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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

The Hard SF Renaissance edited by David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer. New York: TOR, 2002. ISBN: 0312876351

One of the reasons I posted so few entries in October was that I was reading this mammoth tome, all 960 pages of it. Authors included include Poul Anderson, Stephen Baxter, Gregory Benford, Ben Bova, David Brin, Arthur C. Clarke, Frederik Pohl, Kim Stanley Robinson, Charles Sheffield, Brian M. Stableford, and many many more.

What made the volume particularly interesting to me were the discussion by the editors, and material from each of the included authors, giving their definitions and views of what exactly constitutes “hard SF,” why they like to write within this sub-genre, and so forth.

Of particular interest were several versions of the story of how a group of politically conservative hard SF writers (including Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Poul Anderson and others) were supposed to have influenced Ronald Reagan and helped him create the so-called “Star Wars” initiative.

The actual stories varied in how well they held my interest. They may have all been great stories, but not all were able to really grab my attention. Sometimes the science got in the way, but more often it was probably just a lack of congruence between my interests and the topic being explored.

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