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Sol's Children
edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg
DAW Books, 372 pages

Sol's Children
Jean Rabe
Jean Rabe was born in Ottawa, Illinois. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism from Northern Illinois University and has worked as a newspaper reporter and news bureau chief. She has written numerous novels including Redemption, Betrayal, Downfall, The Silver Stair, and Dawning of a New Age.

Jean Rabe Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Martin H. Greenberg
Martin H. Greenberg is the most prolific anthologist in publishing history. He has won the Milford Award for Lifetime Achievement in Science Fiction Editing and was Editor Guest of Honour at the 1992 World Science Fiction Convention. He lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

ISFDB Bibliography
Martin H. Greenberg anthologies - 1st of 4 pages

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rich Horton

The last DAW mass market paperback anthology I reviewed here was Peter Crowther's Mars Probes, a fine collection of stories about which I remarked "This anthology is much superior to the run of DAW paperback anthologies. No story made me wonder 'Why the heck did he buy THAT!?'" Sad to say, I am already presented with an example showing what I meant. Sol's Children is a very mediocre collection, and indeed it includes at least two stories that I thought thoroughly unworthy of publication.

It is organized around the loose thematic link of "Sol's Children" being the planets, moons, and asteroids of our solar system: thus all the stories are set off Earth, but in our system. When I call the collection mediocre, I don't mean to say that there are no stories here worth reading, though I don't think there are any potential award nominees. I'll mention the highlights.

The editors have put fairly strong stories in the opening and closing positions. The opener, Timothy Zahn's "Old-Boy Network" is set on Mars. The protagonist is a handicapped young man, and we soon learn that he is handicapped for a rather scary reason. Some maximally evil rich folks have learned that the human brain is capable of telepathy, but only at the sacrifice of much of the brain used to control stuff like legs. So they have "bought" the services of some people, forcing them to have the brain surgery necessary to give them telepathy. This telepathy is FTL, which in an interplanetary economy is a great advantage for manipulating stock markets and such-like. The concept is scary, and the story is well-enough executed. The finishing story is Michael A. Stackpole's "Least of My Brethren", in which a priest visits a mining asteroid after a disaster, and must decide whether a dying miner is worthy of Extreme Unction. The trick is, the miner in question is partly human, partly gorilla. Does he have a soul? We know the right answer from the start, but Stackpole does make us care about his priest and his problem.

Two novelettes were also decent reading. John Helfers' "Ghost of Neptune" tells of the second expedition to Neptune. They come expecting to relieve the first expedition, but instead they find a gruesome scene: all the expedition members seem to have been murdered. Then they stumble across something even stranger ... It's a fairly interesting SF mystery. And Stephen D. Sullivan's "Martian Knights" is an action story about a pair of mechanics on Mars, following a disastrous war which led to the outlawing of cybernetic enhancements to humans (cybotek). They come to the rescue of an old friend who has stumbled across a cache of cybotek -- but unfortunately it harbors something more dangerous than they had expected. Nothing spectacular, but fun, fast-moving, adventure.

Of the remaining stories, a few were OK, a few mediocre but not awful, and as I said, a couple were simply bad. On the whole, I don't really think this book delivers its money's worth of good SF. I'd recommend you look for any issue of one of the major magazines, or for Mars Probes, or for a small press anthology like Leviathan Three. There will be more good stories in any of those books.

Copyright © 2002 Rich Horton

Rich Horton is an eclectic reader in and out of the SF and fantasy genres. He's been reading SF since before the Golden Age (that is, since before he was 13). Born in Naperville, IL, he lives and works (as a Software Engineer for the proverbial Major Aerospace Company) in St. Louis area. He writes a monthly short fiction review column for Locus. Stop by his website at

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