Monday, January 14, 2008

Book Review: Eclipse One edited by Jonathan Strahan

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free book reviews.

Eclipse One is an anthology that features 15 various fantasy and science fiction short stories from several prominent and well-known authors in the field. Honestly, it’s not often that you come across an anthology wherein you really enjoy 90% of the stories and not a bad or boring story in sight. Eclipse One is such a book and is easily one of the pools from which short story collections of 2008 will draw from. As I mentioned before, all of the stories here are quite impressive and picking some of the best is actually quite difficult. What I can guarantee you however is that there’s no bad short story in sight. I think what sets it apart however from the other anthologies I’ve read is that it seems to cover all the bases: for something satiric, there’s “Bad Luck, Trouble, Death, and Vampire Sex” by Garth Nix, “The Last and Only or, Mr. Moscowitz Becomes French” by Peter S. Beagle, and “The Transformation of Targ” by Paul Brandon and Jack Dann. For horror, there’s “The Drowned Life” by Jeffrey Ford, “Toother” by Terry Dowling, and “She-Creatures” by Margo Lanagan. Then there’s your science fiction fare with “Mrs. Zeno’s Paradox” by Ellen Klages and “The Lustration” by Bruce Strling as well as what can be considered urban and literary fantasy with “Up the Fire Road” by Eileen Gunn and “Larissa Miusov” by Lucius Shepard. There are a couple of stories that I didn’t get to mention but have no doubt that they’re great reads. The strength of Eclipse One is easily its diversity and quality of its stories which I find very appealing. My only complaint is that the bio of the authors is in the last page of the book which might make it difficult to associate the authors with their stories. Nonetheless, any fan of speculative fiction would do well with this particular anthology.

Rating: 5/5.

Rating System:

1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.

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