by Lynne Stringer, R.A. Stephens
Publisher: Rhiza Edge
Publication Date: March 1, 2021
Genres: Science Fiction
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
A handsome clockmaker fixes a broken time machine to help a cursed lady. A young scientist betrays his people to protect an alien species. A girl bonds with her new technological helper and sees in him a personality and a soul. A boy finds his whole life changing when his best friend writes in a mysterious notebook. A crew aboard a settlement spaceship discover that sleeping passengers have gone missing.
Come on a journey of exploration with aliens, spacecrafts, bewildering technology and even ghosts. There’s friendship, strong families and romance. In these seventeen stories humanity is pushed to its limit and forced to question what is most important in life.
Lynne Stringer and RA Stephens bring together a collection of fantasy and science-fiction stories based in worlds that are not quite our own.Authors include Penny Jaye, Emily Larkin, Janeen Samuel, Stephanie Martin, Catriona McKeown, Rosanne Hawke and many more.
I’m always up for an anthology, especially a science fiction one. This is a collection of sixteen short stories by Australian authors. While there were some I didn’t care for, on the whole this was a very enjoyable collection with a few stand-out favorites. Just a note that the only place you seem to be able to buy this is from the publisher’s website. I’ve linked it above using the Bookshop logo!
“Traitor” – Geraldine Borella – ★★★. An exploratory mission to determine the habitability of a planet leads one scientist to contemplate the meaning of “traitor.” Told from the POV of the scientist, the story is generally framed by the testimony of the mission’s captain during an inquiry.
“Endymion” – Johnathan E. Furneaux – ★★★★. The last sleeper colony ship is slowly closing in on its destination when it encounters something that may change everything.
“Arrogance Is Death” – Lynne Stringer – ★★★★. A destroyed world’s only hope is to time travel backwards to steal resources. But one young person asks why they’re not doing more.
“Ebenezer’s Cafe” – Catriona McKeown – ★★★. Interesting story about returning to an abandoned Earth, but a weird focus on intelligent design.
“Fetching the Flame” – Janeen Samuel – ★★★. Imagining what would happen if the only way to make fire was by bargaining with a fire lizard. They’ve forgotten how to make fire, which I thought was weird and unlikely.
“The Clockmaker and the Time Machine” – Jo Hart – ★★★★. A mysterious gentleman and his daughter bring a time-traveling device to a village repairman.
“Over and Out” – Adele Jones – ★★★. A hacker works with a team to defeat an AI overlord, but all is not as it seems.
“The Rocksway Flight” – Russell Hume – ★★★. A steampunk airship trade route goes awry when the pilot has to deal with a spoiled “helper.”
“The True Written Life of Ed Specolta” – Penny Jaye – ★★★★. A silly way to use up an extra school notebook ends with Ed’s best friend almost writing him out of her life.
“Romano’s” – Jack Garrety – ★★★★. Classic ghost story starring a violin shop and a young girl.
“The Seeking of Javan” – Rosanne Hawke – ★★★. The confession of a girl who left her insular community to explore the dystopian outside.
“Faulty Connection” – Jennifer Horn – ★★★. A well-written premise (everyone spends all day connected to their virtual worlds) but a bit over-moralizing.
“Light Club” – Jennie Del Mastro – ★★★. I have no idea what happened in this story, but it was an enjoyable confusion, at least.
“The Choice” – Anne Hamilton – ★★. More confusion, but lyrical confusion this time.
“Luminescent Love” – Stephanie Martin – ★★★. Cute story about a mechanic keeping a big secret from his girlfriend.
“Designer Ghost” – Emily Larkin – ★★★★. A very inventive story about animal “ghosts” that are assigned to teens based on their deficits.
Overall, I’d give the collection as a whole three stars, with my favorites being “Endymion,” “Romano’s,” and “Designer Ghost.” I feel like there was a good variety between futuristic and fantasy stories, and they certainly met their goal of taking my mind off the pandemic!