Friday, November 21, 2008

Futures Past

For some reason I've never been a fan of short stories. I guess it boils down to liking a little more character exploration, a little more 'long and winding road'of storyline than is typically possible in under 10,000 words.

On the other hand, I love time travel stories. Movies, TV, print; it doesn't matter, I enjoy them all. When I saw a copy of the time travel story collection Futures Past, my love for the genre outweighed my dislike of the format. I couldn't pass it up.

Overall it's an excellent compliation. Not every story met with my undying affection, as some reeked of cliche or a pseudo-literary bent, but most were very enjoyable. A few met with high approval indeed, and I feel them worthy of mention here.

The Only Game in Town by Poul Anderson is a tale of the Time Patrol, a temporal police force that, in this case, is sent to make sure a Mongolian expedition to the as yet-undiscovered Americas meets with a bad end. An excellent read and one that inspired me to pick up more of Anderson's work.

Playing the Game by Jack Dann and Garner Dozois, the editors of the book, is a short tale about a boy who accidentally shifts his existence into a parellel world, and tries, time and again, to right his error.

What Rough Beast a bittersweet tale by Damon Knight - a man has the power to heal others of all ills, one cell at a time. It's more of a curse than a blessing, and he searches time for an era where he can reside in peace

Radiant Doors
by Michael Swanwick - a fierce story of an exodus from the future into the present, as a future govenment makes the Nazi horrors look tame.

The Hotel at Harlan's Landing by Kage Baker - more of a horror story than time travel, it tells the story of a battle between angels in a waterfront tavern

Mozart in Mirrorshades by Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner. I really enjoyed this one. In the future companies openly raid 'alternate' histories, destroying the 'present' cultures as they loot the era for all its worth. In one such world a young lad named Mozart has his own agenda . . .

Under Siege
by George RR Martin. This story concerns a post-nucleaur future that sends folks back in time - via a unique method - to alter the course of history

A very enjoyable book - pick it up if you see a copy.

* * * *

The book inspired me to rent Time Tunnel, the 1960's sci-fi TV show. Awful stuff. Aside from everything else, the very first episode put me off my leaping onto the Titanic. All the world and all of time and you just happen to wind up on a White Star liner in the Atlantic. Lame.

1 star out of 4.


Bridgett said...

Oooh! Book reviews. You just became my new best friend.

Like you, I'm not a huge fan of short stories although I do enjoy many of Stephen King's novellas. My particular favorite is The Long Walk.

This book sounds intriguing, however, so I think I'll give it a shot. I'm always looking for great new reads.

Also..if you haven't read it already, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a VERY good book.


Beth said...

Sounds like a good collection. Have you read Jack Finney's novels?