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The New Space Opera 2: All-new stories of science fiction adventure

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All-new stories of science fiction adventure from some of the most beloved names in science fiction spin all-new tales of interstellar adventure and wonder. Contents 3 • Utriusque Cosmi • (2009) • novelette by Robert Charles Wilson 27 • The Island • (2009) • novelette by Peter Watts 63 • Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance • (2009) • novelette by John Kessel 93 • To Go All-new stories of science fiction adventure from some of the most beloved names in science fiction spin all-new tales of interstellar adventure and wonder. Contents 3 • Utriusque Cosmi • (2009) • novelette by Robert Charles Wilson 27 • The Island • (2009) • novelette by Peter Watts 63 • Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance • (2009) • novelette by John Kessel 93 • To Go Boldly • shortstory by Cory Doctorow 113 • The Lost Princess Man • (2009) • novelette by John Barnes 139 • Defect • (2009) • novelette by Kristine Kathryn Rusch 175 • To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves • (2009) • novelette by Jay Lake 209 • Shell Game • (2009) • novelette by Neal Asher 237 • Punctuality • (2009) • shortstory by Garth Nix 245 • Inevitable • (2009) • novelette by Sean Williams 273 • Join The Navy and See the Worlds • (2009) • shortstory by Bruce Sterling 293 • Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings • (2009) • novelette by Bill Willingham 321 • From the Heart • (2009) • novelette by John Meaney 353 • Chameleons • (2009) • novella by Elizabeth Moon 407 • The Tenth Muse • (2009) • novelette by Tad Williams 431 • Cracklegrackle • (2009) • novelette by Justina Robson 465 • The Tale of the Wicked • (2009) • novelette by John Scalzi 487 • Catastrophe Baker and a Canticle for Leibowitz • (2009) • shortstory by Mike Resnick 501 • The Far End of History • (2009) • novelette by John C. Wright


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All-new stories of science fiction adventure from some of the most beloved names in science fiction spin all-new tales of interstellar adventure and wonder. Contents 3 • Utriusque Cosmi • (2009) • novelette by Robert Charles Wilson 27 • The Island • (2009) • novelette by Peter Watts 63 • Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance • (2009) • novelette by John Kessel 93 • To Go All-new stories of science fiction adventure from some of the most beloved names in science fiction spin all-new tales of interstellar adventure and wonder. Contents 3 • Utriusque Cosmi • (2009) • novelette by Robert Charles Wilson 27 • The Island • (2009) • novelette by Peter Watts 63 • Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance • (2009) • novelette by John Kessel 93 • To Go Boldly • shortstory by Cory Doctorow 113 • The Lost Princess Man • (2009) • novelette by John Barnes 139 • Defect • (2009) • novelette by Kristine Kathryn Rusch 175 • To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves • (2009) • novelette by Jay Lake 209 • Shell Game • (2009) • novelette by Neal Asher 237 • Punctuality • (2009) • shortstory by Garth Nix 245 • Inevitable • (2009) • novelette by Sean Williams 273 • Join The Navy and See the Worlds • (2009) • shortstory by Bruce Sterling 293 • Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings • (2009) • novelette by Bill Willingham 321 • From the Heart • (2009) • novelette by John Meaney 353 • Chameleons • (2009) • novella by Elizabeth Moon 407 • The Tenth Muse • (2009) • novelette by Tad Williams 431 • Cracklegrackle • (2009) • novelette by Justina Robson 465 • The Tale of the Wicked • (2009) • novelette by John Scalzi 487 • Catastrophe Baker and a Canticle for Leibowitz • (2009) • shortstory by Mike Resnick 501 • The Far End of History • (2009) • novelette by John C. Wright

30 review for The New Space Opera 2: All-new stories of science fiction adventure

  1. 4 out of 5

    Felicia

    LOVED this collection. Think I'm on a hard sci-fi kick though, so this really rung true with me! All the stories were interesting (a few too pretentious in that hard sci-fi way, but surprisingly few). Particularly liked Elizabeth Moon's, and Sean Williams (always forget how much I like this author!) I know this ground might feel familiar to aficionados of this genre, but especially for ppl not as immersed, this is really a good compilation!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Liviu

    Excellent anthology; 19 stories from totally different authors than NSO1; big time highlights from John Barnes and JC Wright with highlights from RC Wilson, P. Watts, E. Moon, new author Bill Willingham, N. Asher, S. Williams, KK Rusch, J. Robson, J. Meaney and quite good stories from Jay Lake, John Kessel, Mike Resnick and Tad Williams. Only the Doctorow, Nix, Sterling (none surprisingly since neither of these authors is readable by me) and Scalzi (surprising since I generally like his work) did Excellent anthology; 19 stories from totally different authors than NSO1; big time highlights from John Barnes and JC Wright with highlights from RC Wilson, P. Watts, E. Moon, new author Bill Willingham, N. Asher, S. Williams, KK Rusch, J. Robson, J. Meaney and quite good stories from Jay Lake, John Kessel, Mike Resnick and Tad Williams. Only the Doctorow, Nix, Sterling (none surprisingly since neither of these authors is readable by me) and Scalzi (surprising since I generally like his work) did not connect. But 15 out 19 is a great ratio especially with 11 superb stories in the mix

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    When Wilson Tucker coined the term “space opera” in 1941 to refer to “the hacky, grinding, stinking, outworn space-ship yarn”, he can’t have imagined the sub-genre would still be going strong sixty-nine years later. Or indeed that it would be considered one of the more successful forms of science fiction. That’s not to say that the “outworn space-ship yarn” no longer exists. There are plenty of examples of it being published in the twenty-first century. Some of them are even space opera. Accordin When Wilson Tucker coined the term “space opera” in 1941 to refer to “the hacky, grinding, stinking, outworn space-ship yarn”, he can’t have imagined the sub-genre would still be going strong sixty-nine years later. Or indeed that it would be considered one of the more successful forms of science fiction. That’s not to say that the “outworn space-ship yarn” no longer exists. There are plenty of examples of it being published in the twenty-first century. Some of them are even space opera. According David G Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer in The Space Opera Renaissance (2006), space opera never went away and merely evolved over the decades into the form we now call New Space Opera. Which is, of course, to completely ignore the British re-invigoration of the sub-genre in the 1980s and 1990s. Before there was New Space Opera, there was New British Space Opera. Of the nineteen authors in The New Space Opera 2, only three are British. Since this anthology is a successor volume and its publisher is American, this is not unexpected. Likewise the fact that eleven of the authors are from the US, with only three Canadians and two Australians. Science fiction is a US-dominated genre. But is space opera? It is, if you extend its definition to include some of the stories in The New Space Opera 2. Because from this anthology, the only possible conclusion is that the new space opera has not only morphed back into the old space opera, but it has also expanded to include a great deal more of science fiction. How else to explain the stories by Kristine Kathryn Rusch or Elizabeth Moon in The New Space Opera 2? Both are the sort of sf CJ Cherryh was churning out by the yard in the 1980s. Or Mike Resnick’s spoof tale, which may riff off Tucker’s original definition, but seems to miss the point of new space opera. While John Scalzi’s ‘The Tale of the Wicked’ may be space opera, inasmuch as it features spaceships, AIs and humanity at war with an alien race, it has neither the vigour, scale, nor inventiveness of new space opera. And Bill Willingham’s ‘Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings’ is pure pulp sf, although its ending does drag it into the twenty-first century. Perhaps this is the way of things. A new movement injects vigour into a moribund genre, and is then subsumed by it. Which is not to say that science fiction was entirely moribund, nor that it has been wholly re-invigorated. There is still a whiff of corruption from some areas of sf. Happily, The New Space Opera 2 is mostly a good read. With contents provided by, as the back-cover blurb has it, “some of the most beloved names in science fiction”, the stories are readable and mostly entertaining. But naming any anthology after a movement – however arguable its definition – is a hostage to fortune. There are some good stories in The New Space Opera 2. There is some new space opera in The New Space Opera 2. There is even a small overlap between those two groups. But there are a number of pages which do not belong in either group. The New Space Opera 2 scores best at presenting a snapshot of science fiction in 2009. It is not an all-inclusive snapshot – for that, one of the many “best of the year” anthologies is needed. The New Space Opera 2‘s contents lean in a specific direction. But the good stories in it show what’s been good in sf during the past couple of years – those stories, for example, by Robert Charles Wilson, John Barnes, John Kessel, John Meaney, Justina Robson, Sean Williams and Bruce Sterling. No anthology will ever be perfect, no matter how “beloved” its contributors. The New Space Opera 2 improves its chances with its titular theme. For most readers it will have a higher than average hit-rate. But as part two of a manifesto for new space opera, its title does it few favours. This review originally appeared in Interzone #226, January-February 2010.

  4. 5 out of 5

    CatBookMom

    As usual, some good, some not-so-much, a lot of worth reading. Good: "Chameleons" by Elizabeth Moon; "The Tale of the _Wicked_" by John Scalzi; "Defect" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch; Not-so-much: "The Far End of History" by John C. Wright (the mythical and astronomy babble of the first 3 segments stopped me from going further; YMMV, as they say); "Catastrophe Baker and a Canticle for Leibowitz" was just too cutesy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mouldy Squid

    Dozois is my go to editor for science ficiton. I have been reading Dozois' Year's Best Science Fiction for twenty years now and he almost never disappoints me (his co-editor, Honathan Strahan is no slouch either). I find it strange and wonderful that my editorial aesthetic matches so closely with his. This usually means that I can't wait to get into a Dozois anthology. Usually. The New Space Opera 2 is the follow-up anthology to last year's The New Space Opera. New space opera is one of my favor Dozois is my go to editor for science ficiton. I have been reading Dozois' Year's Best Science Fiction for twenty years now and he almost never disappoints me (his co-editor, Honathan Strahan is no slouch either). I find it strange and wonderful that my editorial aesthetic matches so closely with his. This usually means that I can't wait to get into a Dozois anthology. Usually. The New Space Opera 2 is the follow-up anthology to last year's The New Space Opera. New space opera is one of my favorite sub-genres. I love the things that authors like Reynolds, Banks and MacLeod are doing with the form and I love seeing others move the ball forward. The original The New Space Opera was delightful, ingenious and exciting. The New Space Opera 2 is, well, more of the same. It feels as if that Dozois was worried that he couldn't sell a massive 1000 page anthology of space opera and divided it into two. In an interesting turn, Dozois did not include any authors from the first anthology. This helps it to feel fresh despite the sameness of the subject matter. It also allows for the-not-usual-suspects to have a chance to strut their stuff out of the shadow of the British Triumvirate. While I would have prefered to see more of Reynolds, Banks and MacLeod, what I got was better than average. Mostly. I can't really complain about the quality of the stories, nor can I complain about the excitation of them either. Everything is above average, and yet, because of that, everything seems average. There were only a couple of standout stories for me, and by couple I mean two. That should not happen in an anthology like this (although I will admit that there have been a couple of Year's Best… that have left me wanting as well). Peter Watts' "The Island" about a continously resurrected starship crew eternally building FTL gates in their wake for a civilization they have never seen (since they travel at relativistic speeds and cannot slow down) really struck me. Watts captures the frustration and futility of the viewpoint character and his shipmates and their longing for the Earth they left so many millions of years behind. Watts tantalizingly hints at the mystery of what mankind has become, but only hints; neither the characters nor the reader ever find out. The story also contains one of the most interesting and ingenious alien lifeforms I have seen in a long time. "The Island" is fast paced, chock full of mysteries and has a satisfying ending with a twist I didn't see coming. I want more. I would love to see another story, or better yet, a series of linked stories about this crew. The other is the anthology's last story, a novelette by John C. Wright. "The Far End of History" is love story, a war story and a myth story all wrapped up together. I would love to go into details, but anything I can say about it would be a spoiler; the novelette's structure defies spoilerless analysis. So I will say what I can about it. It is very well written. Wright's language is lyrical, sad, triumphant and strange all at once. This is one of the most powerful and touching stories I have read all year. It is not to be missed. In the end, The New Space Opera 2 is fun but I can't help but feel that the first anthology was "better" in some way. I do recommend it to anyone interested in the sub-genre of New Space Opera, even if you have never read any of it before. All of the stories here are approachable by any fan of science fiction, and they are sure to please. If you have the original The New Space Opera you really should do yourself a favour and get the sequel. You won't be disappointed.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Traci

    As a fan of both fantasy and SciFi I feel as though I've been neglecting half of my soul. Time to rectify that. My favorites have always been good old fashioned space operas. Poul Anderson. Isaac Asimov. But I'm not too familiar with contemporary authors. Thought this would be a good collection to start with. I never know how to review short story collections. By an average? By my favorites? Today I've decided to go with the second choice. So not every story here is worth a four star rating. But As a fan of both fantasy and SciFi I feel as though I've been neglecting half of my soul. Time to rectify that. My favorites have always been good old fashioned space operas. Poul Anderson. Isaac Asimov. But I'm not too familiar with contemporary authors. Thought this would be a good collection to start with. I never know how to review short story collections. By an average? By my favorites? Today I've decided to go with the second choice. So not every story here is worth a four star rating. But my favorites are. Utriusque Cosmi by Robert Charles Wilson starts the book with a bang. I loved this story. Earth is gone and humans have adopted a new form of life. To Go Boldly by Cory Doctorow. This bleak tale is for all the gamers out there. Although it's mostly a commentary on the game of life. The Lost Princess Man by John Barnes. An Anastasia con in space. With a very cool twist. Defect by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. A solidly fun space adventure. Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings by Bill Willingham. For the comic book super hero fans. Reminded me of something that could've come from the golden age of SciFi. (a favorite era of mine even though I am too young to have enjoyed it first hand) The Tenth Muse by Tad Williams. Frankly didn't expect to like it because I don't enjoy his fantasy. But he surprised me. Liked it. Talked to the old Hollywood fan in me. And what draws me to SciFi. The exploration of different alien worlds and cultures. The Tale of the Wicked by John Scalzi. A starship becomes sentient. Expected to like it when I saw who wrote it and I did. So...seven stories out of nineteen. Doesn't sound so good. But better than I usually do with analogies. So whatever. The rating stays. Recommended to any reader of SciFi. The stories here run the gamut of thought provoking puzzles to what the hell was that about to just plain mindless action. Whatever your tastes you'll probably find something you like.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Neal Asher

    I do have a bad habit with anthologies I’ve been published in. I tend to receive them then stick them on a shelf as eye-candy yet, of course, they probably contain lots of stories I would like to read. The other day I changed that habit by picking up The New Space Opera edited by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan. It contains a story by me called Shell Game, and has been sitting on my shelf since 2009. I did enjoy this and out of the 19 stories enclosed there were only two I didn’t finish and I do have a bad habit with anthologies I’ve been published in. I tend to receive them then stick them on a shelf as eye-candy yet, of course, they probably contain lots of stories I would like to read. The other day I changed that habit by picking up The New Space Opera edited by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan. It contains a story by me called Shell Game, and has been sitting on my shelf since 2009. I did enjoy this and out of the 19 stories enclosed there were only two I didn’t finish and maybe only a couple more I finished with a ‘meh’. Particular highlights for me were the stories by Robert Charles Wilson, Peter Watts, Kristine Kathryne Rusch, Jay Lake, Sean Williams, John Meaney, Elizabeth Moon and John Scalzi.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cissa

    Mostly excellent stories here, though there were a couple I didn't care for. Doctorow's riff on some "Star Trek" cliches was a blast!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Josephine

    There were some great story's.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Boring.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    Meh. It would probably be better in print. Audible books can be great but not in this case.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I've been really enjoying this genre of late.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sable

    This anthology was a mixed bag of stories by some of today's top sci-fi talent. Some of it was great, some not so great, and some I thought was pretentious artsy garbage more interested in impressing critics than telling stories. Of course YMMV. Here's a short breakdown. Liked: Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance by John Kessel - neat take on human religion and spirituality in a space opera setting The Lost Princess Man by John Barnes - This had great potential. The premise is a new take on This anthology was a mixed bag of stories by some of today's top sci-fi talent. Some of it was great, some not so great, and some I thought was pretentious artsy garbage more interested in impressing critics than telling stories. Of course YMMV. Here's a short breakdown. Liked: Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance by John Kessel - neat take on human religion and spirituality in a space opera setting The Lost Princess Man by John Barnes - This had great potential. The premise is a new take on an old trope in a flipped fairy tale kind of way. And the plotting against each other was fun. But it never went anywhere and ended oddly. Shell Game by Neal Asher - great aliens, neat protagonists, and the McGuffin was cool To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves by Jay Lake - an unusually good artsy story with complex characters (in a no clear good guy, Game of Thrones style) in a complex universe Inevitable by Sean Williams - neat look at the dilemma of relativity problems and the real nature of inevitability Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings by Bill Willingham - a new take on a couple of old tropes that I enjoyed The Tenth Muse by Tad Williams - a new take on the hostile First Contact trope The Tale of the Wicked by John Scalzi - a fun look at the dilemma of AIs The Far End of History by John C. Wright - a very human way to tell a tale as vast as the Universe in a way that is part mythology, part cyberpunk, and part space opera on a truly grand scale Disliked: The Island by Peter Watts - I realize it's en vogue to be nihilistic in sci-fi these days, but the protagonist was terribly unsympathetic and so I'm not sure I really cared what happened to her. Hated: Utriusque Cosmi by Robert Charles Wilson - Really, I'm not sure I grasped the point of this. I suppose the author thought he was saying something profound about the nature of life and the universe, but I thought it was bad cyberpunk masquerading as pseudo-spiritual space opera. The title is a reference to an obscure work of philosophy that only proves that the writer thinks he's the smartest person in the room. I think this is writing for hipsters and putting it at the beginning of the book just about put me off the whole thing. To Go Boldly by Cory Doctorow - As far as I can tell, the whole point of this story was to prove how much better and more sophisticated modern sci-fi writing is compared to the classic Star Trek style space opera. It didn't work. All it did was prove to me that the author is willing to contemptuously spit upon the works of those who paved the way for him. In other words, he writes like a hipster. Punctuality by Garth Nix - I had not yet read anything by Garth Nix either so I was looking forward to it, since he has such a reputation as a rising star in modern sci-fi. I hope this story was no indication of the kind of writing we can expect from him. It had no plot, no goal, no direction, and the characters were completely flat and uninteresting, barely more than memes. And it was boring. That's several minutes of my life I'll never get back. Join the Navy and See the Worlds by Bruce Sterling - This one had great potential and went nowhere. I was left scratching my head at the end of it, asking "what the hell just happened?" and "what, exactly, was your point here?" From the Heart by John Meaney - Again, the setup was great - a world and characters of vast complexities and depths. Then it just fizzled. I don't understand the point of the ending at all, and as a matter of fact, it seems to turn a whole bunch of the coolest parts of the story into red herrings. Did the author realize he was running close to his word count limit and decide to end the story in a hurry so that he could shoehorn it into the slot, or what? Loved: Defect by Kristine Kathryn Rusch - space opera meets spy thriller with a twist ending. Good work that reminded me of Lois McMaster Bujold. Chameleons by Elizabeth Moon - a wonderful sci-fi thriller in a very complex and interesting world. I would like to read more about this world. Strangely I've never before read anything by Moon (despite the fact that she's been around for a long time) and I would like to read more of her work. Cracklegrackle by Justina Robson - what a cool sci-fi explanation for mysticism, that also manages to be a sci-fi whodunnit while it waxes rhetoric about the nature of life, identity and humanity. Catastrophe Baker and a Canticle for Leibowitz by Mike Resnick - not only does this witty story give a nod to a sci-fi classic in the title, but it also invokes about a dozen classic sci-fi tropes and turns them gently on their heads with masterfully woven language. Highly recommended! So there's a fair number more of the stories I liked than anything else, but because there are several stories I loathed also, I can't give this book any higher than three starts. But it's worth a read anyway.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alytha

    Finished the collection The New Space Opera 2, edited by Gardner Dozois. All these stories are set in the far future, with very advanced tech, and often a rather loose definition of human. Most of them are OK, although, unfortunately, there are few WOW moments, and some stories that don't make all that much sense. Detailed review: ꉿ Robert Charles Wilson: “Ultriusque cosmi” Carlotta was taken away by aliens when Earth exploded. Now, she's travelling back in time, in order to close a time loop and m Finished the collection The New Space Opera 2, edited by Gardner Dozois. All these stories are set in the far future, with very advanced tech, and often a rather loose definition of human. Most of them are OK, although, unfortunately, there are few WOW moments, and some stories that don't make all that much sense. Detailed review: ꉿ Robert Charles Wilson: “Ultriusque cosmi” Carlotta was taken away by aliens when Earth exploded. Now, she's travelling back in time, in order to close a time loop and make sure things happen like they are supposed to be. Not bad, but not terribly exciting either ꉿ Peter Watts: “The island”: A space-ship crew comes across life on the other side of the universe, and finds out that some characteristics seem to be true for all intelligent species...quite liked this one. ꉿ John Kessel: “Events preceding the Helvetican renaissance” : A young monk has to bring a precious object home in order to blackmail the enemy into ceasing hostilities. Not terribly original, but well-executed, and with nice world-building ꉿ Cory Doctorow: “To go boldly” : A kind of Star Trek parody. Captain Tsubishi, trying hard to out-kirk Captain Kirk, comes across a rather weird alien species, and suddenly his whole world is turned upside-down. Quite funny. ꉿ John Barnes: “The lost princess man” : A conman is running the Lost Princess con in the very very far future, when he gets a strange busines proposition. Quite a good story, although there could have been some more explanations about the tech, it gets a bit confusing. Pretty nice take on the con story though. ꉿ Kristine Kathryn Rusch: “Defect”: An assassin swears revenge...quite standard assassin-revenge story in space. Decently done but nothing special ꉿ Jay Lake: “To raise a mutiny betwixt yourselves”: In the very very far future, at the other end of the universe, two immortal former lovers and an intelligent starship have to deal with mutiny. Quite good story with complex background and interesting characters. ꉿ Neal Asher: “Shell game” : A very long-planned and complex revenge story. Quite liked this one. ꉿ Garth Nix: “Punctuality” : The heir to the throne of the Galactic Empire is introduced to the secret about the mysterious Punctuality drive. Interesting worldbuilding. Would be interested in reading more stories set in this universe. ꉿ Sean Williams: “Inevitable” : Another time loop story. A terrorist who destroyed an entrance to the mysterious Structure is supposed to redeem himself by leading a Guild captain to another entrance, but things don't quite turn out as planned. Really liked this one, it has another very interesting universe which should have more stories set in it. ꉿ Bruce Sterling: “Join the Navy and see the worlds” : Pretty bizarre story about a captain of space trips for tourists (where he's only for show), and Titan, somehow. More deliberately confusing than interesting. ꉿ Bill Willingham: “Fearless space pirates of the outer rings” : Quite fun story about a human from the 1960s who ends up in a space pirate crew. ꉿ John Meaney: “From the heart” : I really like the background of this story, where cadets bond with a spaceship grown specially for them. The story itself, though, is again more confusing than interesting. Some more details about what's going on would have been nice. ꉿ Elizabeth Moon: “Chameleons” : A bodyguard and his two teenage charges run into trouble at the spacestation where he grew up. Pretty standard plot with quite special and interesting supporting characters though. ꉿ Tad Williams: “The tenth muse” : A strange spaceship appears through a gate and indiscriminately starts destroying ships. A linguist has an extraordinary theory about it. Quite interesting premise. ꉿ Justina Robson: “Cracklegrackle” : A father is looking for his disappeared daughter, with the help of a heavily modified human. Pretty annoying main character, but interesting setting. ꉿ John Scalzi: “The tale of the wicked” : A couple of intelligent ships decide to take matters into their own "hands". Really quite liked this one, very optimistic. ꉿ Mike Resnick: “Catastrophe Baker and a canticle for Leibowitz” : Fun story about a hero, a beautiful, mysterious woman, and a quest. ꉿ John C. Wright: “The far end of history” : Didn't like this one. It throws a ton of unexplained ultra-high-tech terms at you, and is in general very confusing in structure and plot. Something about intelligent planets and something called Atkins anyway... All in all, some very nice worlds, and mostly quite decent stories, but few real highlights. 7/10

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    October 2013 book group selection. Kinda. I didn't realize there was a New Space Opera 1 and a New Space Opera 2 with nearly the same covers. I grabbed 2. Oops! In my defense, Space Opera 2 was the only one available as an e-book. Ultimately, it all worked out. Mixed thoughts on this selection that stemmed partly from my inability to get into the stories - I wasn't in the mood. Some selections were better than others, and what I may like, someone else detests. Overall, recommended. 1) Utriusque October 2013 book group selection. Kinda. I didn't realize there was a New Space Opera 1 and a New Space Opera 2 with nearly the same covers. I grabbed 2. Oops! In my defense, Space Opera 2 was the only one available as an e-book. Ultimately, it all worked out. Mixed thoughts on this selection that stemmed partly from my inability to get into the stories - I wasn't in the mood. Some selections were better than others, and what I may like, someone else detests. Overall, recommended. 1) Utriusque Cosmi (2009) novelette by Robert Charles Wilson. A woman goes back in time to tell her younger self to run and don't look back because the Earth is going to explode, but see's things from a different perspective. 2) The Island (2009) novelette by Peter Watts. In space, when building a interstellar highway, nobody wins. 3) Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance (2009) novelette by John Kessel. A monk is tasked with bringing a set of plays back to the Monestary in an attempt to stop the fighting. 4) To Go Boldly shortstory by Cory Doctorow. Making fun of Star Trek. 5) The Lost Princess Man (2009) novelette by John Barnes. A conman is running the “lost princess” con with a technological twist. 6) Defect (2009) novelette by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. An assassin refuses to carry out an assignment involving biological annihilation and is now a wanted woman. The ship carrying her husband and young son is subject to an attack, leaving only her son alive. For the first time, she is responsible for another person, and finds that this person is more like her than she ever realized. 7) To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves (2009) novelette by Jay Lake. Two “Before's” with an ancient history, one ship-mind caught between its Captains. Mutiny on several levels, but who really wins in the end? 8) Shell Game (2009) novelette by Neal Asher. Interspecies revenge with a biological twist. No pun intended. 9) Punctuality (2009) short story by Garth Nix. A young woman finds out she is Heir to the Galactic Throne. The Galaxy wants to bring on more Punctuality drives. There are two people who have the right kind of training - herself and her father. One will sublime, one will rule the Galaxy. 10) Inevitable (2009) novelette by Sean Williams. Who is the actually terrorist? A planetary terrorist is caught trying to blow an access to the “Structure” by the Ship-bound. Captured and forced to reveal another access, Ship-bound and Terrorist alike learn more than they realize. 11) Join The Navy and See the Worlds (2009) shortstory by Bruce Sterling. India and America are the superpowers after international nukes destroy major cities. Kipp is a world-renown hero reduced to giving space trips to tourists and ends up on an unexpected tour of the slums of India. 12) Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings (2009) novelette by Bill Willingham. A case of mistaken identity and space pirates. 13) From the Heart (2009) novelette by John Meaney. Lost love. Humiliation. Redemption. One ship for one person. 14) Chameleons (2009) novella by Elizabeth Moon. A bodyguard finds himself stuck on his home-world with two petulant teenagers and they all surprise each other. 15) The Tenth Muse (2009) novelette by Tad Williams. 16) Cracklegrackle (2009) novelette by Justina Robson. 17) The Tale of the Wicked (2009) novelette by John Scalzi. 18) Catastrophe Baker and a Canticle for Leibowitz (2009) short story by Mike Resnick. 19) The Far End of History (2009) novelette by John C. Wright.

  16. 4 out of 5

    L.

    There is nothing mind-blowing here, but all of it is readable and some is pretty good. The story that came closest to greatness, in my opinion, was Peter Watts' The Island. It had truly epic scale and a believeable sense of the human as alien and the alien as maybe human after all.

  17. 4 out of 5

    John

    What do people mean when they say something was "well written". It's always bothered me, and this compendium of stories yet again makes me wonder. A lot (most) (actually, nearly all) of these stories I found difficult to read for one reason or another. Either they were too simple: "The Tale of the Wicked" by John Scalzi "Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings" by Bill Willingham. or they were too hard (tiresome) to figure out: "The Island" by Peter Watts. or they seemed, once the first few parag What do people mean when they say something was "well written". It's always bothered me, and this compendium of stories yet again makes me wonder. A lot (most) (actually, nearly all) of these stories I found difficult to read for one reason or another. Either they were too simple: "The Tale of the Wicked" by John Scalzi "Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings" by Bill Willingham. or they were too hard (tiresome) to figure out: "The Island" by Peter Watts. or they seemed, once the first few paragraphs had been read, and sometimes re-read, not worth the trouble. Nothing grabbed me. Most of those that that I finished at all were a struggle. Is it me, or is it them? A book is after all a two-way conversation, and it may well be possible that should any of them and I meet on a train, we would bore the pants off each other. And yet and yet… I started reading " How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe," by Kenneth Wu, a book that docks beside my bed in a sloshy slipstream of high-falutin' praise, and there it was! Two sentences in and I knew I was in good hands. Completely hooked. So what makes this book different from some (most?) the authors writing in the other one? It's clear. Clear, clear, clear. It explains it's world with great economy, and paces the explanations so you can absorb them as easily as climbing into a warm bath. And it doesn't leave you puzzling over things that are only gradually revealed later (a huge problem for me. Not being a particularly self-confident reader, I always assume the not-getting-it is my fault). To me, the best science fiction books are really one-offs, often done by people not in the field, or more accurately, done by people who are writer's first.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    Well, the stories had to do with space, so I'll give it that. Aside from being stories about space, there were only a few stories in this collection that I would say were worth my time to read (e.g., "The Lost Princess Man", "The Tale of the Wicked", "Utriusque Cosmi", and "To Go Boldly"). So many of the stories were trying so desperately hard to be poignant or meaningful or "current" that they ultimately just ended up being confusing, depressing, and/or pointless. The biggest wastes of time (the Well, the stories had to do with space, so I'll give it that. Aside from being stories about space, there were only a few stories in this collection that I would say were worth my time to read (e.g., "The Lost Princess Man", "The Tale of the Wicked", "Utriusque Cosmi", and "To Go Boldly"). So many of the stories were trying so desperately hard to be poignant or meaningful or "current" that they ultimately just ended up being confusing, depressing, and/or pointless. The biggest wastes of time (the ones I thought were especially bad) were "The Island" and "Punctuality". On the bright side, there were two good things about this book: 1) it reminded me of how much I enjoy Scalzi John's stories. As a result, I stopped reading this anthology and instead picked up Fuzzy Nation, a book I enjoyed much more than this collection. 2) The adequate (which is above-the-average for this collection) story "Catastrophe Baker and a Canticle for Leibowitz" once more piqued my curiosity about the real A Canticle for Leibowitz that I finally broke down and read it (after having it on my to-read list for quite some time) - a decision I do not regret in the least!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Fitzsimmons

    I'm still not precisely sure what defines space opera, I just like the phrase, and this short story collection caught my eye at our local bookstore for the selection of authors, most of whom I'd either read and enjoyed some of their work, or at least knew about. For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The stories were engaging and well-written, and most of them made very good short stories; only one or two I thought could easily make good longer works, and they were still delightful sh I'm still not precisely sure what defines space opera, I just like the phrase, and this short story collection caught my eye at our local bookstore for the selection of authors, most of whom I'd either read and enjoyed some of their work, or at least knew about. For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The stories were engaging and well-written, and most of them made very good short stories; only one or two I thought could easily make good longer works, and they were still delightful short stories. The authors I bought the collection for did not disappoint - though I'll admit I'm still a little confused by Cory Doctorow's contribution - and upon reading, there were more I was familiar with than I recalled at first glance. There was one story I wasn't crazy about, though I'm still uncertain if it was the author's writing style or the lead character that irked me, and one that lost me early and I never got through, but otherwise, I found the stories very enjoyable. Overall, I'd recommend this to anyone interested in the genre, especially those familiar with the authors or those looking for authors to become interested in.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Suzette

    Whew! There's a few hours I will never get back. Of the many stories in this collection there were only three I thought were actually interesting and well written. Elizabeth Moon's Chameleons is wonderful! There were a couple more that weren't completely horrible. The remainder were either outright bad or incredibly and completely horrible. I have never read so many puffed up pieces with little or no story in one volume. I love sci fi. My tastes are varied from light to hard, short stories to lon Whew! There's a few hours I will never get back. Of the many stories in this collection there were only three I thought were actually interesting and well written. Elizabeth Moon's Chameleons is wonderful! There were a couple more that weren't completely horrible. The remainder were either outright bad or incredibly and completely horrible. I have never read so many puffed up pieces with little or no story in one volume. I love sci fi. My tastes are varied from light to hard, short stories to long series. I enjoy so many varied styles of writing and story types but I wanted to quit reading DOZENS of times in this one book. It was actual work to continue. Not because of the depth and meaning but because the writers seemed to be trying to give the impression of depth by piling on bullshit and vocabulary words that in some cases LITERALLY said nothing. It is sad because the very few stories that were good were very good.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Fantasy Literature

    The New Space Opera 2: All-New Tales of Science Fiction Adventure is, as its name implies, the second of Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan’s themed anthologies attempting to put a modern spin on space opera, a subgenre of science fiction which causes many of us to think of big metal spaceships crewed by handsome blaster-wielding men who protect us from evil aliens that want to destroy the Earth, or at least steal it’s shrieking scantily clad women. We laugh at these old stories now — the way t The New Space Opera 2: All-New Tales of Science Fiction Adventure is, as its name implies, the second of Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan’s themed anthologies attempting to put a modern spin on space opera, a subgenre of science fiction which causes many of us to think of big metal spaceships crewed by handsome blaster-wielding men who protect us from evil aliens that want to destroy the Earth, or at least steal it’s shrieking scantily clad women. We laugh at these old stories now — the way they ignore the vacuum of space and the effects of relativity, the way their aliens seem a lot less alien than they should, and the way that they rarely seem to display the variety in ... Read More: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elijs Dima

    More miss than hits, and a strong avoidance of any 'hard' writing. Going by this book's collection, new space opera seems to be a romanticised and personalized account of how lead characters feel while spacemagic the ever wondrous just sort of happens. Except when even that does not happen, and the stories of 1970s' tourist escapades are given a veneer of the magicspacestationish. And maybe short stories just aren't my thing, but this amalgamation of them had little flow or consistency, and the u More miss than hits, and a strong avoidance of any 'hard' writing. Going by this book's collection, new space opera seems to be a romanticised and personalized account of how lead characters feel while spacemagic the ever wondrous just sort of happens. Except when even that does not happen, and the stories of 1970s' tourist escapades are given a veneer of the magicspacestationish. And maybe short stories just aren't my thing, but this amalgamation of them had little flow or consistency, and the ultimate impression was of an onslaught of mediocrity and unfulfilled ideas, morphing in an asphyxiating sum of wasted potential and cacophonic snapshots of B-grade scifi telenovellas. All hail New Space Opera, just as bad as the predecessor, but in new and exciting ways! (c) (tm) (r) (sponsored by MtnDew)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pete Guion

    I thought this was an interesting collection of new space opera science fiction. There is a great mixture of stories, ranging from the humorous to the deeply thought-provoking. On the whole I liked the collection. My one sizable complaint however is that there were a few stories that, while I did enjoy, I did not think were proper 'space opera' stories. Perhaps it's just a personal preference or how I would personally differentiate between what I consider what is and is not in the sub-genre. Tha I thought this was an interesting collection of new space opera science fiction. There is a great mixture of stories, ranging from the humorous to the deeply thought-provoking. On the whole I liked the collection. My one sizable complaint however is that there were a few stories that, while I did enjoy, I did not think were proper 'space opera' stories. Perhaps it's just a personal preference or how I would personally differentiate between what I consider what is and is not in the sub-genre. That said, it definitely is worth the time to read, the stories are all pretty good (some are really fantastic - I'm looking at you "To Go Boldly"), and definitely not worth any hang-up about what fits in or not.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    While there were some definite winners in the collection, no two readers seem to agree on which ones they were. This suggests to me that the editors were trying a little too hard to "scattergun" the contents, especially since some of the stories were wildly far from anything that could be called "space opera." To me, at least, the term suggests adventure SF, and several of the stories work within that definition. The John Wright story, however, was more like a New Wave story mixed with Cordwaine While there were some definite winners in the collection, no two readers seem to agree on which ones they were. This suggests to me that the editors were trying a little too hard to "scattergun" the contents, especially since some of the stories were wildly far from anything that could be called "space opera." To me, at least, the term suggests adventure SF, and several of the stories work within that definition. The John Wright story, however, was more like a New Wave story mixed with Cordwainer Smith...an interesting but slow story about a love story between two planets, sort of. Still, in a book this size, it's easy to find some good stories, and you can have fun arguing with your friends about which ones ARE the good ones.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    The collection starts off with the grandest Opera of them all, Utriusque Cosmi by C. Wilson. How grander can a story gets if the theme is about birth and death and rebirth of .... Wilson is a character driven writer, surprised he managed to weave an excellent space opera here (i guess anything is possible from a Master LOL). Peter Watts' The Island, i'm confused to what it's about, and the story is too dried to force myself for a re-read (just for the sake of understanding its merits behind the h The collection starts off with the grandest Opera of them all, Utriusque Cosmi by C. Wilson. How grander can a story gets if the theme is about birth and death and rebirth of .... Wilson is a character driven writer, surprised he managed to weave an excellent space opera here (i guess anything is possible from a Master LOL). Peter Watts' The Island, i'm confused to what it's about, and the story is too dried to force myself for a re-read (just for the sake of understanding its merits behind the hugo award) Plan to skim through the rest. Only want to read another story, the last one (thanks to the other reviewers) Haven't read much of space opera lately, finding the new stuff really, really "out there".

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cale

    You always get a variety of quality in anthologies. I picked this up solely for the Cory Doctorow and John scalzi stories. Scalzi's was very good, Doctorow's was okay, and the rest varied from interesting but forgettable to outright bad (Garth Nix's story's only redeeming quality was that it was short. John C. Wright's 'The Far End of History' was ponderous and seriously made me consider giving up). A few of the stories were interesting twists or approaches to science fiction adventure, but a nu You always get a variety of quality in anthologies. I picked this up solely for the Cory Doctorow and John scalzi stories. Scalzi's was very good, Doctorow's was okay, and the rest varied from interesting but forgettable to outright bad (Garth Nix's story's only redeeming quality was that it was short. John C. Wright's 'The Far End of History' was ponderous and seriously made me consider giving up). A few of the stories were interesting twists or approaches to science fiction adventure, but a number didn't really seem to fit the theme. This took me longer to read than it should have, just because it seemed to drudge along for most stories. I guess it's not my kind of science fiction.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Charles Wilson

    A very entertaining selection of postmodern (I guess you would call them) science fiction spectacles about galactic empires and such that is for the most part a joy to read. A few are a little old-fashioned for my taste, but for the most part the imagination that is unleashed in these stories is fantastic. However, it might be worth noting that even the best stories often fall within some of the modern tropes of space opera, such as uploaded (and downloaded) consciousnesses. Pieces of story such A very entertaining selection of postmodern (I guess you would call them) science fiction spectacles about galactic empires and such that is for the most part a joy to read. A few are a little old-fashioned for my taste, but for the most part the imagination that is unleashed in these stories is fantastic. However, it might be worth noting that even the best stories often fall within some of the modern tropes of space opera, such as uploaded (and downloaded) consciousnesses. Pieces of story such as these have become almost as gratuitous as hyperspace once was, but in the right hands, the ideas can be fresh.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    This is kind of a mixed bag of short stories. Most of the authors here are well established SF writers, and they generally created very engaging worlds, though I found the plots and characters somewhat more lackluster. Standouts included "The Island" by Peter Watts, "To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves" by Jay Lake (great universe and characters, somewhat flat story), and the hilarious "Catastrophe Baker and a Canticle for Leibowitz" by Mike Resnick. Overall very enjoyable, if somewhat uneven a This is kind of a mixed bag of short stories. Most of the authors here are well established SF writers, and they generally created very engaging worlds, though I found the plots and characters somewhat more lackluster. Standouts included "The Island" by Peter Watts, "To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves" by Jay Lake (great universe and characters, somewhat flat story), and the hilarious "Catastrophe Baker and a Canticle for Leibowitz" by Mike Resnick. Overall very enjoyable, if somewhat uneven and not particularly deep.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fred

    This was worth reading for the die hard fans of science fiction and for the fans of short stories in general. I wouldn't go out of my way to get this particular book, it's certainly no DANGEROUS VISIONS or anything of that sort but it was okay. It took me longer to read than most science fiction does because some of the stories were just completely out there and bizarre. Maybe the editor's goal was to stagger the stories every other one in a way that he knew would keep people going. You know, li This was worth reading for the die hard fans of science fiction and for the fans of short stories in general. I wouldn't go out of my way to get this particular book, it's certainly no DANGEROUS VISIONS or anything of that sort but it was okay. It took me longer to read than most science fiction does because some of the stories were just completely out there and bizarre. Maybe the editor's goal was to stagger the stories every other one in a way that he knew would keep people going. You know, like good one, sucky one, good one, sucky one, okay one, etc. Meh.

  30. 5 out of 5

    B. Rule

    This review is just for the John C. Wright story "The Far End of History" but I don't know how to specify a short story that doesn't have a separate record in goodreads' database. The story is set in the universe of The Golden Age trilogy, and shares some characters too. It's epic space opera about post-human occluded personalities falling in love, going to war, and destroying the galaxy. What's not to like?

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