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5.0 out of 5 stars Hard SF of the `90s Defined and Demonstrated, 4 Jun 2011
John M. Ford "johnDC" (near DC, MD USA) - See all my reviews
This edited volume assembled by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer contains 41 "hard science fiction" stories sampled from the best writers of the 1990s. It stands alone as a collection, but is best seen as a continuation of their previous anthology, The Ascent of Wonder: The Evolution of Hard SF. Their similarly-themed Space Opera Renaissance is a logical next read.

My favorite stories are:

Greg Egan - Wang's Carpets. A new kind of life is both hard to detect and understand.
Robert Reed - Marrow. A long-term mission on a generation ship redefines long-term.
Joe Haldeman - For White Hill. Just another love story on home planet Earth.
Karl Schroeder - Halo. A fight-against-terrorism story with characters who never meet.
Vernor Vinge - Fast Times at Fairmont High - Convinces you to read--or not read--Rainbows End, depending on your taste.
Sarah Zettel - Kinds of Strangers. How do marooned astronauts respond to stress?

This is a particularly good collection--there was not a single story I didn't like. SF readers should scan the table of contents before buying, however, since these stories have all appeared elsewhere. The book's preface and brief introductions to each story add significant value. They contain the usual author bios and pointers to other story collections, novels and series. Each intro also presents each author's definition of "hard SF" and excerpts informatively from the authors' own descriptions of their work. The editors' inclusive definition of hard SF as technology and concept-driven science fiction allows entry to an intriguing variety of stories and perspectives. The authors' definitions enrich this definition and teach us interesting lessons about the evolution of science fiction during the 1990s.

I recommend the book to science fiction readers who enjoy solid stories in this genre. I further recommend it to Kindle and iPhone users who want something good to read during the snippets of found time in their hectic schedules.
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The Hard SF Renaissance
The Hard SF Renaissance by David G. Hartwell (Hardcover - Oct 2002)
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