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Man vs. Machine [Mass Market Paperback]

John Helfers , Martin Harry Greenberg


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wow, mediocre 27 Dec 2007
By David M. Chess - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book has the problem that many theme anthologies do: the prime criterion is the theme, not the quality of the story, and many (most) of the stories feel dashed-off, cookie-press, run-of-the-mill. None of them are awful, but of the 15 the only one I really enjoyed was S. Andrew Swann's "The Historian's Apprentice" (and even that one had the obvious ending: I enjoyed it for the setting more than the narrative).

Pretty much without exception these are unchallenging reiterations of themes that have been used so often you can see right through them; seldom do they rise above cliche. Maybe I'm just jaded, but Booklist's "fresh and sometimes brilliant" just says to me that they're real easy graders over there...
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just a collection from `Terminator' 3 Jun 2008
By Madelyn Pryor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ok, I have to admit, when I purchased this anthology, I did it for two reasons. One is that I am a huge fan of Daw anthologies and I try to read them all. The second, is I was intrigued by the topic of Man Vs Machine, and I'm a fan of the Terminator movies (Yes, even T3) so there you go. I knew that with Daw's eclectic group of contributors, not all the stories would follow the same old Terminator formula... and there were a wide variety of stories. A full list of the stories and the authors follow.

**Servant of Death by Jane Lindskold and Fred Saberhagen **The Unplug War by Brendan DuBois **Cold Dead Fingers by Loren L Coleman **The Hum by Rick Hautala **The Last of the Fourth by Bill Fawcett **Moral Imperative by Ed Gorman **Partnership by William H. Keith **Chasing Humanity by Bradley P. Beaulieu **The Difference by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. **Transformation by Stephen Leigh **Killer App by Richard Dansky **Reiteration by Simon Brown **Stalking Old John Bull by Jean Rabe **Engines of Desire & Despair by Russel Davis & **The Historian's Apprentice by S. Andrew Swann.

I don't know what it is about the stories, or it might have been me. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for what I was reading, and honestly, if I could give the anthology 3.5 stars I would. I just erred on the side of giving more because stories like Servant of Death are powerful, and Stalking Old John Bull stretched the theme of the anthology to the breaking point, but it was good. Many of the stories in this were less than stellar, at least in my eyes. None of them really have the "Terminator" flavor and perhaps my looking for something like that just slanted me too much. Maybe it's the fact that most of the science fiction of these stories is not hard or soft sci-fi... it's somewhere in the middle... and I wasn't quite looking for that, either.

Over all, it's not a terrible anthology, I have yet to meet a terrible Daw anthology. I would recommend it for a plane ride or a vacation, as long as no one makes my mistake and thinks they'll find one type of Man Vs Machine story... Daw is too evolved for that.

Recommended, especially for Sci-Fi fans looking for a good vacation book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Selection of SciFi Short Stories 14 July 2008
By Terri Rowan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Vicky Burkholder
on 07/13/2008

I said in a review of a different anthology that reviewing an anthology of short stories has to be one of the hardest things a reviewer can do, especially if the stories are all written by different authors. My previous statement holds true. Some of the authors in this anthology include S. Andrew Swann, Brendan Dubois, Loren Coleman, Rick Hautala, Bill Fawcett, Ed Gorman, William Keith, and more.

In this book, we are given fifteen different stories by fifteen different authors but with one theme uniting them all: man vs. machine. This book is hard science fiction. There are no feel-good, warm fuzzies here. These stories explore the questions of technology and our future - what happens if technology becomes too big, or if it dies. Like all anthologies, there were some stories I liked, some I didn't care much for, but not because of the writing. Each story is well crafted and well-written. Overall, the tales were very good.

If you don't have a lot of time to read, anthologies are a good place to go. Each story is complete and is good for a quick read when you don't have time for a novel. If you liked the Terminator movies, you'll love these stories. They're a must read for the hard science fiction reader.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars strong anthology 5 July 2007
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The premise hooked this reviewer who has always been fascinated by technology especially artificial intelligence since reading an early Fantastic 4 comic book involving Galactus first coming to dine on planet earth; enhanced by the real first Star Wars; and as John Helfers mentions in the Introduction the Terminator thrillers. Thus my bias is evident. To the credit of the contributors each of the tales is well written using varying approaches to the underlying theme of MAN VS. MACHINE. For instance "The Historian's Apprentice" by S. Andrew Swann looks back to how we got into the mess we are in today while the "Last of the Fourth" by Bill Fawcett focuses on military sci fi as machine and man battle for supremacy. Each of the fifteen new short stories are fun to read as we have come a long way baby since "Sarah Connor versus a killer robot from the future" as affirmed by this strong anthology.

Harriet Klausner
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