for life is always epic. Stephen Baxter's Remembrance walks a line between the personal and the global as resisters against Earth's conquerors remember one man's struggle against the alien invaders. Kage Baker's humorous Maelstrom, in which an acting troupe on frontier Mars puts on a Poe story for the miners there, tells a personal story in an epic setting. The new space opera teaches us that despite the bizarre turns humanity may take to conquer these outré settings, a recognizable core of humanity remains.
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The rich space opera tradition, extending from the off-world voyages of Verne and Wells to this galaxy-embracing anthology, is arguably sf's most prolific subgenre. Veteran anthologist Dozois and coeditor Strahan present some of the newest boundary-stretching variations on the category's many themes. Accordingly, the roster of contributors includes some of contemporary sf's brightest innovators, such as Peter Hamilton and Robert Silverberg, as well as such rising stars as Tony Daniel and Mary Rosenblum. Ian McDonald brilliantly sketches entire future cultures and histories in Verthandi's Ring, the main concern of which is millennia-old intergalactic battles. In Hatch, Robert Reed describes the precarious lifestyle of a small human society eking out a living on the surface of a Jupiter-sized starship. Other tales monitor species-changing scientists, an eccentric Martian arts colony, and Earth's last traumatized survivor. In sheer breathtaking, mind-expanding scope, this collection of some of the finest tale-spinning the subgenre has to offer delivers hours of exhilarating reading. Hays, Carl
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Paperback edition.