Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Space Faring Bureaucracy

To appease my summer SciFi appetite I finally finished reading the short story collection Federations edited by John Joseph Adams.  The editor says he took the inspiration for this collection from watching shows like Star Trek and Star Wars and reading book like those in the Dune series.  The common theme in all of the above mentioned is the interstellar government that spans the stars.  This inspiration has lead to book chock full of a myriad different stories, governments, worlds and organizations that come together to make for a very though provoking, page turning collection that makes me want even more stories.  Here are just a few of the stellar stories in this anthology.
Carthago Delenda Est by Genevieve Valentine - A being from deep space has sent out a vision to a select member of every race in the known galaxy.  The vision is powerful enough that when the being states it will only come if all the races stop warring with each other they all comply.  The story is set many many years after the initial contact and leaves one wondering if the fact that the wars have stopped is the whole point of the secret glorious mission.  Good story, very good story.

Terra-Exulta by S.L. Gilbow - This may be one of my favorite short stories of all time.  It explores the use of language and how labeling something in a certain way can change ones perception completely.  We get a quick glimpse of a man who using only words changes a galaxy's perception of a planet form thinking it is the most beautiful paradise to being disgusted with the whole endeavor.  The story is short, sweet, to the point and really gets the point of the power of words across in a direct and entertaining manner.

Twilight of the Gods by John C. Wright - Imagine a ship so large it feels like a world.  Now imaging the people on it have lived there for so many generations that the newest ones think Earth and any other planet is nothing more then a myth or fantasy.  This story turns our pre-conceived notion of a space ship and it's inhabitants on its head.  I love the idea that this decrepit space is all these people know and how it has shaped their culture and mind set.

Pardon our Conquest by Alan Den Foster - An entire empire is conquered with out so much as a shot being fired.  The premise of this story is made even more interesting by the perspective that it is told in.  Instead of the grand hero's swooping in and gallantly helping a backwards race, we see the story from the conquered empires point of view and understand their confusion when this new alliance actually seeks to integrate them into their federation (but only if they want to) while giving them complete freedom and autonomy.  This is a great story that gets you thinking long after you have finished it.

My She by Mary Rosenblum - This is the kind of short story I love.  A to the point, thought provoking tale about the line between an individual person and a tool.  The story is about clones of a very specific pair of humans that serve as an invaluable communication tool in the future.  The tale if further enriched by the presence of a anthropomorphic dog character that acts as a servant/guide.  If this story does not get you thinking about a myriad of different things...then I don't know what will.

The Shoulders of Giants by Robert J. Sawyer - A look at what happens when the present catches up to the future.  This story is another thought provoking look at life and what happens when the continues experimentation and exploration comes to a critical mass and all converges on one point.  I also like how this story in a very concise manner manages to convoy a story, characters, humor and a thought provoking premise all in a very limited amount of pages.

Golubash, or Wine-Blood-War-Elegy by Catherynne M. Valente - Imagine my surprise, consternation and eventual delight when I discovered the author of my beloved September stories had contributed to what was an already awesome collection.  This super visual story was focused on interstellar wine as a way to convoy a story, a history, and a universe.  This story had all the trademarks of this authors insanely awesome image driven story telling with an adult twist...and wine...'cause wine is awesome...just go read the story.
In case you haven't figured it out I loved this collection.  One of the unique things about this collection is the little bit of editor commentary at the beginning of each story.  He obviously really enjoys the subject matter and has an enthusiastic and fairly concise insight into each story.  I enjoyed this collection immensely, it was varied, well edited and yet stayed easily within the identifiable confines of the theme.  I still keep picking it up, hoping more stories will magically appear because I just don't want to stop reading!  I recommend it to anybody who likes sci-fi, Star Trek, Star Wars or well written, varied, thought provoking stories.  I give it 8 out of 10 Galactic Senates and am going to go find ALL the collections edited by this guy 'cause seriously awesome stuff here.  Happy Reading Everybody!!!!


  1. Thanks for the kind words about my story. You made my day.

    S. L. Gilbow

    1. Well reading the story made my day so were even :-)