Thursday, December 02, 2010
Why We Chose the Stories in Infinite Space, Infinite God II
I already talked about why I liked the stories in ISIG II in Sara Reinhard's blog, so today, Rob talks about what impressed him. Please keep in mind that he's not read these since we put this anthology together almost two years ago.
The Ghosts of Kourion: Professor Robert Cragg thought that he could escape the grief of losing his wife and daughter by traveling back in time to study a city soon to be destroyed by an earthquake. He felt safe in the fact that he could do nothing to save these people, but when he befriends a local family, however, he realizes he must try. In the end, he cannot save them, but he learns that if he cannot save the ghosts of Kourion, he can at least ease their sufferings.
Rob: I was captured by the main character. The author made Professor Cragg come alive; you could empathize with him and the struggles he was going through.
An Exercise in Logic: An ancient alien satellite has diverted an asteroid toward a human colony planet. The people who built the satellite refuse to veto programming logic installed by their ancestors. Can an Ursuline sister who is also an alien contact specialist change their minds?
Rob: In a lot of ways, it felt like th old pulp sci-fi. I just really enjoyed it. In some ways, I could see Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry walking around in the same universe.
Cathedral: Katarina's kind were engineered to love scientific research and dedicate themselves to bettering mankind until their jumped-up neurology caused them to die an ignoble death while in their twenties. Perhaps Katarina could have lived with this, but when she discovers the medicines she created were actually drugs to control the population, she spends the last of her tortured days righting her wrongs.
Rob: I found the concept of an engineered human who "burned more brightly" an interesting approach to human intelligence and creativity.
The Battle of the Narthex: What do you get when you mix a royal assassination, alien militia and the Saturday night Mass-and-Spaghetti dinner? Battle of the Narthex tickels the funny bone and touches the heart!
Rob: Alex always writes a good, rousing story.
Tenniel: Bishop Tenniel must fight the leader of the Wolfbane clan to win the conversion of the tribe to Christianity, saving their lives as well as their souls. Another exciting tale from Colleen Drippe's Lost Rythar universe.
Rob: I've enjoyed all of Colleen's Lost Rythar stories, which are always well written. Again, it had a "pulp feel," though more reminiscent of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover universe.
Tin Servants by J Sherer: Father Paul's desire to serve his people in war-torn Ghana that he allowed himself to altered to resemble the androids sent to provide medical help. Once there, however, he finds himself limited in the comfort he can offer, and embroiled in a conspiracy to convert the andorginacs into soldiers.
Rob: Well-written and in some ways, cut a little close to home when it comes to modern politics; which is good, because science fiction is often at its best when it comments on issues of the day.
Basilica by John Rundle: A Navy buddy needs help fixing up an old clunker of a spacecraft and Father Carpizo arrives to do his old friend a long overdue favor. As he turns wrenches, however, Carpizo finds a mystery to whet his appetite: a riddle deep rooted in the history of the Church. The scholarly priest unwittingly uncovers a dark secret which others have paid for with their lives. He is suddenly confronted by unspeakable evil and now Carpizo must make the ultimate sacrifice to destroy it…if only there is enough time.
Rob: I can't remember anything deep or specific. It was just a fun read. You know, the thing I looked for when reading these was if I would have liked to have read it when first exploring science fiction. "Bascilica" fit that bill quite well.
Cloned to Kill by D Mak: The power of Baptism helps a clone programmed to kill find her humanity--but to what lengths will Father Markham have to go to protect his new ward?
Rob: I liked that one because it really played at the definitions of what it means to be human and to have a soul.
Dyads, Ken Pick and Alan Loewen: Father Heidler's latest assignment takes him to Cathuria, where the Catholic Church and all of Earth are blamed when a failed missionary's desperation boils over into terrorism. With the planet in the midst of riots and the Archbishop/Ambassador to Cathuria severely injured in a retaliatory strike, Father Heidler negotiates a delicate maze of politics and religious convictions to find a way to restore peace and reconcile the two worlds.
Rob: This is another one that gave me the feel of old, classic science fiction. I also have a preference for non-dystopic futures.