Reach for Infinity is an excellent anthology of good, old-fashion hard science fiction stories.
The range of stories is intriguing and they all come from accomplished authors. A few of the stories stretch the bounds of ‘hard science fiction’ and a couple stretch the bounds of ‘stories’ but that’s one of the great elements of a short story collection – you get a taste of a wide variety of styles and approaches. The unifying theme is that all the stories see humanity pushing at the bounds of the solar system whether living on Mars or venturing out on a generation starship.
I liked the fact that many of the stories dealt with relatively mundane elements of the future – cheating at zero-gravity sport, the impact of low gravity on health, or trademarking bio-science discoveries. The short story format is the perfect place to investigate some of these ideas and the caliber of authors involved means even core ideas that can be seen as mundane are crafted into captivating tales.
Amongst all the good stuff, my particular favourites were Amicae Aeternum by Ellen Klages, which looks at how you say goodbye when your family is about to embark on a multi-generation flight to another solar system, and In Babelsberg by Alastair Reynolds which is a somewhat creepy story about an android explorer.
Here’s the full contents:
Break My Fall by Greg Egan
The Dust Queen by Aliette de Bodard
The Fifth Dragon by Ian McDonald
Kheldyu by Karl Schroeder
Report Concerning the Presence of Seahorses on Mars by Pat Cadigan
Hiraeth: A Tragedy in Four Acts by Karen Lord
Amicae Aeternum by Ellen Klages
Trademark Bugs: A Legal History by Adam Roberts
Attitude by Linda Nagata
Invisible Planets by Hannu Rajaniemi
Wilder Still, the Stars by Kathleen Ann Goonan
‘The Entire Immense Superstructure’: An Installation by Ken MacLeod
In Babelsberg by Alastair Reynolds
Hotshot by Peter Watts
We read a review copy of Reach for Infinity.