Monday, March 24, 2008

Book Review: The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction Volume Two edited by George Mann

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

I was enthusiastic about this anthology because my experience with the previous volume was favorable. Thankfully for me (and hopefully for other readers), Volume Two doesn't disappoint either. Fifteen stories are in this anthology from various authors (on a side note, a Michael Moorcock story takes up a fifth of the book and Neal Asher has two stories included) and they cover much ground ranging from insightful to entertaining. Overall, I think the quality of the stories remained consistent. As usual, here are my top three stories: "Book, Theatre, and Wheel" by Karl Schroeder is easily my favorite and is one of those stories that could have passed for fantasy. It features strong characterization backed by a solid story concept as well as compelling language that's easy to get into. Besides, I'm partial to a story that features tarot cards. "Shining Armor" by Dominic Green is this fun sci-fi action/adventure story and Green handles his characters adeptly, even more so than Schroeder. There's no big idea here but it was quite an enjoyable read and woke me up when I was starting to doze off. My third favorite is "iCity" by Paul di Filippo and there's no better story to start off the anthology. Filippo showcases his ability to talk about the human condition in science fiction trappings that very much fits our modern era. There are several other great stories in this anthology and I recommend it to anyone looking for new, original science fiction stories. If the other books in the line are of this quality, then Solaris is easily BL Publishing's equivalent of Wizards of the Coast's Discovery line for delivering books that go beyond the gaming/genre fiction stereotype.

Rating: 4/5.

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.

1 comment:

banzai cat said...

If you like tarot stories, Barth Anderson has a book out in Powerbooks that involves tarots.