NESFA Members' Reviews

coverFar Horizons

edited by Robert Silverberg

A book review by Mark L. Olson

$27.50, Avon, 1999, 481 pp.

Far Horizons is a companion to Legends, also edited by Silverberg. If so, it's by far the more successful of the two books.

The gimmick (or "unifying theme" if you'd prefer) of both books is that they are a series of novellas and novelettes written in classic SF (Far Horizons) and fantasy (Legends) universes. In both books I felt that the stories tended to be a bit light-weight. For the most part, they were too obviously tales out of the mainstream of the universe.

My favorites were:

Joe Haldeman, "A Separate War", tells Marygay Potter's story during the last part of The Forever War where she and William Mandella were forced to go their separate ways for a few centuries. This may be the best story in the volume and it certainly tells a lot more about the strange future Haldeman put together.

"Investment Counselor" by Orson Scott Card is a minor piece showing how Ender picked up is omnipotent AI sidekick, Jane.

Likewise, "Temptation" by David Brin follows the dolphins left behind on Jijo. What starts out here as a good story gets tied up -- like the whole Jijo sub-series -- in an absurd, over-complicated resolution.

Silverberg's "Roma Eterna" is a novelette set in a universe that I'd not read of previously in which Christianity does not prevail and a pagan Roman Empire survives. Ordinarily, this particularly alternate history thread is so poorly done as to be horrifying, but Silverberg -- if this story is any indication -- knows what he's doing. At any rate, "Roma Eterna" is a nice, though inconsequential, story set against a very well-done background. I'll be looking up some of the other stories in this series.

"The Boy Who Would Live Forever" is another Heechee story by Fred Pohl - it started out wonderfully, but seemed in the end to peter out to nothing.

Finally, Greg Bear's "The Way of All Ghosts" tells a somewhat surreal story of Olmy's youth from his Eon series.

None of these stories were great, but they were certainly worth reading. Especially if you like the series within which they were written.

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