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wealhtheow

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The Theory of the Leisure Class (Modern Library Classics)
Thorstein Veblen, Alan Wolfe
Federations - Anne McCaffrey, Kevin J. Anderson, Orson Scott Card, Robert Silverberg, George R.R. Martin, K. Tempest Bradford, Catherynne M. Valente, Harry Turtledove, Lois McMaster Bujold, Robert J. Sawyer, James Alan Gardner, Allen Steele, John C. Wright, Doug Beason, Mary Rosenbl One of the better sf collections I've read lately.
The bad:
"Mazer in Prison" by Orson Scott Card. Mazer Rackham, the first human to defeat the Buggers, is waiting in a near-lightspeed ship for the Buggers to return, or the next human commander to be found. Very disappointing, like most of Card's work in his Ender's Game universe. The story is basically a back and forth of "I knew you knew that I knew that you knew, so I..."

"Life-Suspension" by LE Modesitt, Jr. Ugh.

"Someone Is Stealing the Great Throne Rooms of the Galaxy" by Harry Turtledove. Like when a 13year old gets "high" off of pixie-sticks and posts "hilarious" and "wacky" crackfic on ff.net.

"Twilight of the Gods" by John C Wright. Clunky, melodramatic--like someone took JRR Tolkien and ran his dialog through a stupidizer. Randomly chosen sentence: "Several of the knights stared at the black-cloaked stranger in awe." How did this get published?


The Fine:
"Carthago Delenda Est" by Genevieve Valentine. Interesting, with moments of tragedy and humor. Diplomats wait generations for the Carthago delegation.

"Terra-Exulta" by SL Gilbow. A linguist talks about his work in destroying various alien life-forms.

"Different Day" by K Tempest Bradford. Gets her point across about how average, every-day people and politics would react to aliens. It seems like it tries a little too hard to be folksy--but I expect a lot from KTB's stories, so perhaps I'm judging this to an unreasonable standard.

"Spirey and the Queen" by Alastair Reynolds. War in space is not always what it seems. Far too many double-crosses and plot twists, but I like the science and the ideas he uses.

"Pardon Our Conquest" by Alan Dean Foster. The surrender ceremony of the Empire to the Commonwealth. I would undoubtedly have enjoyed this more if A)I had read Foster's Commonwealth stories or B)the differences between Empire and Commonwealth weren't presented so heavy-handedly.

"Symbiont" by Robert Silverberg. A young soldier is infected with another life form. Years later, he begs an old friend to put him out of his misery. Pretty dated, and there's not much to the characterization or plot, though the world-building is ok.

"The Ship Who Returned" by Anne McCaffrey. Helva-the-brainship has recently lost her brawn, Niall. Stricken with grief, she has created an unreasonably sophisticated holographic replica of him. They banter while they try to save the religious colonists of Ravel from Kolnari pirates. Really heterosexist and unimaginative, but not terrible.

"The Shoulders of Giants" by Robert J Sawyer. A colony ship arrives at a planet to find that while they were in crystasis, Earth already colonized it.

"The Other Side of Jordan" by Allen Steele. A young man reconnects with an old flame after years apart. I have no idea why he wrote this story. There's no point to it: no emotional climax, no character construction, no plot.

"Like They Always Been Free" by Georgina Li. An atypical love story. Hot and well-written, but there's not much to it.

"Eskhara" by Trent Hergenrader. Very clearly inspired/modeled by the US troops' occupation in Iraq.


The Good:
"Aftermaths" by Lois McMaster Bujold. A callow pilot watches as a med tech retrieves and identifies bodies from the recently finished war.

"Prisons" by Kevin J Anderson and Doug Beason. A prison revolt has succeeded, and the former prisoners have stopped all export of a drug that can only be made on their world. The Praesidentrix will stop at nothing to punish the prisoners for their temerity. (This was a weird story, because I felt like we were supposed to root for the Praesidentrix and the Warden, but in point of fact I thought the prisoners were in the right.)

"Warship" by GRR Martin and George Guthridge. The last surviving member of a crew killed by disease must destroy the ship to prevent contagion to reach Earth. A good ending.

"Swanwatch" by Yoon Ha Lee. A young woman is exiled to bear witness to ships that commit honorable suicide into black holes. The only way to escape the exile is to create a masterwork, which she sets out to do.

"My She" by Mary Rosenblum. The unnamed, unnoticed servant of a Speaker begins to realize the danger her Speaker is in--and just what the Speakers do, after all. Really interesting story in which tradition and religion is used to cloak uneven power.

"The Culture Archivist" by Jeremiah Tolbert. A standout of the collection. As he says, "I started thinking about what a realistically capitalistic federation would look like, and the story was born." Hilarious and poignant.

"The One with the Interstellar Group Consciousness" by James Alan Gardner. Very funny, and well thought out.

"Golubash, or Wine-Blood-War-Elegy" by Cathrynne M Valente. A tale of capitalist greed and strangleholds, as told by a wine merchant. Fantastic world building, beautiful language, and an engaging story.