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Isaac Asimov's Solar System
edited by Gardner Dozois and Sheila Williams
Ace Books, 290 pages

Isaac Asimov's Solar System
Gardner Dozois & Sheila Williams
Together, Dozois and Williams have edited a number of anthologies derived from the pages of Asimov's Science Fiction, including: Isaac Asimov's - Robots; - Earth; - Cyberdreams; - Skin Deep; - Ghosts; -Vampires; - Christmas; - Detectives; - Valentines. Gardner Dozois is the editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, and of the annual anthology series The Year's Best Science Fiction, now up to its 15th Annual Collection. He has won 10 Hugo Awards for Best Editor, and two Nebula Awards for his own short fiction, which was most recently collected in Geodesic Dreams: the Best Short Fiction of Gardner Dozois. He is the author or editor of over 70 books, primarily of short fiction. He has lived in Philadelphia since 1971.

Sheila Williams is the Executive Editor of of Asimov's SF and the Managing Editor of Analog.

Asimov's SF Magazine Website
Gardner Dozois: ISFDB Bibliography
Sheila Williams: ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Isaac Asimov's Werewolves
SF Site Review: Isaac Asimov's Detectives

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Peter D. Tillman

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This anthology takes us on an SFnal tour of our home system, with a story for each planet, plus one for the Sun. It's a solid collection, with no really weak stories, and a couple of outstanding ones. All are reprinted from Asimov's SF magazine. This collection should lay to rest any lingering doubts of whether the magazine publishes hard-SF. Recommended.

The stories:
"The Sun Spider" (1987), by Lucius Shepard
Sex, violence & weird behaviour on Helios Station. My rating: "B", but YMMV. Previous reprints: Orbit SF Yearbook 1987, David Garnett; World's Best SF 1988, Donald A. Wollheim; Barnacle Bill the Spacer and Other Stories, Lucius Shepard, 1997.

"Cilia-of-Gold" (1994), by Stephen Baxter
Hard-bitten miners meet the eponymous heroine, a native Mercurian. An "A" story, one of the two best here. Previous reprints: Year's Best Science Fiction: Twelfth Annual, Gardner Dozois, 1995; Vacuum Diagrams, Stephen Baxter, 1997.

"Dawn Venus" (1995), by G. David Nordley
Romance amidst a land-rush on a terraformed Venus. Lots of Neat Ideas, a nice Cordwainer Smith reference, and some plausibility problems: A-.

"Touchdown" (1990), by Nancy Kress
A scavenger hunt on a devastated future Earth. Nice but a downer: B+. Previous reprint: The Aliens of Earth, Nancy Kress, 1993.

"The Difficulties Involved in Photographing Nix Olympica" (1986), by Brian Aldiss
A slight and quirky vignette: B. Previous reprint: Best SF Stories of Brian W. Aldiss, 1988.

"The Very Pulse of the Machine" (1998), by Michael Swanwick
A surreal but unconvincing close encounter on Io: "B" for me, but well-liked by others. Previous reprint: The Year's Best Science Fiction: Sixteenth Annual, Gardner Dozois, 1999.

"Ex Vitro" (1995), by Daniel Marcus
War-clouds mar a research-station romance on Titan: B or B+, depending on your taste for bleakness.

"Into the Blue Abyss" (1999), by Geoffrey Landis
Explore the world-ocean of Uranus with miniature rocket-subs! Neat ideas, wooden characters: B/B+ .

"Second Skin" (1997), by Paul McAuley
After the Quiet War, a trade delegation from Earth visits Neptune's satellite Proteus -- but is the war really over? Twisty, tasty and very nice: "A". Previous reprint: The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual, Gardner Dozois, 1998.

"Good-Bye, Robinson Crusoe" (1977), by John Varley
A classic Eight Worlds tale from Asimov's SF premiere issue. Piri is spending his second childhood in the Pacifica disneyland, under construction inside Pluto -- but he can't stay a child forever. Nice, if a bit hokey: A-. Previous reprint: The Barbie Murders, John Varley, 1980 -- a wonderful collection, but hard to find. Get this book back in print! Better yet, how about a "Complete Short Fiction of John Varley"? NESFA, are you listening?

Copyright © 2000 by Peter D. Tillman

Pete Tillman has been reading SF for better than 40 years now. He reviews SF -- and other books -- for Usenet, "Under the Covers", Infinity-Plus, Dark Planet, and SF Site. He's a mineral exploration geologist based in Arizona. More of his reviews are posted at www.silcom.com/~manatee/reviewer.html#tillman .


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