books & writing

Added to My Bookshelf: Futures Near and Far

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More than once I have added a book to my shelf after reading one of Lisa Hura’s reviews on this blog. “Sure would be neat to do something like that,” I thought … so here we go …

We all have our reasons for reading science fiction. Me? I have at least a couple, and I found them both – well, eventually, at least – in Dave Smeds’ collection of short stories, Futures Near and Far. The title is appropriate, really, since some of the futures Smeds presents are far-off indeed, while others are quite near … maybe a little TOO near for comfort.

When I read science fiction, I look forward to a chance to sit back and speculate on “what if?” Where might future developments in science and technology take us, and will we better for the direction and the distance S&T takes us into the future? Smeds’ stories offered plenty upon which to speculate upon the first point, with a look at a variety of possible developments … though with a particular emphasis on nanotechnology.

As for the second (the “we”) part, though, I found myself less-than-encouraged by the people who populate these speculative futures. By book’s end, however, Smeds’ words had me thinking that humans will probably be a mixed bag then (as they are now) … and that in the end, things will be alright … that the violent beatings our world will take from extreme cage fighters and callous corporate lawyers will be more than offset by a mother’s love, by the support of a dedicated sensei, and by the awakened spirit of an interstellar homesteader, among others.

If only we could dispense with the introductions to the stories! Some are short, some are long, and none seem to contribute much to the story that is to follow. Don’t get me wrong … introductions CAN be useful, and add to the enjoyment of the story … Arthur Clarke proved that in Tales from the White Hart, and Isaac Asimov did as well in his HUGO Award Anthologies. That is NOT the case in Futures Near and Far, however. But in the end, that is a small thing, really … and I highly recommend the stories themselves.

One more thing … Two of Smeds’ stories, which revolve around the future of martial arts and artists, their practice and competition, get high marks from my son, who has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do … sugo ha shasim nida!

ADDED NOTE: Futures Near and Far was added to my virtual bookshelf as a free Early Reviewers Copy from librarything.com

 

There's a saying around here, something like, "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could!" That's me. I'm a 'dang Yankee from back-east' who settled in the Lone Star State after some extended stays in the eastern U.S., and New Mexico. I worked as an archaeologist for a few years before dusting off my second major in English, and embarking on a 25-year career in journalism. Since then, I've embraced the dark side of the force, and now work in PR for a community college in Midland, Texas.

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