This first volume contains 13 stories by the Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning author Greg Bear, most of them early works.
When you face the work of an acclaimed author for the first time, several things can happen to you: you can feel overwhelmed, and even be discouraged by the sheer amount of things the author has written. (That’s what happened to me with Terry Pratchett, for instance, and I would refuse to read his Discworld novels… until I found myself in Equal Rites. I’ve become a Pratchian ever since…). Or, you can face his work with an open mind, and enjoy the stories, pure and simple. Certainly, for Bear fans, just as it happens with Gaiman fans, a complete short fiction collection may seem like old news. However, there are new readers out there, and I was one of them.
Science fiction has a hard job keeping up with things. We are experiencing an exceedingly fast era of global communication and science breakthroughs, almost on a daily basis. Sci-fi movies also happen very fast, and come in huge amounts. However, science fiction is only fractionally about the future, as we envision it. More often than not, it’s a view of our present, from a different perspective.
Bear is a master, no doubt. He is aware of the feelings of humanity, its fears and usual lack of control, its potential for screwing things up out of sheer emotion. He also can make you understand certain concepts in a weird but fun way, especially when the characters are about to bring mass destruction into the process. Some of the stories I liked were:
“Sisters.” This story appeared before Gattaca. It’s almost unnatural how close both worlds are, and how fast the genetic enhancement techniques seem to be coming to the world.
“Blood music” is a classic, and I won’t spoil it for you. If you haven’t read it yet, you absolutely must. You can see how much Bear enjoys writing just by this story.
“A Martian Ricorso” is a clear homage to Ray Bradbury, with a bit of scientific play on the background.
Another bonus of this first volume is “Genius,” the screenplay written for the television series The Outer Limits, an episode that was never produced. It reminded me of a screen play Gaiman wrote for Babylon 5: “Day of the Dead.”
If you’re a sci-fi fan, or a Bear fan, you will love this collection. All three volumes are now available for sale.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review purposes.