Book Review: Fast Forward two – Lou Anders

Lou Anders is a trusted name. Although I can’t recall now why. I think maybe a
friend of mine once gave him a ride to a con or something. Which just might
trump the time that I helped clean litterboxes at Edward Albee’s apartment. But
I digress.

This anthology is fairly average, which isn’t, after all,
altogether surprising. You expect some hits and some misses, since not every
single tale is likely to appeal to any given reader’s tastes. Still, I was
hoping for something a bit better, like the “Adventure!” anthology put out a few
years ago by Monkeybrain Books, to which Anders in fact contributed, ahd whose
cover was done by John Picacio, an excellent illustrator who also does the
honors here.

The stuff I liked: the novella “True Names” by Benjamin
Rosenbaum and Cory Doctorow, although it gets a little overly recursive; Paul
McAuley’s brief and rueful “Adventure”; Karl Schroeder and Tobias S. Buckell’s
near-future “Mitigation”, an unpreachy eco-warning; and the all-too-probable
“The Gambler” by Paolo Bacigalupi, about the always-connected and perpetually
updating world of infotainment a few years from now.

The other stuff:
mostly unobjectionable and merely all right. A couple of stories annoyed me. For
some reason, Kristine Kathryn Rusch just rubs me the wrong way, so I did not
care for her “Seniorsource”, about orbital outsourcing to geriatrics. The
leadoff story, “Catherine Drewe” by Paul Cornell, is just terrible–some people
are doing stuff that other people want to stop, but the tale is told so murkily
that it’s completely unclear who wants what and which side anyone is on. Ian
McDonald’s “An Eligible Boy” is not bad, but the writing style is very much a
matter of taste, and while I appreciate the world he’s created, it just wasn’t
my cup of tea.

Nothing really spectacular here, and nothing really
awfully bogus. I’d check out a Volume 3, but only because my friend vouches for
Mr. Anders. I think. It might’ve been some other guy.

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About peterschow

"the Schow must go on"
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