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Once Upon a Galaxy
edited by Wil McCarthy, Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers
DAW Books, 318 pages

Once Upon a Galaxy
Wil McCarthy
Wil McCarthy was born in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1966. In 1984, he moved to Boulder, Colorado, to attend the University of Colorado. He worked as an aerospace engineer for the Lockheed Martin Corporation in Denver, designing satellite orbits for the Titan series of rockets for NASA and the Department of Defense. He is now a robotics engineer at Omnitech.

Wil McCarthy Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Collapsium
SF Site Review: The Collapsium
SF Site Review: Bloom
SF Site Review: Bloom

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

John Helfers
John Helfers' short fiction includes "Blood Ghost," "Ghost in the Machine" and "In the Forest of Sorrows."

ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Maddox

All children grow up with fairy tales. They entertained, helped us sleep at night and gave moral lessons intended to shape us into well-rounded individuals. But as any science fiction writer will tell you, the line between science and magic can be quite thin. This is what led to Once Upon a Galaxy, an anthology of 14 classic fairy-tale themes transformed into science fiction stories.

The idea is not new, but this DAW Books publication handles it in a very engaging and fresh manner. The book features several of today's top science fiction writers; Thomas Wylde, Ronnie Seagren, Gregory Benford, Paul Di Filippo, Stanley Schmidt, Michelle West, Will McCarthy, Scott Edelman, Fiona Patton, Richard Garfinkle, Tanya Huff, Robert Rogoff, Richard Friesen and Bruce Holland Rogers. The authors give new life to stories older than time. The element of the fantastic is still present, but everything is well grounded in science.

Staring off is Thomas Wylde's "Spinning Kingdoms, Two." This "reverse-image companion" to "Spinning Kingdoms" which was originally published in Asimov's back in 1985, is an excellent doorway to the realm of science-fairy tale. It's not necessary to read the original (track it down, if you've got a few spare hours) but this princely adventure, set inside a self-contained satellite world is quite charming.

The book contains a myriad of tales. Gregory Benford's "The Goldilocks Problem" tells the classic children's story in a creation of the universe theme while Paul Di Filippo's "Alioura" is a re-telling of Puss in Boots with an unnerving twist.

Analog editor Stanley Schmidt presents "The Emperor's Revenge," a humorous look at what happened after the Emperor's New Clothes were revealed to be a swindle. "He Died that Day in Thirty Years" by Wil McCarthy takes a morbid and disturbing look at man's foolishness.

While it's relatively easy to see which fairy-tale some stories are based upon, such as West's "The Nightingale," others have a rather hidden birth, like Patton's "The Control Device" (I'm still not sure, myself).

While it can be said that everything is derived from something else and there are no original ideas left, imitation is still the greatest form of flattery. These stories are imaginative and fresh. Like their predecessors, they open up the doorway of the imagination. Once Upon A Galaxy is the perfect late night story book for those that like a little science in their fantasy.

Copyright © 2002 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories as well as acting in any venue he can. Residing in Los Angeles, he continues to be part of this wacky business called show.

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