the Last Word in
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editor: Peter Crowther
Gollancz hardcover £12.99
review by Steven Hampton
A superb collection of four novellas, previously available in separate chapbook editions from the editor's own PS Publishing. This book's varied science fictions may lack a common anthological theme, but they do share an exemplary level of quality that's rare in stories of this length.
Stephen Baxter returns to the space opera milieu of his 'Xeelee' aliens in Reality Dust, and takes us to the outer Solar system where an unusual ET species appear to have discovered the secrets of the afterlife. Peter Hamilton explores the major SF theme of immortality in Watching Trees Grow. He creates an enthralling alternative world where the Roman Empire has led mankind off our planet, and even a centuries-old murder case can be solved... eventually. Paul McAuley's Making History is a thrilling adventure story of political intrigue and other eternally human concerns, set on a moon of Saturn. Perhaps the best tale, though, is Tendeléo's Story by Ian McDonald. This continues the bizarrely plant-like colonisation of Earth scenario (begun in his novel, Chaga), with an offbeat but affecting romance between a teenage African girl and a British guy, who are forced apart by genetic mutation.
An impressive follow-up to Crowther's remarkable, Foursight, this book showcases four of Britain's finest genre voices.
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