The Engine of Recall by Karl Schroeder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Schroeder makes my list of top ten authors, so I've been meaning to read this collection for some time. I tend to prefer novels to short stories for bed time reading, and I'd already read several of these when they first came out, including one I'd published myself as co-editor of Tesseracts 5 (and was subsequently reprinted in David Hartwell's anthology The Hard SF Renaissance) -- I like to think I was one of the editors that 'discovered' Schroeder, though that's pure pretension on my part--so hadn't got around to the collection. For one thing, I knew that they would be more downbeat than the novels, and that turned out to be true. His novels all have (relatively) happy endings. And I guess that is sort of true of the stories in the collection, though its the 'get-to=live-another=day,-not-quite-as-bad-as-it-could-have-been' Canadian-style endings here, rather than the 'achieved-our-goals' American-style happy endings. But for all that the stories tend towards the somber, I really enjoyed the book. The writing is excellent, his ideas are original, and its refreshing to read the Canadian version of the genre. And it's interesting to look at the evolution of Schroeder's writing: the man is a genius, one of the best hard SF writers around, so well worth reading his entire cannon. I look forward to his next collection.
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