Listing books by Paul J. McAuley

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Full title Discoveries [permalink]
Language English
Authors Alan Lothian (introduction), Arthur C. Clarke, Bob Shaw, Greg Bear, Ian McDonald, Ian Watson, Mike McQuay, Paul J. McAuley, Robert Holdstock and Tricia Sullivan
Publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd
Categories Anthology, science fiction and short stories
Publication year 1995
ISBN 0-575-06258-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 190
Synopsis

I can't remember where I got this book, but I reckon it's pretty rare to come across as it's not normally sold, but was given away free with the October 1995 issue of BBC Focus. It's an anthology of short science fiction stories from budding British authors.

Review

A few of the stories fell flat, but some are good (I really enjoyed Blood Music). If you happen to come across it, you might want to buy it, if only for its rarity.

Images Back of Discoveries.Spine of Discoveries.Front of Discoveries.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
  • Prison Dreams
    Paul J. McAuley
  • Blood Music
    Greg Bear
  • The Charisma Trees
    Robert Holdstock
  • Dark Night in Toyland
    Bob Shaw
  • Virtually Lucid Lucy
    Ian Watson
  • Morpheus
    Tricia Sullivan
  • Winning
    Ian McDonald
  • extract from Richter 10
    Arthur C. Clarke and Mike McQuay
Full title Zima Blue and Other Stories [permalink]
Language English
Authors Alastair Reynolds (author) and Paul J. McAuley (introduction)
Publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd
Categories Anthology, science fiction and short stories
Publication year 2010
ISBN 978-0-575-08455-1 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 455
Synopsis

A short story (and novella-length) anthology from Alastair Reynolds.

The Real Story is about a journalist's quest to unravel the real story behind the first Mars landing.

Beyond the Aquila Rift is about what it means to be lost. Really lost.

Enola is about a little nomad girl's affinity for a machine (and mutatis mutandis for the machine), and what that implies.

Signal to Noise and Cardiff Afterlife are two connected stories about what happens when you make contact with parallel universes.

The next three stories, Hideaway, Minla's Flowers, and Merlin's Gun, are the longest in the anthology and form a chronological trilogy (despite being written out of order). The first one is about a so-called swallowship (huge spaceship) on the run from an alien enemy known as the Huskers. The other two are a continuation of the first, but I won't say anything about them except that all three concern the same protagonist, Merlin, and his quest for his Gun.

Angels of Ashes is a weird piece about religion and statistics (ehr, more or less)

Spirey and the Queen is about a faux war over a planetary accretion disk.

Understanding Space and Time is about one man's quest to, well, understand space and time.

Digital to Analogue is a conspiracy/thriller tale set on Earth in the nineties, and is the least science fictional (not to mention the least space operatic) one in the collection, and is about a memetic virus spreading through the club scene.

Everlasting is about the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum physics. Specifically, one man's (pretty weird) take on it.

And finally, the eponymous Zima Blue is about a pretty eccentric and long-lived artist's quest to connect with his roots.

Review

I enjoyed almost all the stories in this collection, and before I praise this collection any further, I have to get it out of the way: Angels of Ashes and Digital to Analogue fell entirely flat for me! The ones that stood out, however, more than made up for it. In particular I immensely enjoyed the Merlin trilogy (Hideaway, Minla's Flowers, and Merlin's Gun). They are truly epic in scale, and brilliantly captures the sense of the lone ranger on a quest. Understanding Space and Time, another wonderful story, is also epic, but in its own way. I hope I'm not spoiling anything by saying that it reminded me of Asimov's The Last Question, both in form and content. (Read them both and you'll understand.) The last two items, Everlasting and Zima Blue, also had me hooked, the former for its weird speculations (and the experimental testing of said speculation...), the latter for its musings on time and memory, and the sympathy you get for the protagonist, the eccentric artist Zima.

All in all, if you enjoy pointed SF vignettes or space opera novellas, go buy this book!

Images Back of Zima Blue and Other Stories.Spine of Zima Blue and Other Stories.Front of Zima Blue and Other Stories.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction by Paul J. McAuley
  • The Real Story
  • Beyond the Aquila Rift
  • Enola
  • Signal to Noise
  • Cardiff Afterlife
  • Hideaway
  • Minla's Flowers
  • Merlin's Gun
  • Angels of Ashes
  • Spirey and the Queen
  • Understanding Space and Time
  • Digital to Analogue
  • Everlasting
  • Zima Blue

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