Solaris Rising: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction by Ian Whates

7/10 This anthology left me a little disappointed.

Solaris Rising is the first in an exciting new series of anthologies that are set to reaffirm Solaris's proud reputation for producing high quality science fiction. The book will feature all original short stories from Peter F. Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter, Paul di Filippo, Adam Roberts, Lavie Tidhar, Ian Watson, Ken MacLeod, Mike Resnick, Tricia Sullivan, Eric Brown, Pat Cadigan Steve Rasnic Tem along with other top name authors; stories guaranteed to surprise, thrill and delight, demonstrating why science fiction remains the most innovative, satisfying, and downright exciting genre of all.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a science fiction anthology, aside from The Gabble by Neal Asher. For anyone hoping for a taster of the many flavours of SF, this is probably a good one to start with as there’s a wide spread of sub-genres and styles among the 19 featured works by various well-established authors.

Judging by my recent reviews it probably won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that Jaine Fenn’s ‘Dreaming Towers, Silent Mansions’ is one of my favourites on the list. I bought the anthology because she mentioned it on her website and I was keen to read more of her work whilst waiting for the next instalment of her Hidden Empire series. The story she’d contributed left me a little creeped out and sad, but I’m not going to post any spoilers as to why.

‘A Smart Well-Mannered Uprising of the Dead’ confused me a little as it jumps around and I’m not quite sure whether it was actually meant to come across as a hoax in the story, or the real deal. Perhaps that was the intention. I loved the idea behind it though, as more and more of our lives are hoisted onto the internet and the cyber-world expands. ‘Eluna’ was very out of this world and the type of story I like to read once in a while for total escapism. ‘Shall I Tell You the Problem with Time Travel?’ also jumps around, but it very much suits the story theme as it deals with the concept of paradox with a slight twist. A few of the stories left me confused and a couple left me feeling that much had gone unsaid that should have been told. However, my absolute favourite was the very last story in the anthology - ‘Return of the Mutant Worms’ by Peter F. Hamilton - a cautionary tale to any aspiring writer that should be read. A warning that your words could come back to haunt you!

In some ways, this anthology left me a little disappointed overall, perhaps because I didn’t feel all the stories were ‘complete’ or left too much unanswered. However, I’d still recommend this to my SF reading friends, especially those who are maybe looking for that first appetizer in the genre.

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