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Sunday, May 19, 2013

"Adam Robots" by Adam Roberts (with comments by Liviu Suciu)

Order "Adam Robots" HERE

I read most of the stories from Adam Robots in their original venue - having an Adam Roberts story makes an anthology generally an automatic buy, assuming reasonable price and availability - so it took me a few months to buy this one as I oscillated between "even a few newer Adam Roberts stories are worth the price" and "I am already spending so much on books not to be able to justify this one."

On finishing Adam Robots, I would say that it is definitely worth the money as it is arguably the most diverse, inventive and overall excellent author collection I've read in a long time with a few stories as good as anything in their category - never could differentiate between short story, novella, novelette beyond the obvious if it is close to a novel, it's a novella and if it's one page it's a short...

A few comments with links to more when I talked about the story in cause at another time:

1: The best of the best, stories that are at the top of the genre:

The Imperial Army - military space opera a la Adam Roberts; while the main conceit is similar to the one in Exultant by S. Baxter, the story is chock full of irony and goodies

Anticopernicus - first contact and the Fermi Paradox a la Adam Roberts; wrote more in its review on original publication

Shall I Tell You the Problem With Time Travel?  - time travel and the atomic bomb; crazy ideas but excellent storytelling that makes one suspend the disbelief

Thrownness  - Multiverse/many worlds QM

2: Excellent stories that would be the highlight of any volume:

Adam Robots - Adam and another Adam rather than Eve in paradise

A Prison Term of a Thousand Years  - long lived humans and what the world does about them; if usually the "scientific" ideas the author uses as main conceits are far fetched to put it mildly, the content here struck me as much more plausible than say the way Peter Hamilton deals with long lived humans...

The World of the Wars - HG Wells reinterpreted

Constellations - dogma and its questioning on an alien planet

Review: Thomas Hodgkin, Denis Bayle: a Life - review of imaginary books; love this stuff when done well

Wonder: A Story in Two - sense of wonder a la Adam Roberts so not quite what one would think

3: Very good and enjoyable:

Godbombing - riff on religious wars and Christianity; Adam Roberts' piece in Aeon makes a good counterpoint to this

The Mary Anna - Kipling for the 22 century and in verse too;  appears also in Jack Glass

Dantean - as expected from the title

The Chrome Chromosome - short from the perspective of a sort of chromosome, though not the usual one

4: Stories that are an ironic take or a straight-out parody on various tales and which try too hard to fully succeed, but are still quite good:

S-Bomb - short and stringy, tries too hard for gross out funniness

ReMorse® - wonder drugs parody

The Time Telephone -calling from the future and the paradoxes thereof

The Man of the Strong Arm - future criticism of early sf

The Cow - famous children story retold in 8 lines (!)

Pied - sfnal zombies and the like

5: Stories that just failed to impress me that much, though still readable:

Woodpunk - riff on the "original on publication topical steampunk"; forced and it shows, so generally pointless and a little boring

Me-topia -creation envisioned by Adam Roberts; again forced and not that interesting

And tomorrow and - Macbeth somewhere; never cared about Macbeth, so could not care about this

The Woman Who Bore Death - sort of fantasy Roberts; could be interesting at longer length but here came as disjointed and pointless



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