by Ben Bova and Eric Choi
I’m not usually a fan of short-story anthologies, but when I saw this sci-fi collection edited by Ben Bova, and the dedication to Isaac Asimov, I thought I’d give it a try. Other than Ben Bova, I had never heard of any of the authors, so I was curious how they would create their “worlds” within this genre. The first story, “The Blue Afternoon That Lasted Forever,” had me hooked – a father/daughter end of the world piece that was both memorable and touching. The other stories were a mixed bag, but the sheer variety was impressive. The best stories had vivid imagery that will stay in my imagination for months to come: “The Circle,” about a 15th century “computer” made up of thousands of soldiers; “Skin Deep,” about medical tattoos that can prevent allergic reactions…unless something goes wrong; and “Siren of Titan,” about a robot on one of Saturn’s moons who discovers an innate love of beauty. I’ll admit to skimming through a few of the stories, but the gems within this anthology make it worthwhile.