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One Million A.D.
edited by Gardner Dozois
Science Fiction Book Club, 399 pages

Gardner Dozois
Gardner Dozois was the editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine for many years and is the editor of the annual anthology series The Year's Best Science Fiction, as well as many other anthologies. He has won more than 10 Hugo Awards as the year's best editor, and 2 Nebula Awards for his own short fiction. His short fiction appears in Geodesic Dreams: The Best Short Fiction of Gardner Dozois. He is the author or editor of better than 70 books, including the anthologies The Good Old Stuff and The Good New Stuff. He's also edited such theme anthologies as Dinosaurs! and Dog Tales!. He lives in Philadelphia.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Galileo's Children
SF Site Review: Strangers
SF Site Review: Future Sports
SF Site Review: The Year's Best Science Fiction, Eighteenth Annual Collection
SF Site Review: Space Soldiers
SF Site Review: The Year's Best Science Fiction: 17th Annual Collection
SF Site Review: Isaac Asimov's Solar System
SF Site Review: Isaac Asimov's Werewolves
SF Site Review: Future War
SF Site Review: The Good Old Stuff
SF Site Review: Nanotech
SF Site Review: Isaac Asimov's Detectives
SF Site Review: Roads Not Taken: Tales of Alternate History
SF Site Review: The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual Collection

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Peter D. Tillman

One Million A.D. This is an anthology of six original novellas of the very far future, commissioned by the Science Fiction Book Club, in a departure from their usual reprints-only policy. The authors are all well-known: Robert Reed, Robert Silverberg, Nancy Kress, Alastair Reynolds, Charlie Stross, and Greg Egan. Plus a nice introduction by super-editor Gardner Dozois. A stellar lineup!

The opening story, "Good Mountain" by Robert Reed, is set in an old water-world colony with some unusual terraforming adaptations. Reed's writing and characterizations are very fine, but the story has an odd twist ending that undercut its impact, at least for me. But who could resist a railway system where the passengers ride inside giant worms?

Robert Silverberg has a long-standing interest in the far future. His "A Piece of the Great World" is a story of a world recovering from a Long Winter, after a heavy meteorite bombardment. It's set in the world of his novels At Winter's End and The New Springtime. As you'd expect, Silverberg's writing is polished and professional. This isn't one of his best stories, though it has some nice moments, and some gorgeous images. Silverberg fans won't go away unhappy.

Nancy Kress has clone-sisters, a galaxy-spanning quantum AI and clashing branes in her far-future "Mirror Image." One clone-sister is convicted of an awful crime, and sentenced to life on a prison planet. Her sisters try to rescue her and solve the mystery of who really dunnit. Fine world-building and a good story.

Alastair Reynolds's clever, colorful and very fast-moving "Thousandth Night" takes us to 2,000,000 AD, for a family reunion of the clone-line of Abigail Gentian, a noted star-traveler who picked an unusual (but effective) way to "double the pleasure, double the fun!", carried to the eighth power. But the reunion turns into a murder mystery, and the fate of the Galaxy is in the balance! Classic Reynolds, not to be missed.

Charles Stross's "Missile Gap" is a major new story. It's Yet Another Stross replay of the Cold War, set on a Very Big Dumb Object.... I can't say much more without spoiling the fun (which has a dismal outcome, for us Old Humans), except to say that "Missile Gap" will leave you scratching your head, wondering what the hell really happened. Who was that CIA 'man'? Denizens of will see the results of Charlie's past inquiries about ekranoplans. Stross is an astonishingly inventive author who's giving staid old SF some well-needed kicks in the pants. Stories like this are why I keep reading this stuff. "Missile Gap" is worth buying the book for.

The windup story is "Riding the Crocodile" by Greg Egan, who hasn't been writing much SF lately, more's the pity. And certainly not because he has forgotten how: this is a typically dazzling Egan story, and if it's not quite up with his very best, it's still very, very good. With such grace notes as the festival planet Tassef, where the Listening Party had proved so popular that the authorities "imposed a thousand-year limit on their presence, if they wished to remain embodied without adopting local citizenship..."

This is the strongest original-story anthology I've read in awhile, and a fine reason to join the SFBC, since that's the only way you can buy the book. Recommended.

Copyright © 2006 Peter D. Tillman

Pete Tillman has been reading SF for better than 40 years now. He reviews SF -- and other books -- for Amazon, Infinity-Plus, SF Site, and others. He's a mineral exploration geologist based in Arizona. Google "Peter D. Tillman" +review for many more of Pete's reviews.

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