Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Absolutely Brilliant In Chrome
edited by Keith Olexa
Phobos Books, 351 pages

Absolutely Brilliant In Chrome
Keith Olexa
Keith Olexa works as Web Content Editor for & Phobos Books Editor. He is a freelance writer and CEO of his multi-media entertainment company, XENOGOTHICS. Previous to that, he was the Managing Editor of STARLOG.

ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil

This anthology of short stories, gets off to a maudlin start, with "Letters To A Sister," the saga of a woman writing to her astronaut sister, who is in suspended animation. Author Rebecca Carmi veers between personal comment and events happening in the wider world over several decades. The next story is "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" from Daniel Conover. It's a delightful comedy piece, in which a politician not unlike George Dubya Bush plays host to alien visitors, with results that will surprise nobody. The third piece is Carl Frederick's "The Ants Of Imhotep." As might be guessed from the title, it's a story based in Egyptology. Ingenuity and humanity shake hands, delivering one of the better offerings in this anthology. What follow is the title story, "Absolutely Brilliant In Chrome" from James Maxey. This, for me, just edged out in front as the best inclusion, dealing as it does with one man's obsession for Skin. Otherwise known as Skintex, it's an artificial replacement for natural skin, which is far superior to the original and never wrinkles. "Ascension" by Matthew S. Rotundo, is next in line and is about a man climbing a mountain on another planet, and in the process deciding what's really important in life. "A Meeting Of Minds" by the husband and wife team known as Gordon Gross, is the legal nightmare of a man cryogenically frozen after an accident, who wakes up to find his identity has been usurped by a digital version of himself. The final twist in this tale makes it a must read. "Promise," the second work by James Maxey, is a rite of passage story, which includes a computer generated starship captain driven mad by exposure to religion. Justin Stanchfield's "A Debt Unpaid" is an episode in a far future, where interplanetary prospectors discover silicon-based life, and in the case of one crew member, what he values most. "Perfect For Each Other," Daniel Conover's second effort, shows us the perils of creating superhumans for the sake of military expediency, without any real thought as to the consequences they might eventually face. The final story is "Deep Flows The River Of Time" by Carl Frederick. It's a sentimental take on time travel and alternate timelines, which was a little too warm and fuzzy for me.

My acid test for short stories is that they should be either complete and satisfying in and of themselves, or leave me hoping that the writer will expand the work to novel length. Seven out of the ten from Absolutely Brilliant In Chrome passed with flying colours. Seven is also the number of authors, whose work is featured, if we count as one the name that is a nom de plume of the husband and wife team. The only negative is that those included are all Phobos Award winners, and the editor makes it clear that the collection is a marketing exercise. I would like to have seen authors restricted to one story each, and Phobos to show some faith in other writers, thus breaking fresh talent. But, that's an editorial matter, and nothing that detracts from the quality of what is presented. If you fancy something to read last thing at night, then the size of these stories are just about perfect. The variety of style and theme is sufficient to ensure that, if you don't like one, the next in line may hit the spot.

Copyright © 2004 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide