I’m out of Hugo reading material until I get started on the packet, so I’ll continue with other reviews. Third Flatiron publishes a series of good quality themed anthologies, some of which have put in an appearance in the Nebula reading list. The theme of this one is military fiction/space opera.

There are 16 stories in the anthology, all of which detail some adventure that has to do with space, alien invasion, interstellar battles and so forth. There’s kind of low diversity in the authors on this one, as you might expect given the topic, but the stories make up for it with fairly diverse characters. Also, we get to see some exotic aliens. There were several of the stories that I liked a lot.

One of these is “Grid Drop” by William Huggins. Celeste is part of a team that enforces the anti-tech provisions of a Fallowing, where an overpopulated and over-polluted world is stripped of technology so it can recover. She and her team are on a mission. They take the shuttle down to the offending village to deal with the problem. Will there be resistance? Can they save anyone here?

Another story that really caught my attention was “The Mytilenian Delay” by Neil James Hudson. This one is brilliant, sharply plotted, and very edge-of-the-seat. The captain of a warship has been ordered by her command to destroy the world New Borodin. Thinking the order is questionable, the captain sends the order by slow radio, which means there is a Mytilenian delay, and the order can be rescinded within 30 hours by faster-than-light communication. She expects a mutiny, but her crew holds fast. She discusses the order with her command, and realizes the Empire is in disarray, so large now that communication has broken down. Lodging her complaints about the order, she waits for it to be rescinded. Will the order be changed? Will there be a decision in time to save New Borodin? Read the story to find out.

These stories are all generally entertaining, including plot twists and subtle humor. Three stars.


William Huggins, Grid Drop
Jonathan Shipley, Between Two Heartbeats
Dan Koboldt, Dirt Moon
John M. Campbell, The Silicates
Mark Rookyard, Dreaming Empire
Sam Bellotto Jr., Symphony in First Contact, Hostile
Erik B. Scott, Duck and Cover
E. J. Shumak, Outer Patrol
Brandon L. Summers, Child of Soss
Neil James Hudson, The Mytilenian Delay
Robert Walton, Kill the Coffee Boilers!
K. S. Dearsley, Alien Dreams
Noel Ayers, Yesterday’s Weapon
Elliotte Rusty Harold, Claim Jumpers
Martin Clark, Pre-emptive Survivors
Art Lasky, I’ve Got the Horse Right Here. . . (Grins and Gurgles)