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Gail C. Krause (Children's Literature)
In this science fiction anthology, short stories of science fiction range everywhere from a 13 year-old boy who must starve himself and dehydrate so he can take a copy of Charlotte’s Web with him to an extraterrestrial galaxy to a beach boy vampire hunter to a surfer who accepts aliens as the future of his world to siblings caught in a gaming world. Anthologist Jonathan Strahan has collected 16 stories by world-famous authors. These stories are different because each has a protagonist who is a teen. This book is aimed toward young adult readers, hoping to focus their attention on the cutting edge of tomorrow, but some of the stories could easily be read in the adult world. This book has a different approach in that each of the stories is accompanied by an author’s note and a brief biography of the writer. 2008, Viking, $19.99. Ages 12 up.
Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2008 (Vol. 76, No. 7))
This compendium of short stories springs from a wonderful premise: Encourage young readers to open up their imaginations to science fiction with tales told by some of the leading writers of the genre. Unfortunately, this bulky volume does not live up to the promise. Only Neil Gaiman's odd little story "Orange" reaches out to grab the reader, with a narrative told entirely in answers to a written questionnaire. Science fiction is a genre that requires readers to believe what is often beyond their immediate reality. To do that well often means taking time to build characters, situations and environment; the craft does not necessarily translate well when moved to the tight venue of short stories. These writers are well-known professionals, with great works to their credit, but their efforts work best in longer narratives. Young readers would be better served with full-length books by such practitioners as Kenneth Oppel and Eoin Colfer. 2008, Viking, 544p, $19.99. Category: Science fiction/short stories. Ages 12 up. © 2008 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
April Spisak (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, April 2008 (Vol. 61, No. 8))
Veteran compiler Strahan here brings together sixteen stories, all but one original, that envision a future world. The stories cover both the genre standards (virtual reality, cloning, and post-apocalyptic environs recur throughout) and the unexpected (futuristic vampires and end-time prophets). In addition, a dramatic range of writing styles is represented, from Neil Gaiman’s short “Orange,” where the reader is only presented with a set of answers to an interview about the respondent’s bizarre older sister, to “Anda’s Game,” by Cory Doctorow, which is a more in-depth exploration of a young girl’s rise to fame in a virtual reality environment. Even in their variety, however, these tales are all fairly sophisticated and traditional science fiction (in overall story structure, narrative perspective, and topics included); this is a collection clearly intended for fans of the genre. The inclusion of adolescent protagonists, environments in which teens could imagine themselves (schools, virtual reality spaces, or on spaceships as apprentices), and almost universally fast-paced, snappy narratives will all be particularly appealing to YA readers. In fact, SF buffs, long resigned to crossover adult compilations, will likely be thrilled by this extensive selection written specifically for this audience. Authors’ notes that offer intriguing insights into the inspiration behind each story accompany brief contributor biographies Review Code: R -- Recommended. (c) Copyright 2006, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 2008, Viking, 544p.; Reviewed from galleys, $19.99. Grades 9-12.
Amy Sisson (VOYA, February 2008 (Vol. 30, No. 6))
In some ways, it seems as though this collection tries to be all anthologies to all audiences. The subtitle and inside blurb hint at cutting-edge SF, while the authors comprise a veritable who's who of the genre's more literary writers. But the book's unspoken promise is the least fulfilled: Although there is no overt mention that this book is aimed at young adult readers, almost every story features a teen protagonist, suggesting that contributors were asked to tailor stories to that market. Not surprisingly, the book's success is mixed. Several stories, including Repair Kit by Stephen Baxter, merely rehash old pulp devices rather than skirt the cutting edge. Kelly Link's The Surfer is beautifully written, but the inclusion of aliens detracts from the brilliant characterization and otherwise compelling plot. The format of Neil Gaiman's Orange, consisting only of answers to interview questions, is so well executed that it transcends gimmickry, but the throwaway plot drags the story back down. A few stories should specifically appeal to teen readers, such as The Star Surgeon's Apprentice by Alistair Reynolds, which includes action, moral dilemmas, and a fresh take on pirates. Similarly Anda's Game by Cory Doctorow updates Ender's Game for today's online gamers. Most pieces, however, are simply not knock-'em-dead YA material. Although libraries should purchase this anthology, the young adult section might not be the best place to shelve it. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2008, Viking, 530p., $19.99. Ages 15 to Adult.
|Language||Call Number||LCCN||Dewey Decimal||ISBN/ISSN|
|English (eng)||PZ5 .S7965 2008