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The Mammoth Book of Extreme Science Fiction

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Here are 25 stories of science fiction that push the boundaries, by the biggest names in an emerging crop of high-tech futuristic writers including Charles Stross, Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Peter Hamilton and Neal Asher.


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Here are 25 stories of science fiction that push the boundaries, by the biggest names in an emerging crop of high-tech futuristic writers including Charles Stross, Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Peter Hamilton and Neal Asher.

30 review for The Mammoth Book of Extreme Science Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rasheed

    Anomalies (2001) by Gregory Benford 4/5 And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon (2003) by Paul Di Filippo 5/5 Crucifixion Variations (1998) by Lawrence Person 4/5 The Pacific Mystery by (2006) Stephen Baxter 4.5.5 Flowers from Alice (2003) by Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow 3/5 Merlin's Gun (2000) by Alastair Reynolds 5/5 Death in the Promised Land (1995) by Pat Cadigan 3/5 The Long Chase (2002) by Geoffrey A. Landis 4.5/5 Waterworld (1994) by Stephen L. Gillett and Jerry Oltion 3/5 Hoop-of-Benzene (2006) Anomalies (2001) by Gregory Benford 4/5 And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon (2003) by Paul Di Filippo 5/5 Crucifixion Variations (1998) by Lawrence Person 4/5 The Pacific Mystery by (2006) Stephen Baxter 4.5.5 Flowers from Alice (2003) by Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow 3/5 Merlin's Gun (2000) by Alastair Reynolds 5/5 Death in the Promised Land (1995) by Pat Cadigan 3/5 The Long Chase (2002) by Geoffrey A. Landis 4.5/5 Waterworld (1994) by Stephen L. Gillett and Jerry Oltion 3/5 Hoop-of-Benzene (2006) by Robert Reed 4/5 The New Humans (1909) by B. Vallance 4/5 The Creator(1935) by Clifford D. Simak 4/5 The Girl Had Guts (1957) by Theodore Sturgeon 4/5 The Region Between (1970) by Harlan Ellison 4/5 The Days of Solomon Gursky (1998) by Ian McDonald 3/5 Wang's Carpets (1995) by Greg Egan 3/5 Undone (2001) by James Patrick Kelly 3.5/4 Judgment Engine (1995) by Greg Bear 3/5 Stuffing (2006) by Jerry Oltion 5/5

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Mine is an RNIB edition for blind people that I got from my local library as a download. There are several readers, all good, & it's about 25 hours long. Ashley & I don't agree on what makes a good SF short story. Most of these were far too long & not particularly interesting. If you like Greg Bear's writing, you'll probably like this collection. He wrote one of the stories. For all his popularity, I've never found it worthwhile to wade through his prose, though. Too many words for too little ret Mine is an RNIB edition for blind people that I got from my local library as a download. There are several readers, all good, & it's about 25 hours long. Ashley & I don't agree on what makes a good SF short story. Most of these were far too long & not particularly interesting. If you like Greg Bear's writing, you'll probably like this collection. He wrote one of the stories. For all his popularity, I've never found it worthwhile to wade through his prose, though. Too many words for too little return. The last story was "Stuffing" by Jerry Oltion it was great. It was the only one that was, though. There were a few other good ones, so I'm glad this was free from the library.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tommy Carlson

    Extreme Science Fiction is a nice collection of extreme science fiction, hence the title. I love short stories and it's an unfortunate reality that authors don't make much from them. So I'm always glad for nice collections like this one. Still, it's a great way to find new authors. (Well, new to me, anyway.) Many of the stories are great. A few are merely good. I don't think there was a truly bad one in the lot. The main weakness is in the ordering. The collection is ordered from least extreme to Extreme Science Fiction is a nice collection of extreme science fiction, hence the title. I love short stories and it's an unfortunate reality that authors don't make much from them. So I'm always glad for nice collections like this one. Still, it's a great way to find new authors. (Well, new to me, anyway.) Many of the stories are great. A few are merely good. I don't think there was a truly bad one in the lot. The main weakness is in the ordering. The collection is ordered from least extreme to most extreme. But, frankly, the most extreme stories were those kind of far-future, humanity-transcending-itself blather that just don't thrill me. For that genre, these were really good. But there's a clear drop-off about halfway through where the stories start to lose their impact. Oh, gee, another story about Pan-Humanity at the end of the Universe. Still, none of them were bad. It wasn't a chore to read through them by any means. But all is forgiven by the last story. It's a delightful little tale with a great ending. Even if the last half of the collection doesn't thrill you, it's worth it for the end.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    ***** Anomalies by Gregory Benford *** ...& the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon by Paul Di Filippo **** Crucifixion Variations by Lawrence Person ***** The Pacific Mystery by Stephen Baxter ***** Flowers from Alice by Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross **** Merlin's Gun by Alastair Reynolds *** Death in the Promised Land by Pat Cadigan ***** The Long Chase by Geoffrey A. Landis **** Waterworld by Stephen L. Gillett & Jerry Oltion ***** Hoop-of-Benzine by Robert Reed **** The New Humans by B. Vallance * ***** Anomalies by Gregory Benford *** ...& the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon by Paul Di Filippo **** Crucifixion Variations by Lawrence Person ***** The Pacific Mystery by Stephen Baxter ***** Flowers from Alice by Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross **** Merlin's Gun by Alastair Reynolds *** Death in the Promised Land by Pat Cadigan ***** The Long Chase by Geoffrey A. Landis **** Waterworld by Stephen L. Gillett & Jerry Oltion ***** Hoop-of-Benzine by Robert Reed **** The New Humans by B. Vallance **** The Creator by Clifford D. Simak ***** The Girl had Guts by Theodore Sturgeon **** The Region Between by Harlan Ellison **** The Days of Solomon Gursky by Ian McDonald **** Wang's Carpets by Greg Egan **** Undone by James Patrick Kelly *** Judgement Engine by Greg Bear * Stuffing by Jerry Oltion

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    I rated the stories in this book that fell within 3 🌟 or above. 3 🌟 Anomalies by Gregory Benford The moon skips forward a mile in its orbit, in a fraction of a second. There is a"cone of interference" behind its path, affecting the stars. Then, well, you have to read it. 5 🌟 Crucifixion Variations by Lawrence Persons Quantum Physics is going to prove the existence or not, of Jesus Christ. The Christian Research Council is bankrolling the project. Given the 100-trillion electron super-collider in the I rated the stories in this book that fell within 3 🌟 or above. 3 🌟 Anomalies by Gregory Benford The moon skips forward a mile in its orbit, in a fraction of a second. There is a"cone of interference" behind its path, affecting the stars. Then, well, you have to read it. 5 🌟 Crucifixion Variations by Lawrence Persons Quantum Physics is going to prove the existence or not, of Jesus Christ. The Christian Research Council is bankrolling the project. Given the 100-trillion electron super-collider in the basement of a major university, the physicist heading the project would use "a process based on complex energy transfer model to Trace E-particle energy loss back through history, and once you learn how to properly model, manipulate, and record E-particle energy states at that specific specified time, it is possible to "see" the past via a computer recreation based on E-particle positions." Thus, we could"see" the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ...."Without a truth...ANY truth... we're all alone in the dark." 5 🌟 The Pacific Mystery by Stephen Baxter Bliss Stirling of the BBC is invited on a trip aboard the Goering, an "aircraft carrier" in the sky, in the days after the Phoney War, which Adolf Hitler won. (This is historical fiction.) Heading east, they pass the coasts of China and Japan, and head out over the Pacific, which noone has ever managed to cross! 4 🌟 Death in the Promised Land by Pat Cardigan (the only woman author in the collection!) Artificial Reality (AR) is so real that some players will begin to confuse AR with reality. So real that if they are killed in AR their brain convinces them to die in real life? Following Detective Konstantine into Apocalyptic New Yawk Sitty, I actually began to visualize the AR. 5 🌟 Waterworld by Stephen L. Gillett & Jerry Oltion A colonizing/exploring ship/ark, with a crew awake and colonists in SLO/Mo is hit with a bit of meteor, which punches holes through the hull, kills a bunch of the crew, and quite a few of the SLO/Mo-ers. They lose much of their organics and most of their water. Now, they urgently must find a source of water in order to survive and continue their voyage to find a planet that can support life. Great tension is felt between the four remaining crew members as they try, and fail, at one proposed solution after another. 5 🌟 The New Humans by B. Vallance Have you read the story "The Country of the Blind" by H.G.Wells? This is a spoof of that story. Hilarious. 4 🌟 The Girl Had Guts by Theodore Sturgeon We found a planet that was .9999 compatible with Earth. But the two survivors of the scientific expedition there were 40 lbs underweight and had to eat 15,000 calories a day and were losing ground fast.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marie Michaels

    Overall, a great collection of sci-fi -- maybe not as extreme as I'd hoped but thought-provoking and unpredictable. Of course I enjoyed some, particularly the longer stories toward the end, more than others, but none of them felt like a waste of time. Not surprisingly, some of the hard sf is quite dense, and I did find myself skimming some of the very scientific exposition (like passages in "Wang's Carpets" and "Judgment Engine"). On the whole it's a good mix -- some are stronger in the story de Overall, a great collection of sci-fi -- maybe not as extreme as I'd hoped but thought-provoking and unpredictable. Of course I enjoyed some, particularly the longer stories toward the end, more than others, but none of them felt like a waste of time. Not surprisingly, some of the hard sf is quite dense, and I did find myself skimming some of the very scientific exposition (like passages in "Wang's Carpets" and "Judgment Engine"). On the whole it's a good mix -- some are stronger in the story department ("Anomalies," "Crucific Variations," "The Long Chase," "The New Humans," "The Girl Had Guts") and others in their extraordinary visions of sf futures (especially "Death in the Promised Land," "Hoop of Benzene," "The Days of Solomon Gursky," and "Judgment Engine"). No matter what your taste in sf, there's something here for you, particularly if your taste lean toward the hard sf (I like almost all of sf, so I was happy). However, the anthology does suffer one weakness that is common particularly to hard sf, which is that many of the characters are privileged male characters, even some of the far-future pan/transhumans. Ah well, there are some excellent female characters ("Hoop of Benzene," "Undone," and "Pacific Mystery" particularly come to mind), probably some genderbending ones ("Flowers from Alice" has a nice twist on this) and nonhuman characters to bring different perspectives to the mix. My favorites were: "Crucifix Variations," "Pacific Mystery" (a cool piece of sf alt history), "The Long Chase," "The Days of Solomon Gursky," and "Undone." Of all these, I think "Undone" is my very favorite -- I thought about it a lot after I read it. It has a great main character, a beginning that hooked me immediately, cool ideas of both a future Earth and the war being fought by the MC, and it's really well plotted and thought out, in that hints of the ending are sprinkled throughout the story. I had to read it twice to really get the ending(s), but it was so worth it. I actually bought this book, and I'm glad I did because I have a feeling that some of these will be great to re-read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peter Dunn

    Fine in parts – though somewhat padded with stories that simply are not Extreme Science Fiction as claimed by the anthology’s title and I am not just talking about the obviously out of place, predictable, and forgettable story entitled Stuffing by Jerry Oltion. However the book is worth it alone for the excellent: The Pacific Mystery by Stephen Baxter, The Region Between by Harlan Ellison, Wang's Carpets by Greg Egan, and The Days of Solomon Gursky by Ian McDonald. In the next rank also well wo Fine in parts – though somewhat padded with stories that simply are not Extreme Science Fiction as claimed by the anthology’s title and I am not just talking about the obviously out of place, predictable, and forgettable story entitled Stuffing by Jerry Oltion. However the book is worth it alone for the excellent: The Pacific Mystery by Stephen Baxter, The Region Between by Harlan Ellison, Wang's Carpets by Greg Egan, and The Days of Solomon Gursky by Ian McDonald. In the next rank also well worth reading are The Creator by Clifford D. Simak, Merlin's Gun by Alastair Reynolds, and Judgement Engine by Greg Bear (the last if only because it is by far the most intriguingly extreme science fiction conception set out in the book).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    This is a better-than-average collection of science fiction which I read to get a sense of what was happening in the field since I'd stopped being a voracious reader of the genre. This is a better-than-average collection of science fiction which I read to get a sense of what was happening in the field since I'd stopped being a voracious reader of the genre.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Florin Pitea

    Good value for money. Most of the stories are good, some very good, a few are truly mind-blowing. Highly recommended.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Johan Haneveld

    Easily 4,5 stars. One of the best collections I have read the past years, consisting of (mostly) the kind of SF that I personally like. Of course, some stories I liked or engaged with more than others, but most were just right for me. I like this kind of high concept, science based, far future (and sometimes almost incomprehensible) SF, that asks me to wrestle with concepts and mental imagery of identity, deep time, personality and meaning. These stories accomplish what is promised on the back o Easily 4,5 stars. One of the best collections I have read the past years, consisting of (mostly) the kind of SF that I personally like. Of course, some stories I liked or engaged with more than others, but most were just right for me. I like this kind of high concept, science based, far future (and sometimes almost incomprehensible) SF, that asks me to wrestle with concepts and mental imagery of identity, deep time, personality and meaning. These stories accomplish what is promised on the back of the book, and what I think all good SF ought to do, which is: 'pushing the boundaries, beyond what we would normally think or even dream, and taking us into worlds we might never imagine'. I'm in awe of the kind of imagination on display here, especially by Ian McDonald, Greg Egan and Greg Bear. I try and write far future SF myself, but I know I can not touch these pinnacles of the genre, my imagination falls short. Still, I felt inspired reading them. Some hight points in the collection (it grew better in the second half I thought). The pacific mystery is an interesting story, featuring an old timey tale of exploration conveyed by a re-discovered journal, even dinosaurs, on a very weird alternative earth. Baxter is good at coming up with these high concepts. Merlin's gun by Alastair Reynolds was not that extreme, I thought, but a very good SF-story, dealing with one of the threats life in our galaxy faces. I liked it, but then I like almost everything Reynolds writes. The Long Chase was a shorter tale, but well conceived! It was about the conflict between individuality and cooperation (a lot of the stories here were). Waterworld featured a well thought out planet, and a spaceship having to gain access to it, thinking their way to several obstacles, not in the least the ferocious fauna ... 'The new humans' is more than a century old. The story was not that fresh, but the imagination still managed to shock. 'The girl had guts' was a nice example of extreme body horror, well built up to an interesting end. I liked 'The days of Solomon Gursky' a lot, the imagination building and building from a seemingly simple incident towards the end of our universe (and beyond). 'Wang's carpets' featured an interesting post-singularity society searching for answers to their philosophical dilemma's on another planet and discovering an interesting form of life. 'Judgment Engine' by Greg Bear was a tour de force, but ultimately turned on the love of a couple from our time. The dilemma at the heart was interesting, also from a theological point of view. The final story managed to make me laugh! I liked 'Crucifixion variations' less, as the conclusion showed the author did not understand the nature of faith - it would never faze a believer, as for faith proof is not required. I thought 'Death in the promised land' lacked a clear resolution, and 'The region between' was to much about form, too little about substance. All in all, a very good collection, especially for those interested in how far SF can go in conceiving of other possibilities. It helps having read some SF before, but if you have any interest in SF as a literature of ideas and in the far future, then this must be on your 'must read' list!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ratiocination

    A good anthology all told, though the format is a little misleading. A high proportion of the stories are only a few years older than the book. I haven't been all that up on new SF recently, so they were new to me, and generally pretty good... but not really a thorough overview of extreme-concept science fiction as a whole. Some might also have benefited from not being read so close together, given similarities in premise. It's hard to read a third or fourth nanotech immortality story with quite A good anthology all told, though the format is a little misleading. A high proportion of the stories are only a few years older than the book. I haven't been all that up on new SF recently, so they were new to me, and generally pretty good... but not really a thorough overview of extreme-concept science fiction as a whole. Some might also have benefited from not being read so close together, given similarities in premise. It's hard to read a third or fourth nanotech immortality story with quite the same eye. The older stories in the anthology seem to be chosen at least partly for obscurity. I can understand not wanting to reprint, say, "The Final Question" or "All You Zombies" again, or not wanting to tread too closely on the heels of Dangerous Visions, but I still feel like there's probably better stuff out there that would have fit the concept of the anthology without being well-known standards. In particular I didn't think the Clifford Simak and Theodore Sturgeon stories showed either author in top form, which is a shame, because they're both less well known than they deserve. Still, even second-string Simak and Sturgeon is still pretty good, and an anthology this size with only one story I'd read before is a pretty good deal. Most of my concerns are about the book as a whole rather than the individual stories (although I didn't think much of the last one, so the book ended on something of a weak note.) Possibly The Fairly Large Book of Cutting-Edge Science Fiction and The Fairly Large Book of Conceptually Extreme Science Fiction would have been sounder undertakings, but overall an enjoyable read even so.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Voodoo Shampoo

    The only stories really worth reading: Anomalies by Gregory Benford - great Crucifixion Variations by Lawrence Person - decent Death in the Promised Land by Pat Cadigan - very interesting, quite original The Long Chase by Geoffrey A. Landis - great The Creator by Clifford D. Simak - great The Region Between by Harlan Ellison - great The other stories: ...& the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon by Paul Di Filippo - funny ending, but overall lacking The Pacific Mystery by Stephen Baxter - sort of bland and pale The only stories really worth reading: Anomalies by Gregory Benford - great Crucifixion Variations by Lawrence Person - decent Death in the Promised Land by Pat Cadigan - very interesting, quite original The Long Chase by Geoffrey A. Landis - great The Creator by Clifford D. Simak - great The Region Between by Harlan Ellison - great The other stories: ...& the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon by Paul Di Filippo - funny ending, but overall lacking The Pacific Mystery by Stephen Baxter - sort of bland and pale, although still somewhat interesting Flowers from Alice by Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross - lame cybersex Merlin's Gun by Alastair Reynolds - very dull and boring Waterworld by Stephen L. Gillett & Jerry Oltion - too melodramatic, but still decent Hoop-of-Benzine by Robert Reed - very uninteresting The New Humans by B. Vallance - very childish imagination The Girl had Guts by Theodore Sturgeon - somewhat interesting, could be better The Days of Solomon Gursky by Ian McDonald - boring zombie apocalypse with a different ending Wang's Carpets by Greg Egan - interesting, but still irritatingly boring Undone by James Patrick Kelly - greatly lacking, needs improvement Judgement Engine by Greg Bear - family drama taken into a SF setting Stuffing by Jerry Oltion - too dull to even bother finishing it

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sean Roach

    This book is more extreme than jumping off a cliff without a bungee cord, unless of course, you were jumping off said cliff while reading this book. Extreme!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sylvain

    Good stories, all well (to very well) written.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Charles Yearsley

    Overall this is a decent anthology. Some of the examples of "really" extreme tales exemplify fiction that gets too off the wall for me or even difficult to follow, so my opinion of them is not as good as I would like. I thought it really interesting Mike included a story from over a century ago. It was an inspired choice. Ted Sturgeon's story really stood out to me and I will not likely forget it. One last word, the typeset "proofing" for this tome is disgraceful. Ashley or whomever is responsibl Overall this is a decent anthology. Some of the examples of "really" extreme tales exemplify fiction that gets too off the wall for me or even difficult to follow, so my opinion of them is not as good as I would like. I thought it really interesting Mike included a story from over a century ago. It was an inspired choice. Ted Sturgeon's story really stood out to me and I will not likely forget it. One last word, the typeset "proofing" for this tome is disgraceful. Ashley or whomever is responsible should be SEVERELY reprimanded. As an example, the title of Sturgeon's story was ludicrously misspelled: "Thg Girl Had Guts" I think it was. Come on! This book probably has some of the most egregious examples of misspellings and other oddities I have ever seen in ebooks. Some of these publishers are a joke.

  16. 5 out of 5

    MiloΘ™ Dumbraci

    First of all, it's ordinary scifi, not extreme. Good scifi, not bad (except some stories) but... nothing extreme here. Second, out of 19 stories, I found only 5 to be 5/5s, with just 2 really memorable: Alastair Reynold's "Merlin Gun" (good story with amazing ending of galactic implications that caught me into a loop of "What should be done?") and Harlan Ellison's "The Region Between" (a great mix of different blends of scifi and an extremely original form). I also found stories I just couldn't First of all, it's ordinary scifi, not extreme. Good scifi, not bad (except some stories) but... nothing extreme here. Second, out of 19 stories, I found only 5 to be 5/5s, with just 2 really memorable: Alastair Reynold's "Merlin Gun" (good story with amazing ending of galactic implications that caught me into a loop of "What should be done?") and Harlan Ellison's "The Region Between" (a great mix of different blends of scifi and an extremely original form). I also found stories I just couldn't finish (Doctorow, Cadigan, McDonald), not that good (Baxter, Gillet, Kelly) or really bad (Oltion's "Stuffing"), with plenty of middle-range (average) others. The average is 3,5/5, but as a whole I felt the anthology is a 3/5. Not that bad, not that good.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Dodson

    I read anthologies for the opportunity to discover truly exceptional short-stories. Here are the standouts from this collection: Flowers from Alice by Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross ** The Long Chase by Geoffrey Landis ** Waterworld by Setphen Gillett & Jerry Oltion The Creator by Clifford Simak The Region Between by Harlan Ellison Stuffing by Jerry Oltion Some of the other stories in this anthology were pretty boring, and I don't think this editor is necessarily the best judge of what counts as I read anthologies for the opportunity to discover truly exceptional short-stories. Here are the standouts from this collection: Flowers from Alice by Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross ** The Long Chase by Geoffrey Landis ** Waterworld by Setphen Gillett & Jerry Oltion The Creator by Clifford Simak The Region Between by Harlan Ellison Stuffing by Jerry Oltion Some of the other stories in this anthology were pretty boring, and I don't think this editor is necessarily the best judge of what counts as an 'extreme' story. However, one story in particular instantly became one of my all-time favorites. That story was The Long Chase by Landis.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tomer

    {4.5 rounded up} This anthology represents an impressive collection of authors, both old and new with various stories each with their own tools pushing the plot into extremes. This may either involve the essence of characters and their perceptions in digital \ biologically enhanced or the surrounding itself spanning the vast extents of space and time even if some universal constants are skewed to examine different exercises of being. Obviously the stories vary in quality and affinity, but having q {4.5 rounded up} This anthology represents an impressive collection of authors, both old and new with various stories each with their own tools pushing the plot into extremes. This may either involve the essence of characters and their perceptions in digital \ biologically enhanced or the surrounding itself spanning the vast extents of space and time even if some universal constants are skewed to examine different exercises of being. Obviously the stories vary in quality and affinity, but having quite a few familiar names which in part made me swoon in delight and fond memories, while others unknown names which certainly warrant further exploration into additional works.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    This book was phenomenal! It has novellas and short stories from many of the heavy hitters in popular science fiction today. Some of the stories were not extreme per se where others were very much so. I loved the variety and quality. It kept me glued until the very last page.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jxx

    Liked it. Some good, some terrible, overall worth the time. As always with short stories, I find that whatever mood I am in when listening to one influences my rating more than when spending several days on a book. Anomalies (2001) by Gregory Benford: 3/5 - The moon jumps ahead in the sky. Cool concept, short and engaging. And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon (2003) by Paul Di Filippo: 2/5 - Cucked by your home electronics. Three star idea, one star story. Crucifixion Variations (1998) by Lawrence Liked it. Some good, some terrible, overall worth the time. As always with short stories, I find that whatever mood I am in when listening to one influences my rating more than when spending several days on a book. Anomalies (2001) by Gregory Benford: 3/5 - The moon jumps ahead in the sky. Cool concept, short and engaging. And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon (2003) by Paul Di Filippo: 2/5 - Cucked by your home electronics. Three star idea, one star story. Crucifixion Variations (1998) by Lawrence Person: 4/5 - Replaying history. Remarkably good hash of a well known trope. The Pacific Mystery by (2006) Stephen Baxter: 3/5 - The Earth is not a Sphere. Enjoyable, but a bit contrived alt-history. Flowers from Alice (2003) by Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow: 1/5 - In Doctorow's words a "pervy, weird story of transhuman romance". Boring relationship issues and yuck for yuck's sake. And from two of my favorite writers. Shame. Merlin's Gun (2000) by Alastair Reynolds: 2/5 - Planet killer weapon hunt. Cool at times, but lacked the magic I've felt in AR's longer stories. Death in the Promised Land (1995) by Pat Cadigan: 1/5 - VR 101 + detective story. Would have been mind blown if read in 1996; satisfied in 2006; fast forwarding in 2017. Full of tech expositions that have not aged well. The Long Chase (2002) by Geoffrey A. Landis: 5/5 - Millenia-long spaceship hunt at sub light speeds. Straight to the good stuff and keeps it flowing right till the end. Reminds me that I have a paper copy of Landis' Mars Crossing that I should get around to. Waterworld (1994) by Stephen L. Gillett and Jerry Oltion: 4/5 - Scientists bickering while solving a complex problem. Refreshing variation with multiple POVs of faulty characters. Solid world building. Hoop-of-Benzene (2006) by Robert Reed: 3/5 - Diplomacy and old grudges on a planet+ sized ship. Sweet setting and an interesting (albeit too humanoid) alien. The New Humans (1909) by B. Vallance: 3/5 - Quirky and charming abduction story with imaginative posthumans/aliens. Aged fairly well, impressive imagination for a one-shot author. The Creator (1935) by Clifford D. Simak: 4/5 - Wonderfully blasphemous trip outside the universe with a dash of the simulation argument. Remarkably modern with a never stated but tenderly portrayed gay couple as protagonists. The Girl Had Guts (1957) by Theodore Sturgeon: 2/5 - Gory first encounters. Plus for preceding Alien by 22 years, deductions for outdated machismo and view on women. The Region Between (1970) by Harlan Ellison: 5/5 - After-death-before-birth ultimate LSD-trip in text form. Straight to the action, epic scope, truly alien aliens, fabulous prose and a very likable bastard of a protagonist. Really something different with all the right ingredients. The Days of Solomon Gursky (1998) by Ian McTiny McGrabby Hands: 2/5 - The long journey to the end of time of a thrice dead posthuman. Good premise and vast scope, but suffers from unnecessary sex and ranting about the power of love. The audio version is marred by a poor narrator. Wang's Carpets (1995) by Greg Egan: 5/5 - One of the best parts of Diaspora. Highly ingenious first contact story with interesting posthuman protagonists. As with the rest of Egans work, this story makes me feel stupid in a good way. Undone (2001) by James Patrick Kelly: 1/5 - Time traveller jumps ahead in time, picks up a bartender and decides to become a housewife or something. I had to skip parts to get through this. Judgment Engine (1995) by Greg Bear: 2/5 - Thawed human wakes at the end of the universe, understands nothing, goes to marriage counseling. Stuffing (2006) by Jerry Oltion: 2/5 - Haha funny posthumans don't poop. Haha. Average 2.8

  21. 4 out of 5

    K.A.

    A lot of great stories and some that were challenging with no payoff. I would still recommend it though.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brent Claflin

    Some really great thought provoking short stories. And some duds... I love short story anthologies. For the most part its good.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Janet Jay

    I like this. I like the out there ideas & ordering them from least to most weird was a good choice

  24. 5 out of 5

    Edelhart Kempeneers

    Een aantal verhalen vond ik heel goed (Waterworld, The Girl Had Guts), de meeste vielen wel mee, en een aantal vond ik gewoonweg slecht. Ik ga trachten om elk verhaal een score te geven; maar eigenlijk is dat nogal relatief, moest ik het morgen opnieuw doen, zou ik wellicht andere resultaten bekomen... Anomalies (2001) by Gregory Benford 4/5 And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon (2003) by Paul Di Filippo 2/5 Crucifixion Variations (1998) by Lawrence Person 3/5 The Pacific Mystery (2006) by Stephen Ba Een aantal verhalen vond ik heel goed (Waterworld, The Girl Had Guts), de meeste vielen wel mee, en een aantal vond ik gewoonweg slecht. Ik ga trachten om elk verhaal een score te geven; maar eigenlijk is dat nogal relatief, moest ik het morgen opnieuw doen, zou ik wellicht andere resultaten bekomen... Anomalies (2001) by Gregory Benford 4/5 And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon (2003) by Paul Di Filippo 2/5 Crucifixion Variations (1998) by Lawrence Person 3/5 The Pacific Mystery (2006) by Stephen Baxter 4/5 Flowers from Alice (2003) by Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow 1/5 Merlin's Gun (2000) by Alastair Reynolds 2/5 Death in the Promised Land (1995) by Pat Cadigan 1/5 The Long Chase (2002) by Geoffrey A. Landis 4/5 Waterworld (1994) by Stephen L. Gillett and Jerry Oltion 5/5 Hoop-of-Benzene (2006) by Robert Reed 4/5 The New Humans (1909) by B. Vallance 3/5 The Creator(1935) by Clifford D. Simak 3/5 The Girl Had Guts (1957) by Theodore Sturgeon 5/5 The Region Between (1970) by Harlan Ellison 1/5 The Days of Solomon Gursky (1998) by Ian McDonald 1/5 Wang's Carpets (1995) by Greg Egan 3/5 Undone (2001) by James Patrick Kelly 4/5 Judgment Engine (1995) by Greg Bear 3/5 Stuffing (2006) by Jerry Oltion 3/5

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Some interesting stories in here but it's a flawed collection. The 'least extreme to most extreme' structure means that the first half of the collection aren't really extreme at all, certainly nothing along the lines of culture novels for example. Then there's the fact that of the 19 stories only one is by a female author. The editor claims he tried really hard but couldn't find any more. Well the existence of Alice Sheldon, Sheri Tipper, Ursula Le Guin etc etc suggest he didn't really try nearl Some interesting stories in here but it's a flawed collection. The 'least extreme to most extreme' structure means that the first half of the collection aren't really extreme at all, certainly nothing along the lines of culture novels for example. Then there's the fact that of the 19 stories only one is by a female author. The editor claims he tried really hard but couldn't find any more. Well the existence of Alice Sheldon, Sheri Tipper, Ursula Le Guin etc etc suggest he didn't really try nearly hard enough.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jamel Cato

    Worth a read if you're a fan of hard SF. IMHO the Lawrence Person story was easily the best piece. Whenever I read an anthology devoted to hard SF, I always come away with the same feeling: Reading multiple hard SF stories back-to-back, no matter how good they are, is mentally fatiguing because my mind has to work so hard to keep the science from overwhelming the fiction. Some of the weaker stories are no different than reading a physics textbook. Worth a read if you're a fan of hard SF. IMHO the Lawrence Person story was easily the best piece. Whenever I read an anthology devoted to hard SF, I always come away with the same feeling: Reading multiple hard SF stories back-to-back, no matter how good they are, is mentally fatiguing because my mind has to work so hard to keep the science from overwhelming the fiction. Some of the weaker stories are no different than reading a physics textbook.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katya

    It was an OK compilation of stories. Some of them I loved, some of them were more weird than I normally care to read about. Only a selected few have caught my imagination, their ideas being fantastic. Otherwise, the characterization has killed a lot of them for me. I know the stories have little room for making their characters big and bold but all of them were so...two dimensional, little more than cardboard cutouts with whom I couldn't relate to. It was an OK compilation of stories. Some of them I loved, some of them were more weird than I normally care to read about. Only a selected few have caught my imagination, their ideas being fantastic. Otherwise, the characterization has killed a lot of them for me. I know the stories have little room for making their characters big and bold but all of them were so...two dimensional, little more than cardboard cutouts with whom I couldn't relate to.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Abiola Lawal

    I read this four years back, or thereabouts. Very well written collection of concepts I must admit. BUT. I didn't 'feel the Extreme' till I got to Greg Bear's Judgment Engine. It was so high up there it blew the other stories away; It got me seeking out all his books; I even bought the audio version of the book. Seriously. I recommend this anthology to anyone interested in extreme science fiction based on that singular piece of writing. I read this four years back, or thereabouts. Very well written collection of concepts I must admit. BUT. I didn't 'feel the Extreme' till I got to Greg Bear's Judgment Engine. It was so high up there it blew the other stories away; It got me seeking out all his books; I even bought the audio version of the book. Seriously. I recommend this anthology to anyone interested in extreme science fiction based on that singular piece of writing.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kamil Kopacewicz

    Some of these stories were good, some bad, and few extremely badly written I liked The Pacific Mystery, The Long Chase, and Merlin's Gun - those were the fine pieces of text. Anomalies, Flowers From Alice - those were terrible. Death In The Promised Land - that is the worst story I have ever read. Atrocity, awful, short-minded, biased. -1/5. Burn it and don't let print again. Hoop of Benzene was loon and in fact - really extreme. I would read the whole book with this setting. Some of these stories were good, some bad, and few extremely badly written I liked The Pacific Mystery, The Long Chase, and Merlin's Gun - those were the fine pieces of text. Anomalies, Flowers From Alice - those were terrible. Death In The Promised Land - that is the worst story I have ever read. Atrocity, awful, short-minded, biased. -1/5. Burn it and don't let print again. Hoop of Benzene was loon and in fact - really extreme. I would read the whole book with this setting.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    I've enjoyed most of the stories in this book. In particular, "Hoop of Benzene" by Robert Reed was truly excellent. I'll be checking out his other titles. Some of the stories were a little too far reaching for me. Dealing with the end of the universe and organisms so far evolved and complicated that it seemed too far removed from my simple little existance. I've enjoyed most of the stories in this book. In particular, "Hoop of Benzene" by Robert Reed was truly excellent. I'll be checking out his other titles. Some of the stories were a little too far reaching for me. Dealing with the end of the universe and organisms so far evolved and complicated that it seemed too far removed from my simple little existance.

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